The following testimonies are published with the permission of their authors to enable service members, families and local residents to understand the extent of contamination on Okinawa, provide corroborating information and/or requests for VA-claim buddy statements.
When contacting authors, replace the [at] with @ in the email addresses.
*NB* These testimonies are uploaded as a public service. This website makes no claims as to their veracity; please ensure you conduct your own due diligence when contacting authors.
Last updated: June 2021
Name: Stephen Hippel ( striker47 [at] AOL.COM )
I served with the 1st Special forces Group on Okinawa from 1970-1972. I was stationed at an old Hawk missile site 9 in Yomitan. This site was sprayed all the time by locals with back packs, and the grass all along the fence line about four feet was dead. They sprayed different areas within the compound.
I also went to the north end of the island in the Jungle Warfare Training Center area which was also sprayed. I filed a claim with the VA but I don't think they really did anything.
I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and Stage 4 Prostate Cancer. I have had surgery and radiation treatment and still have both.
I am looking for anyone who served in Okinawa with my late husband, Captain Marshall Hall Breeze II. He was an officer in Special Forces and a paratrooper. He served in Okinawa from November 1968 until October 1970.
When Marshall was stationed in Okinawa his unit made some jumps where they jumped through a spray of chemicals and told these were the chemicals they may encounter in Vietnam. Marshall became very ill with pneumonia after one of these trainings and was in the infirmary several weeks. He said his lungs were never exactly the same. At 57 he was diagnosed with Interstitial Pneumonia and as a result had two lung transplants. He died of this disease in 2007.
I am interested in hearing from others either from his unit or others who served in Okinawa and ended up with lung problems as a result of chemical poisoning in Okinawa. Thank you.
Name: Joe A. Brandon ( jabrandon44 [at] gmail.com )
I came in contact with Agent Orange defoliant on or about July of 1965 while serving in US Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 11 at Camp Kinser in Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands of the Pacific.
Myself and five other men were to form a “detail” to travel to Naha port and we were tasked with taking inventory of agent orange contaminated construction machinery and war equipment sent back to Okinawa for identification, inventory and disposition, which Mobile Construction Battalion 5 had used in Chu Lai Vietnam.
This drab olive painted equipment and machinery was now placed in a large fenced yard. It was contaminated with agent orange, which appeared to be a clear oily based liquid. We were not informed of any personal hazards or given any personal protective equipment, nor did we know the particulars of the status of this equipment.
During our duty, we climbed all over this equipment, it had a particular smell or aroma, and even more so in the hot sun. Of course, in this heat of the day we wore olive green utility pants and white “T” shirts with combat boots with a 5 point utility green starched cap. We had no protective or respiratory equipment. We did have a bucket of dry, cotton rags, to wipe off the oil to read the information on the name plates. We all ended up having agent orange on our hands and on our clothing. We performed this labor for 3 or 4 days.
Since October of 2016, I have been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma cancer. I believe this contact with agent orange has caused my disease, as it is one of the known results of exposure to agent orange.
I affirm this statement is true according to my personal knowledge and was written by myself on 10 April 2021.
Name: Dennis Singleton ( singsing [at] ywave.com ) I was in Okinawa from 1973 to 1974. My main duty station was Camp Butler. I did temp duty at Camp Futenma for two weeks but it was never put in my records. I now have hypertension, Thyroid problems. Both I and my daughter are taking meds for these illnesses.
Name: Robert T. Hackbarth ( RHACK485 [at] GMAIL.COM )
I was stationed at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa from 1969 thru 1970 . During that time as a Weapons Mechanic with the 376th MMS , I loaded munitions & ammo. on the B-52 bombers for Vietnam. I also cleaned the tailgunners' guns with Tricloroethylene, a cleaning solvent now banned by the USAF because it will cause cancer - which I got & have been treated for. I also was exposed to AO which was stored, used , sprayed , & sent to / from Vietnam . Kadena Air Base was called the Keystone of the Pacific & also the largest & most busy. Our maintenance shop was by the end of the runway and there were many times they sprayed fence lines / by the runway to keep foliage down. There are so many documents & proof that Okinawa - along with Thailand and Guam - should be compensated & given to the veterans who served honorably. As a USAF veteran doing my duty for 6 years, the U.S.A . & VA should NOT forget what WE have done for it.
I was stationed on Okinawa from 1988 - 1991, first on Camp Kinser with Group Personnel and then on on Camp Hansen with 3rd Med Bn. Many times while outside running, working, I was sprayed on or had some kind of herbicide drift on me and my Marines. Now 30 years later, I have been diagnosed with MS. I am trying to make a connection with that and possible amyloidosis, and sarcoidosis.
Name: Carl Swan ( rockyswan [at] msn.com )
I was also exposed to Agent Orange on Okinawa and got prostate cancer and ischemic heart disease - in the exact time frame and areas as citation #1332861.
I have been fighting with the VA for 12 years now and waiting for another hearing for 2 years.
Name: David Schreiner ( IGYAYLDT1 [at] gmail.com )
Okinawa service 1973 to 1975. I spent time in the Machinato Service area now Camp Kinser. I also went to the Northern Training Area and trained with the Marines during the month of August in 1974. During my service I was heavily exposed to trichloroethylene. This was used as a metal parts cleaner and one of my crap jobs was cleaning Teletype machines at the com center. I ended up clearing brush and weeds behind the teletype shop several times. I had a brush hook and a sprayer with some oily crap in it that smelled like kerosene. It killed the brush and weeds.
Strangely when I applied for military compensation all of my medical and service records had vanished. It took me three years to get approved for 40% disability but by that time I had already been full disability retired as a teacher in 2002. I have spinal stenosis, primary hypogonadism, arthritis, severe steatosis of the liver in spite of never being a drinker. I have a brain tumor (parafalcine meningioma), massive edema in my legs, enlarged prostate, and a list that has nearly thirty diagnosed illnesses. I became partially disabled when I reached my late 30s and have steadily declined since then. I am 66 years old now and I seriously doubt that I will see 70.
I didn't realize that I was dying for my country when I was 20 and it has taken a long and difficult time for me to reach this point. My children also seem to have born the brunt of this exposure as well. I have been robbed of my life by what happened during my service and it even looks as if that damage carried over into the lives of my 3 children. All have disabling issues of various sorts - they have struggled with these issues for their entire lives.
Name: Gary Miller ( gmiller1970 [at] yahoo.com )
I was stationed on Okinawa from June 23rd 1965 until March of 1968. I was stationed just down the road from Kadena Air Force base at Camp Zukeran on Hwy1. I was attached with the 3rd Marine Division, supply company, supply Bn.
Over the 3 years I was stationed on Okinawa, many times I was sent up to Kadena base to help Marines there with outside material moves. I was a heavy equipment forklift driver. I moved all kinds of material including agent orange.
At 73, I have Diabetes type II, nerve issues with my legs, with un-controllable arm jerking. I have grown kids with spina bifida, and other physical issues that are related to a parent who has been in contact with agent orange.
Name: Edwin Kirk ( ehkirk47 [at] hotmail.com )
I was stationed on Okinawa with the 267th Chem Plt. from June 1964 until Feb 66. We were part of Operation Red Hat. What we didn't know was that we were being experimented on with different chemicals exposure. I have attempted to locate a couple of friends but unsuccessfully. D. Cochran was found but deceased. I currently suffer from all the presumptive diseases but I haven't been able to contact anyone from my old unit. I would like very much to do so - if there is anyone from my time or if anyone knows where I could get a roster from that time, it would be greatly appreciated. I thank you all with whom I served.
Name: Alfred Szymborski ( aszymborski [at] comcast.net )
I was stationed at Camp Kue in Okinawa. I served with the 441st MI Attachment, Fst Special Forces Group from 1971 to 1972. I was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a rare form of a B Cell Lymphoma last year. I remember seeing locals spraying vegetation in and around the camp. We also did exercises around Kadena Air Base. We also did training in the upper island, in the so-called Jungle Warfare Center where defoliants were sprayed and stored. I am applying to the VA, but according to others' stories, I am not hopeful. To have the government deny this with so many people having been affected is not fair.
Name: Charles Engel ( sueandchas [at] gmail.com )
Charles Vincent Engel L/Cpl, USMC 1971-1973 I was stationed at Camp Foster, Okinawa, from April 1972 to March 1973. I was stationed there as a 2542 commcenman working a 12 on and 24 off schedule and 12 on 12 off every other weekend. Hours were 2000 until 0800 on with 24 off and 0800 until 2000 on with 24 off. When we were getting off in the morning at 0800 we usually went back to the barracks and went to sleep. Routinely, the maintenance crew, consisting of a Cpl and 8-10 locals, with hand sprayers, would spray the perimeter of the barracks with pesticides to curtail the growth of vegetation, as they did this the spray would come into the windows while we were sleeping. The smell often woke us up and we would yell at them and close the windows but by that time the inside of the barracks had a mist of spray throughout. Mine, and 2 other racks, were situated right along these windows. Who knows how much was breathed in before we woke up. We would, also, see them spraying along the fence line of the base. Another time when we came off of duty we walked through where they were spraying in order to get to the barracks and again yelled at Cpl about the spray and what was it. His only reply was " It was Agent Orange and if you weren't a plant it wasn't going to fxxking kill you!". These words were as close as I can remember, word for word. I am also in the Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Registry, where the wells for the drinking water was contaminated by solvents from a dry cleaning business. The VA admits that we were exposed to the contaminated water but is also denying these claims. When we were at the rifle range all the water was brought in by water buffalo that was filled from one of the wells on Camp Lejeune. I was stationed there for approximately 7 weeks. Between this, and when I was stationed at Camp Foster, I have not knowingly been exposed to any other dioxins or toxins. At this time I have peripheral neuropathy, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, sleep apnea and prostate problems, which includes prostate cancer. When they found the cancer, it was only 7 weeks that I had the surgery to remove my prostate because it was fast moving and they wanted it out before it metastasized. The peripheral neuropathy is getting so bad, I keep dropping things and the pain in my feet keep me up at night. I believe that these conditions are the cause of exposure to dioxins at Camp Lejeune and the addition of herbicides, including Agent Orange, on Okinawa. I know the government is denying that Agent Orange was on Okinawa but I know what I saw and what I heard while stationed there. It was common knowledge that the perimeters of the base and barracks were routinely sprayed with the herbicide. Barrels, with orange and white stripes were stored by maintenance buildings. Even with 4 support statements from my Doctor, they are still denying my claims.
Name: Gary Martin ( g.martin01 [at] msn.com )
I served with U.S Army 545th Engineer Detachment in Okinawa 1962-1964 on an 18-month tour. The detachment's job was to support and update equipment at all the Nike Hercules Missile sites on the island. Our job took us to all parts of Okinawa, from one end to the other. The missile sites used defoliants surrounding the sites to prevent vegetation growth. Each time we entered a missile site we need to cross thru this defoliated zone to gain entrance. We may enter two to three missile sites a day at times. I remember times we encountered military personnel spraying theses areas with pump sprayers, surrounding the site. Our barracks and shop were located in the Machinato Service Area. I remember seeing barrels on pallets (green with orange strips) stored in the compound.
Name: Michael Holsonback ( Michael.holsonback [at] yahoo.com )
I was in Okinawa 1965-67; I remember spraying with orange striped barrels. Today I suffer from ischemic heart & many other ailments but the VA declines agent orange on my claims. I would like to see VA acknowledge what they did - so servicemen serving in Okinawa can be covered.
Name: Tom Majors ( alkalizingu [at] gmail.com )
I was assigned to 7th Psyops Group 15th Det. Machinato Okinawa in 1966-68 printing leaflets which were flown into Vietnam and dropped over Vietnam. The Printing Plant we worked out of was positioned next to 2nd Log. There was a unique odor in that area all around us which never went away. No one could understand where it was coming from. Now we do think it was leaking barrels of Agent Orange. Back then no one knew the hazards of this chemical.
I was stationed in Okinawa 1971-1972. My MOS was 3051 and I was in the R & D platoon in Camp Foster - at the time we sorted uniforms and equipment straight out of Vietnam. Our yard had drums of Agent Orange stacked up in piles. It’s funny I remember... this but the government doesn’t.
Name: William Gee ( bsgee [at] hotmail.com )
I was stationed at Camp Foster, 3rd Marines, Okinawa 1970-1971. My MOS was 3042, Secondary Depot Reparables. We were responsible for repair/replacement of critical items for field units in Vietnam. Many agent orange contaminated items were returned to Okinawa for inspection and I believe played a role in the contamination of Marines, myself included. Additionally, it was widely known that local indigenous base personnel used the chemical in their base landscaping duties for weed control. Occasional we were advised to stay off sidewalks and streets until the chemicals had dried. But, the worst was when several warehouse workers and I were accidentally sprayed when a drum of herbicide ruptured during a forklift mishap. The drum had a wide yellow band around it that looks suspiciously like the containers shown on the Web. I am now 71 years old and am being treated for a very rare blood cancer called polycythemia Vera (PV) which causes my bone marrow to produce too many red and white blood cells, essentially making by blood viscous, like thick motor oil. Now I’m a candidate for stroke and leukemia. Also, I have COPD and must use oxygen at night and as needed during the day. According to my doctors, both conditions have been caused by breathing contaminants at some point in my life. I have lost track of all my comrades so second hand verification is likely impossible. I hope to have a few years left to enjoy with my family and grandson and some help from the VA would be welcome.
Name: Gary Bohlen ( gdbohlen [at] comcast.net )
I was in Okinawa during the Vietnam war as a military policemen. One of my duties was to spray the weeds on the base. I am now diabetic, have T-Cell lymphoma, and heart disease (Ischemic with two cardiac events requiring cardiac stents.) The VA denies benefits to me on the basis that there was no agent orange in Okinawa. Service dates of active duty: 1/26/1962 to 1/12/1965.
Name: Vernon Meek ( rrwoodworks [at] tvscable.com ) I was a Navy Seabee with NMCB 3 Blue Team stationed at Camp Shields Okinawa on three deployments. I performed construction as a builder on about every Marine base on the Island. I was exposed to lead, asbestos, and numerous chemicals. I was given 10% for a skin disorder on my legs that they had no name for. I am 60 years old now and everyone who knows me has seen me get progressively worse concerning my health. I get bad tremors in my hands at times and can barely write today. VA has turned me down about 3 times in the past when I had filed for an increase. They tell me it is just my age. Well I was in my prime when i and others noticed that things were not right. I was released from active duty in 1982. I would like very much to recieve more information on this because I feel that because I served in peace time, the VA has discredited any and all my claims.
Name: Stephen Greene ( mpmgr3 [at] gmail.com )
I served with the USMC 1970-1971 at MCAS Futenma HMH-461 as a CH-53 hydraulics mechanic. Five of our helicopters were assigned to transport leaking 55 gal drums of agent orange from Naha port to various bases on Okinawa, one being a pit that was dug next to our landing strip directly across from our flight line. When the mission was completed and our helicopters returned to our squadron myself and Cpl I.A. Jr were assigned by our Nco Gysgt J.J.T. to clean the interior of the helicopters using degreaser and a steam cleaner since agent orange had leaked a lot on the floors of the helicopters. Cpl I.A. Jr used a wringer mop and degreaser while I used the steam cleaner. During this process the steam clung to the ceiling of the interior and dripped om Cpl I.A. Jr and myself - soaking both of us with diluted agent orange and degreaser. We both remained friends following being discharged. Cpl I.A. Jr contracted diabetes and died in 2012 following losing both of his feet due to diabetic complications. I currently have full blown type 2 diabetes, too.
Name: Tom Dunne ( td45er [at] gmail.com ) I was stationed at Naha AB 1965- 1967 where I worked on the Flight line and serviced all survival/emergency equipment on aircraft going to and from Okinawa/ Viet Nam. I also worked in the Sea Survival School at Naha AB as an instructor. During my time there I worked with Okinawan employees and sprayed AO around our buildings/grounds. I am currently being treated for prostate cancer and other illnesses. Although I have submitted a claim to the VA I have not heard back from them yet.
Name: Ray Cunningham ( fourtwentyman3 [at] gmail.com ) I was splashed with agents orange, purple, blue and green while serving on Futenma Air Base, Okinawa. The barrels tops were rusted through and when I had to replace rotten pallets with new ones I got soaked. I was 19 yrs old and knew nothing of topical poisoning thru the skin. I have had several kinds of cancer, skin rashes, blisters and pain related to poisoning. I have been denied my agent orange claim twice. I was on Okinawa from 12/71 to 12/72 - and was also poisoned on Camp Lejeune, N.C. in September 71 - Nov, 71.
Name: Steven Van Helten ( stevevanhelten [at] msn.com ) I was stationed at Kadena from July 1979 to December 1980. My job in the Air Force was Entomology Specialist, a fancy name for a pest control operator. We had agent orange in our pesticide storage shed. It was not sprayed while I was there. The last six months on Okinawa I was stationed at Camp Kinser. I am currently employed as a Pesticide Investigator covering northeast corner of Iowa for the Iowa Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Bureau.
Name: Michael Liberto ( Liberto4JP [at] gmail.com ) My husband is 41 and diagnosed with Parkinson's. He served in Japan for 3 years. We are appealing our claim with the VA for service connection exposure to the hazardous chemicals on Okinawa. We firmly believe there is a direct connection to his diagnosis and Okinawa. My husband was ordered to clean up sludge and corroded containers; he can point out where he slept in relation to where the buried containers were found.
Name: Lamar Threet ( lthreet [at] centurytel.net ) I am currently a disabled Veteran who was exposed to Dioxin on Okinawa between 1965 and 1967. The spray crews on Okinawa were dispatched from Kadena AFB. The toxic dioxins (Agent Orange) was used for landscaping just about everywhere on Okinawa. Camp Kue hospital grounds was the area I personally observed. I had lunch with the spray crews at Camp Kue. Hosp. and had first hand knowledge of what they were using. They mixed the chemicals with fuel. They used backpack sprayers and also sprayed from tanks in the back of trucks. We held training in the areas cleared from the spraying. We walked through the sprayed areas daily. We also were exposed from swimming in contaminated waters in areas where two confirmed fish kills from Toxic Dioxins. This was from leaking chemicals into the water from open storage 55 gal. drums stored close to the beach. I was also exposed to Agent Orange from contaminated clothing and equipment directly from the field in Viet Nam. We were ordered by the CO to go through all duffle bags from all personnel from Viet Nam sent to the Camp Kue Hosp. This was due to war souvenirs (body parts) in duffle bags. Clothing was unwashed and body parts were wrapped in VC clothing. There is no doubt that Agent Orange was stored and used on Okinawa - the quest is for our government to admit it.
Name: Gregory Colvin ( REDWHITEBLUE588 [at] gmail.com ) I was in Okinawa in 1975 with 8 men in 2 trucks - 4 men per truck. Both trucks had trip tickets and all of us signed the back of the trip tickets with footnotes on how we were exposed to agent orange that was stored in 50 gallon barrels. On 4th or 5th of May we made the run from MCAS Futema to Camp Hansen where we transferred the agent orange to another truck at the motor pool. We did the field tests of agent orange which consists of the pack test, smear test and wind test - and the substance passed positive on all field tests for agent orange.
Name: Robert Garfias ( cctrike [at] yahoo.com ) I was a USAF Air Freight spec stationed at Kadena from May 1966 thru Nov 1968. At Kadena I unloaded 55gal barrels from 6-by's from Naha port. Sometimes they were strapped to wooden pallets or loose. Our job was to unitize this barrels on an aluminum cargo pallet and secure them with cargo nets to be loaded on aircraft bound for Vietnam. I handled these barrels with my hands and sometimes these barrels leaked onto my clothes. We were working 12 hour shifts and didn't have time to change clothes when they were contaminated.
Name: Tim Saunders ( Colleen.Allen [at] chomp.org ) My dad Tim Saunders was in the US Marine Corps from 1966-1970; MOS was 7011. He worked on the flight line (launch and recovery) in Iwakuni Japan and was also at Camp Butler. He worked underneath aircraft, on the flight line and inside aircraft as well. They used herbicides to spray around and on the flight lines for foliage and growth. He has high blood pressure, atrial fib, CAD, and had to have carotid artery surgery at a young age along with a slew of other things. He believes his exposure to herbicides, JP-4-5 and other chemicals which he used on and around aircraft caused his health problems.
Name: James Rice ( barbjim10 [at] aol.com ) I was TDY to 7th Psyops 1968 Machinato Army printing plant. While there, I was exposed to Agent Orange from leakage from storage warehouse of 2nd logistics command warehouse and barrels on the shoreline. Currently I have Parkinsons Disease. I have filed an appeal but it's going on a 4 year wait.
Name: Jimmy Clark ( clarkjimmy [at] att.net ) I was stationed at Camp Hansen 1976 to 1977. While stationed there, I did work on m127 trailers that were used to move these chemicals to and from Camp Schwab and Kadena Air Base. I also used to spray while at Camp Hansen. I spent 13 months there and went from one end to the other. I have heatlh problems with ongoing diabetes #2, spots on kidneys and lungs. Yes - Agent Orange was there.
Name: Roland Jutras ( jutrasr [at] yahoo.com ) I'm a veteran of the Vietnam War era. I was stationed at MCAS Futenma in 1970 - my MOS 3111 Forklift operator - where I believe I contracted diabetes mellitus, type II. I believe Agent Orange was sprayed in around our base. As a forklift operator, I knowingly loaded barrels on trucks with orange stripes around their middles. My company was SPT.CO,H&SBn 3rdFsr.
Name: Frank Coar ( Frankcoar3 [at] gmail.com ) In 1964 I was exposed to Agent Orange while working at Camp Machinato Military Vehicle Facility. I was a military dependent. My job was to remove & repair radiators from military vehicles damaged in combat in Vietnam. I wore no gloves or any protective clothing. The facility only had fans and I constantly had to wipe sweat from my face. The vehicles I worked on had been damaged in jungle combat. I was also exposed at Kadena AB in 1967 where Agent Orange was used to kill the grass along the curb in Kadena housing areas. Agent Orange barrels were later dug up behind Kadena housing. My medical issues include heart problems, neuropathy, frozen vision, diabetes, major neurological issues - for me and my 25 year old son. This information was also provided to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (Fla) in 2014.
Name: Martin Coffey ( martincoffey1951 [at] gmail.com ) I served in the USMC at 3rd recon division in '73 - '74 and I was all over the island while there. I trained on several work details at Camp Hansen and Kadena Air Base where I saw and handled drums of herbicides. No education of these items was ever given to us and we were not told what we could possibly contract. Now at 66, I have had Hodgkins Disease and large b cell lymphoma 3 times, as well as kidney problems and now pulmonary and heart disease. My government who sent me there have denied me 3 times and my time left on earth may end very soon - my mentally challenged son who is 36 will have no one.
Name: James Munyas ( jmunyas [at] hotmail.com ) I am a former Marine who was stationed in Camp Schwab, Okinawa from 1974-75. I have Type 2 Diabetes and now recently have been diagnosed with stage two Parkinson's disease. The VA has denied my claim stating that I wasn't exposed to Agent Orange, which is completely untrue. I was in the motor pool traveling all over the island during my tour in Okinawa. The motor pool in Camp Schwab was located on the perimeter fence where spraying was done to kill the vegetation growing there. I hauled barrels (black with an orange stripe) to Camp Schwab from Machinato army base. I began developing tremors in the late 80's and was told they were "essential tremors". Finally, in July of this year, I was sent to a new doctor (outside of the VA system) who diagnosed Parkinson's disease - this was further confirmed by a neurologist I saw in August whom I was referred to by my primary doctor. I would like to find other vets who have gotten sick after their tour in Okinawa during this same time period.
Name: Neil Bartholomew ( Knkbart [at] msn.com ) I was stationed at Naha Wheel and worked as a cargo checker at Naha Port from 12/70 to 4/72. I unloaded barrels and retrograde equipment soaked with chemicals. I saw fence lines and shorelines sprayed with defoliants - they worked well. l had a tumor/cyst removed at Naha airbase while there and developed severe skin rash and cysts. Now I still have severe skin problems, neuropathy, type ll diabetes and lung fibrosis.
Name: Donald Young ( Judydonyoung [at] yahoo.com ) I was sent from Yokosuka to Okinawa in 1967 to help open a new Naval communication station at Naha air base. I sprayed chemical defoliants around the old Quonset hut we were taking over to clear brush and weeds. I did this 4 times. I made 3 trips to Futemna MCAS to move equipment from there and 1 trip to White Beach. I have prostate cancer that my doctors and surgeon say was undoubtedly caused by AO exposure. VA denies disability because "no AO used on Okinawa". During the 6 months I was at Naha AB, I saw defoliants being sprayed around the base perimeters and airfields many times besides the spraying I did.
Name: John Ponticelli ( captjack6 [at] att.net ) I was Tdy in Okinawa Kadena AFB 3 times: 1967-68-69. My job as an ACFT mech, entailed many duties: field maintenance, flight mech, tire shop mech. On several occasions we were ordered to spray a herbicide (defoliant) on the cracks of the flight line, fence lines and hangars without protective gear. Within a day of the spraying the weeds were dead. I was told it was agent orange. As of now I am a borderline diabetic, have heart disease. quadruple bypass and a mitro valve replacement. In addition to the spraying I was continually exposed to several now considered toxic and hazardous chemicals which left me with no or very little sensation in my fingers and my finger nails turned white. Some were Mek, jp4, hydraulic oil, acft cleaning solvents. When I applied to the VA I was told there was never any agent orange used in Okinawa. I need other vets who can verify that they sprayed defoliants also.
Name: Carl Beckom ( cbeckom [at] hot.rr.com ) In 1974 I was stationed at Camp Hansen, Okinawa with H&S Company 3rd Battalion 4th Marines. I can remember having to fill a hand sprayer to kill grass and weeds along buildings and fences in our area. We got the herbicide from a 55 gallon barrel that had a orange stripe on it. Another barrel had a blue stripe on it. The barrels sat on a pallet next a roll up door in our supply building.
Name: Tracy Stewart ( tmfromkm [at] gmail.com ) I was at Kadena AB between '67 and '68. I've had prostate cancer, chloracne, diabetes 2, neuropathy and some other maladies. My exposure came from spraying on the flight line and sorting gear from assault landings in Vietnam delivered back to Kadena.
Name: Albert Braxton ( albraxton [at] gmail.com ) October 1968- April 1970. I worked all over the island dealing with inspections involving sanitation elements for soldiers and industrial hygienist inspections at Kadena Air Base, Naha Okinawa Port Areas. Both ships and numerous warehouses had storage of chemical barrels and various other items for soldiers and military use. I worked with officers and enlisted persons from my office : Preventive Medicine Unit. The evidence of foliage dead or dying from herbicidal uses from soldiers including me and many locals on the islands was clear. I sprayed around our work site / office area on the hill above the main hospital below the hill in Sukiran, Okinawa. The evidence of chemical use was readily noticed. Along roadways and play / recreational fields for soldiers and dependents alike. My presumptive Agent Orange Exposure and subsequent herbicidal chemicals exposures are real for me and many other soldiers who served in various capacities on Okinawa with me. I have Ischemic Heart Disease, Plaque Psoriasis, Low Testosterone, Joint Pains: hands, feet ,legs , back and shoulders and neuropathy . These medical issues are denied by the VA .
Name: Patrick Eckert ( p_eckert [at] verizon.net ) I was stationed on Okinawa at Kadena AFB, 400th MMS and 418th MMS in 66-68. I worked at the Bishigawa munitions dump just north of the Kadena Circle and we were told to use agent orange as an herbicide around the munitions bunkers. They didn't call it that but remember the 55 gal. drums with orange stripes. Also on the ship SS Transglobe, we would see all the cargo being loaded and they had those barrels and other striped barrels - some were leaking. Being young back then, I didn't think much about it.
Name: Don Heathcote ( heathcotejimmy [at] hotmail.com ) I honestly don't know if I was exposed to AO. In 1962 powder form herbicides were being used. There were no orange, purple ...etc banded drums. I saw standard Marine Corp Green Drums. The tops were hand sprayed with enamel paint. I believe there were 8 different color tops. The powder herbicides came in 50 lb heavy kraft bags and microfiche drums. Full drums of diesel were siphoned off into empty drums, funnels were used to add powder herbie to the remaining diesel fuel. A long rod was used to stir the containers and then rolled back and forth with a fork lift before being placed on a double X drum holder. Working parties of Marines would fill back pack sprayers. Tanker trucks of diesel were filled with microfiche drums. The trucks would drive around for approx. 15 minutes before spraying, swishing the diesel and herb powder as a mixing method. When you worked in a motor pool everything smelt like chemical odors. What make this mix sickening in my opinion was it kind of clung to you. Nostrils seem to have some way of trapping this chemical crap. Hard to get rid of the smell. I personally have had 5 Sinus Polyp Operatons. Still have sinus polyps. Waiting for my 6th OP. I know for sure, a lot of Marines became sick. This I believe was because of the spray adhering to the nose and mouth. It took a lot of toothpaste and gargle to get the taste out. Have to wonder about the medical effects of ingesting this crap. Like I said in 1962 we had no drums with color bands. Plain old drums with a hand sprayed color top. I sprayed the color purple (?). For sure, 50% disability for polyps. More for Asthma, bronchitis,copd and reactive airway disease. Can't tell you if it was AO, but whatever it was it was some bad stuff.
Name: Robin Poe ( robinpoe [at] rocketmail.com ) I was stationed at Camp Hansen from Feb 1972 to July 1972 I was exposed in the Northern Jungle Training with spraying and burning of Diesel Fuel in empty drums used as outhouses. Then back at Camp Hansen on the base and cleaned small arms weapons coming back from Viet Nam. I have ischemic heart disease, have had a stroke and skin disease. I filed a claim with VA still on appeal.
Name: Kelli Jensen ( rkaj [at] cox.net ) I am writing on behalf on my Mom and Aunts. My grandfather (J Kendall now deceased) was stationed on Okinawa in 1968, 1969 and 1970 at Kadena Airforce base. My Aunt has been diagnosed with Myeloma, my mother has Type II diabetes (she is not overweight) and my other Aunt had thyroid cancer. My grandfather worked with the Strategic Air Command. My mom also remembers they lived on Moore St. I would love to make contact with anyone who lived in this area or was in this unit.
Name: William McCrumb ( grandpa1012 [at] gmail.com ) I was stationed on Kadena AFB from 1963 to 1965 as the Navy ATCO. I also believe I was exposed to agent orange while stationed there. I have submitted a claim for comp. with the VA. I had prostrate cancer, type 2 dibetes, heart problems as well as COPD. I was exposed to herbicide in the recreational areas. I also toured areas that are known to have been treated. The VA has turned down my request for compensation stating that I was not in Viet Nam. I have filed one notice of disagreement and plan to file another in the near future.
Name: Aimee Perry ( aimee72perry [at] gmail.com ) My dad served as a weatherman at Naha and the Kadena Air Force Base from 1965 to 1966. Last year he passed away from angiosarcoma, which is caused by Agent Orange, according to his oncologist. He began the fight with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs prior to his death, but they have denied his case twice and now we are waiting on a hearing/appeal. We have been instructed to get buddy statements and do research on the base. We would like to hear from anyone who may have known Howard Grisso, or has any pictures of the base during that time or any other information.
Name: James Brooks ( behindblueeyes2010 [at] yahoo.com ) I am a 59 y.o. male who was stationed at Camp Schwab in Okinawa for the entire year of 1976. I have 3 older siblings and 4 younger siblings with no medical problems requiring hospitalization to date. I am questioning if my time at Camp Schwab has contributed to my medical issues. I had a brain bleed at 38 yo. Then, after a few years due to heart arythmies, I had a defribulator followed by a pacemaker a few years after that. At 54yo I had a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) due to a failing heart. Finally on Oct. 23, 2013 I had to have a heart transplant. It seems very strange that of 8 children in our family I am the only one with serious medical issues. For the past 10-12 years I spent a few months every year in hospitals with heart problems. Not sure if there is a connection to my health issues and the use/storage of agent orange at Camp Schwab and the Northern Training Area (NTA) I spent nearly every week training at NTA during 1976.
Name: Bill Garrison ( wfgarr [at] aol.com ) I served in Okinawa 1966-67 assigned to R&D Section aka Unserviceable Platoon, 3rd FSR. We basically were a junk yard that received gear being shipped back from Vietnam and sent to different repair shops. What couldn't be repaired was scrapped. We handled all the equipment in the Marine supply system, Comm. gear, weapons, trucks, jeeps tanks, weapons, and body armor. I was an RKF operator and was sent occasionally to the piers to load this gear onto trucks. We were not told that this equipment was exposed to Agent Orange. When not operating the RKF we handled all this gear piece by piece when possible. I am presently in the process of filing a claim with the VA.
Name: Jerry Parsley ( Advancepd [at] yahoo.com ) I was stationed at Machinato Service Area, 1967-1968. I repaired telephone and switchboard equipment that was shipped from Viet Nam to Okinawa for repair. Being OJT, my duties were cleaning the equipment for the trained techs to repair. While there I had severe skin rash and and cysts on my skin. I went to the clinic to see what it was and if it was contagious. They told me many had the same problem but they didn't know what it was. I requested a blood test and signed consent to report results to my CO. When results came back negative for diseases, I was told by my 1st Sgt., they didn't know what this AO was causing, but I wasn't the only one with the rash- if it got worse, I was told to report to the doctor. It did become worse after I got out so I reported to a VA hospital. That this would be in my records. My records are lost. After my wife had miscarriages, my skin rash turned into 25 years of large acne, many many cysts and pulps which were surgically removed - and prostate cancer in 2007. I was treated successfully at the VA - but I'm still called a liar of AO being the cause while serving on Okinawa with the 585th maint. Co 2nd log USARPAC.
Name: Char Lyons ( Char1313131313 [at] aol.com ) My husband served in the Marines 1980 - 1987 and Okinawa from 1980-1982. 2/7. After his return to the states he was diagnosed with a Testicular Tumor, treated with radiation. His skin was blotchy/white around knees, knuckles, elbows etc. "Vertigo" lost his memory, blackouts, pneumonia until he left the Marines with only 10% disability. They continually lost his records, until he gave up. He eventually tried the VA again many years later, Again lost his records. He was told he had Multiple Myeloma, Amyloidosis, Renal Failure and Heart disease. (all from what started as a cold) The VA declined my request to claim his death benefits and I appealed - now over six years and still nothing, as it sits in DC waiting. He was in from 2/80 to 2/83 and any help would be greatly appreciated. Now I wait for an attorney to complete his process today. Please know that that stuff was on that island for many years to the current years. It should not matter what year you were stationed there. Just know you were there with that poison.
Name: Kennith Miller ( kennithmiller [at] hotmail.com ) I was at Camp Hague Okinawa 3rd Shore Party 3 Marine Div. from 1970 to 1971. During that time, I sprayed AO 3 or 4 times on the fence and around our generators. It came from a green barrel with an orange stripe. We asked about gloves but we were told we did not need them.
Name: Stephen Moots ( micky992 [at] msn.com ) I was stationed at the 623rd AC&W Squadron at Yoza Dake (Itoman) from 7/68 to 1/70. I have recently been in contact with another airman that has similar symptoms of some kind of chemical or hazard from the area we were in at the Southern tip of the island that may or may not be AO - but the long term symptoms have warranted a claim to the VA. The perimeter and local area was sprayed for foliage control. I had a lesion that didn't heal for a decade or more. I started to have symptoms In the '70s that are like what is reported from Okinawa AO illness.
Name: Mary Evans ( joyceevans1951 [at] att.net ) My husband, Clyde Lawson Evans, was stationed on Okinawa 1961-1962. He helped mix, spray, clean containers and ship chemicals without the protective clothing, gloves and respirators that should have been used to do this type of detail. He died Aug 13, 2013 from Acute Myeloid Leukemia, heart disease, Parkinson's and neuropathy. That is four out of the five diseases related to these chemicals.
Name: John K. Scott (johnandjoyce [at] gmail.com ) I was stationed at Camp Zukeran 1961~62 USMC; my MOS 3011 supply. I did a work detail at Kadena AFB staging barrels of AO. I worked on this detail quite a while. Drums were leaking - we were told it was harmless to us. Our clothes, boots etc were soaked with chemicals from the drums. It was hot and humid - I became very sick and was admitted to sick bay for 2~3days. My job was supply so I didn't think about what was happening to my health. I am now stage 4 diabetes, heart trouble, extreme neurapathy etc. The VA said it was not AO. Now I'm looking for fellow veterans who worked this or any other AO detail between 1961 and '62. Time is not on my side.
Name: Walter G. Anderson Jr ( WGAnd44 [at] gmail.com ) I served in Okinawa from 1 March 1963 to 26 March, 1964 with Co. "D". 9th MTBn. 3'd MarDiv. At which time we began a massive build-up of supplies and ordnance which included herbicides known as 2, 4, D and 2,4,5. T. The combined product of these two chemicals was a 50-50 mix which was then mixed 50-50 with diesel fuel and given the code name "Agent Orange", for the orange band that was used to mark the drums it was stored in. The purpose of the product was to deny an enemy cover and concealment in dense terrain by defoliating trees and shrubbery where the enemy could hide. In Okinawa we had other uses for it particularly near base camp perimeters. Spraying from both truck and back pack were utilized along roadways too. The term "Agent Orange" was at the time merely one of several used to identify various herbicides used in the South Pacific. Others included Agents White, Blue, Purple. Pink and Green. Agent Orange was used by far the most. it was my job - MOS-3531 Motor Transport operator - to transport troops and cargo. On many occasions the cargo was herbicides known as 2-4-D and 2-4-5T. Sometimes they were full and sometimes they where empty. Sometimes the drums were half full of a 50-50 mix of herbicides and I would have to take them and add the remaining 50% of diesel fuel or kerosene for better dispersion. On many occasions while handling the drums, the contents would get on my hands and clothing and when we were spraying along the roadways by truck and back pack, the wind would change and blow the herbicides onto our skin and clothing. The thing that bothers me the most is that we were not told or warned about the hazards of the herbicides that we were handling nor were we issued any protective clothing such as gloves or masks. I believe that the frequent exposure to the concentrated unmixed herbicides was much more hazardous than if I had been sprayed with a diluted thinned-down mixture.
Name: Gary Kayajian ( Garyk [at] nycap.rr.com ) USAF, stationed at Naha Air Base on Okinawa from 1965 -1966 as part of 51st Combat Support Group. I worked on the flightline. I remember seeing spraying taking place around perimeters. I have been diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer and diabetes.