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Committee to advice the Potential Exposure of certified dealer Orange/TCDD Residue and Level of risk of adverse Health impacts for Aircrew of Post-Vietnam C-123 Aircraft; board on the wellness of select Populations; institute of Medicine. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in certified dealer Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington (DC): nationwide Academies push (US); 2015 may 20.


Committee to advice the Potential Exposure of certified dealer Orange/TCDD Residueand Level of risk of adverse Health effects for Aircrew of Post-Vietnam C-123Aircraft; board on the wellness of pick Populations; institute of Medicine.

The Fairchild C-123 Provider is a short-range military assault aircraft used bythe Air force (AF) in Vietnam. Draft by the follow Aircraft agency in NewJersey and built by Fairchild markets in Hagerstown, Maryland, the C-123 wasutilized in Vietnam for a variety of tactical missions consisting of transportation ofmilitary personnel and also equipment, evacuation the wounded soldiers, and also supplyoperations for advanced combat positions. This chapter provides backgroundinformation around the use of C-123 Provider aircraft to spray herbicides inVietnam and also their succeeding use by the AF to make reservation personnel in the UnitedStates. Descriptions of air and also wipe samples gathered from several of theseaircraft between 1979 and 2009 by the united state Air pressure (USAF) space alsopresented.


During the military dispute in Vietnam, one usage of Fairchild UC-123 aircraftwas flying defoliation goals to damage enemy food supplies and also to clearand expose adversary transportation and also infiltration paths (IOM, 1994; Young, 2009; Young and also Newton, 2004). “UC” wasa designation provided to C-123 aircraft that were equipped with sprayapparatus. The UC-123s were estimated to have sprayed 88% of all herbicidesused in Vietnam (AF functioning Paper,1979). Herbicide formulations offered in defoliation initiatives werecomposed of four compounds—2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic mountain (2,4-D),2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic mountain (2,4,5-T),4-amino-3,5,6-trichloropicolinic mountain (picloram), and also dimethylarsinic acid(cacodylic acid). An estimated 69 come 77 million liters of herbicides weresprayed over approximately 3.6 million acre in Vietnam in between 1961 and also 1971(NRC, 1974; Stellman et al., 2003). Thespecific herbicide formulations (named because that the tape of color around each55-gallon warehouse drum—Agents Pink, Green, Purple, Orange, White, andBlue), chemistry composition, TCDD concentration, year used, and quantitysprayed are shown in Table3-1.



Military use of Herbicides in Vietnam (1961-1971).

Operation Ranch Hand

Historically, the about 1,300 AF personnel associated in the UC-123fixed-wing aircraft spray tasks in Vietnam between 1962 and 1971(codenamed operation Ranch Hand ) have actually been considered among themost very exposed employees to the chemicals that were in thedefoliants. Defoliation spray goals were carried out byhighly-trained three-person crews of male Ranch Hand (RH) personnelconsisting of a pilot, copilot/navigator, and also a spray equipment consoleoperator. Personnel who provided primary maintain for the ORH UC-123swere likewise potentially exposed come herbicides (AF functioning Paper, 1979). Lurker et al. (2014)reported that the aircraft flew a complete of almost 6,000 herbicidemissions and also became heavily contaminated with chemical residual water duringloading, maintenance, fueling, and while on missions. ORH crews had actually thepotential because that exposure as soon as flying with the cockpit windows or rearcargo door open, flying through previously sprayed airspace, or byexposure to damaged or malfunctioning spray present or spillage fromstorage tanks. The level of exposure that ORH ground crews or C-123flight personnel in Vietnam has not to be documented, however estimates ofexposure based upon days that exposure, percent of skin exposed, theconcentration that herbicide formulations, and also serum TCDD concentrations,show the this population had the potential because that even greater exposuresthan flight crews (Michalek etal., 1995).


In 1970, the herbicide 2,4,5-T, i m sorry was included in the chemicalformulations because that Agent Orange (AO) (or Herbicide Orange), certified dealer Green, AgentPink, and Agent Purple, was found to be contaminated v a byproduct ofmanufacturing, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)or dioxin. Shortly thereafter, AO ORH goals were terminated aftertoxicologic studies discovered that TCDD led to congenital abnormalities inpregnant rodents (Courtney et al.,1970; Lindquist andUllberg, 1971; Robinson etal., 2006). In late 1971, the White home issued an ExecutiveOrder, calling because that the phasing out of all herbicide spray tasks inVietnam (AF functioning Paper,1979; Cecil, 1986).TCDD concentrations in AO samples taken after ~ the Vietnam dispute variedfrom 0.05 parts per million (ppm) to practically 66 ppm, v an typical of2–3 ppm (NRC, 1974,Young et al., 1978). Atthat time in the unified States, TCDD pollution of 2,4,5-T can notexceed 0.5 ppm (NRC,1974).

Between April 1969 and also February 1972, 30–40 UC-123 aircraft offered forORH went back to the continental joined States. Table B-1 in attachment B lists these aircraft, and information ~ above otherORH C-123s the did not return native Vietnam, compiled native Carter (2013), Alvin L. Young(personal communication, might 5, 2014), Young (2014), and also Young and Young (2014a,b). Youngand Young (2012, 2014a) report that of the previous ORH aircraft, around 24were distributed among AF Reserve devices in the united States and thirteenwere moved to the Military assistance Program (MAP), a programdesigned to market aircraft to other nations for their military and also domesticuse.

All C-123s return to the United claims from Vietnam passed with theMilitary aircraft Storage and Disposal facility (MASDC), i m sorry adjoins theDavis-Monthan Air pressure Base (AFB) in Tucson, Arizona (Young and also Young, 2014a,b). The MASDC facility operated together an aircraftstorage, preservation, and maintenance basic for every the US equipped Forces.Typically aircraft arriving at this facility to be reconditioned and returnedto service; however, unsalvageable aircraft can be used for spare parts ortarget practice, moved to other areas for museum displays, orsmelted down right into metal ingots and also recycled (AMARG, 2014). Plane that arrived on thisfacility from Vietnam to be stored because that 3–6 months, during which timethe spray tanks and also booms were gotten rid of from the aircraft (Young and also Young, 2014b).

Once spray devices was eliminated from serviceable ORH aircraft, the C-123swere ferried come the Hayes plane Facility at Napier Field, in Dothan,Alabama, to undergo reconditioning. The reconditioning process took between3–6 months. Explanation of the C-123 reconditioning process includedcockpit standardization and engine repair; removal and also replacement of allarmor, seats, damaged flooring, and also fuselage; instillation of brand-new oxygensystems; industrial vacuuming; and internal and also external cleaning andpainting as appropriate for future usage (Alvin L. Young, A.L. YoungConsulting, Inc., personal communication, might 5, 2014; Young, 2014).

Written testimony detailed by the C-123 Veterans combination to thecommittee, however, reported the the plane returning from Vietnamreceived only straightforward maintenance at a fix depot and also needed extensiverehabilitation by maintain personnel. The AF reserve personnel reportedthat part C-123 plane arrived needing seats replaced, new litterstanchions, litter straps, an initial aid kits, matting, and in part aircraft,navigator stations. The exterior of part aircraft were patched yet notrepainted. The veteran"s account declared that the AF make reservation crewsworked to eliminate residue native the interior of the C-123 aircraft andexterior washing was undertaken v soap solutions used with brushes andpressurized spray tools (Carter,2014a).

The efficacy of the reconditioning process or the AF Reservists"efforts in remove remnants the herbicides injected in ORH is at odds withthe existing results from samples drawn many years later, which space thefocus that this report.

Assignment that C-123s to AF reserve Units

Once cleared from Napier Field, C-123 aircraft previously used because that ORH wereassigned come AF Reserve devices or sold overseas. The C-123s the remainedin the United states were transferred to the 906th or 907th TacticalAirlift teams (TAGs) located at the Lockbourne/Rickenbacker AFB in OH,the 911th TAG situated at Pittsburgh global Airport inPennsylvania, or the 731st Tactical Airlift Squadron (TAS) at WestoverAFB in Massachusetts. The C-123s moved to tags or TASs were usedbetween 1972 and also 1982 through AF make reservation personnel for military airlifts,medical transport, and also cargo transfer in the United says andinternationally. Thirteen former ORH C-123s were marketed through theMilitary aid Program to various other countries, including El Salvador,Korea, Laos, the Philippines, south Vietnam, and Thailand (detailedinformation is included in TableB-1 in AppendixB).

AF Reserve work Practices on Repurposed C-123s

Between 1972 and 1982, approximately 1,500–2,100 AF Reservistsworked board C-123 aircraft that had previously been offered to sprayherbicides in Vietnam. It has actually been estimated that approximatelyone-third of every the C-123 aircraft used by the AF Reservists wereformer ORH airplane (Alvin L. Young, A.L. Young Consulting, Inc., personalcommunication, august 10, 2014). The AF reserve crews to be assigned todifferent plane for each mission so the is likely that they invested timein ORH C-123s sometime during their business (Carter, 2014b). The committee note thateven if the ORH C-123s constituted less than one-third of aunit"s fleet, v random assignment of planes because that each mission,the probability of never serving on one ORH C-123 after a dozen or somissions is 0.013. Timeless AF Reservists worked one weekend permonth to add one 2-week training conference annually. Part maintenance andflight crews operated 5–10 days per month and other maintain andflight crews operated full-time, either as Reservists or together Air ReserveTechnicians (Carter,2014a). Each C-123 trip crew had a pilot, navigator,flight engineer, and a loadmaster. In addition to the flight crew,maintenance personnel, paratroopers, and aero-medical personnel(including nurses), all had actually duties which can have brought them incontact with previous ORH C-123s (Alvin L. Young, A.L. Young Consulting,Inc., personal communication, may 5, 2014).

The size of time the AF to make reservation crew members invested aboard C-123s (bothin flight and on the ground) might vary indigenous 4.5 come 12 hours per shiftdepending top top the mission or situations (Carter, 2014b). Usual pilot training andaeromedical evacuation goals were 4 hours in length; missionsinvolving deliver of weapons, explosives, or vehicles can be muchlonger. Cross nation training objectives were generally 4–7 hoursto with a certain destination far from house base. Deployments toEurope or south America lasting approximately 12 hours in size were conductedwith extended selection fuel tanks (Carter, 2014b).

According to former AF Reservists, a flight mechanic would finish a1.5-hour preflight inspection before each mission. Loadmastersrequired roughly 1.5 hrs to prepare for aeromedical evacuationsor missions including an air drop the cargo or personnel. Revolution groundtraining missions organized on the tarmac compelled crews to remain in C-123sfor lengthy periods that time. This immobile maintain sessions, during whichcrew members would rotate through various crew positions because that trainingpurposes, might last as long as a regular inflight mission. Because that medicalmissions, aircrew would certainly test medical systems, location litter straps andstanchions in place, and also load, test, and also store equipment. Medicalpersonnel had call with the floor while working along gurneys thatwere close to the floor. During training missions, the AF Reservistssimulated patients that were loaded and also “treated” inflight. Throughout routine trip operations, trip crews satellite on the floor,reclined, kneeled, satellite on bucket seats, or crawled while completingtheir duties or doing maintenance work. Crew members regularly touchedthe deck, top, and also sides that the aircraft interior. Maintenance personnelwere even much more intensely in call with the aircraft internal surfaces(Carter, 2014a).Maintenance workers were tasked through painting, sheet steel work, wiring,grinding, fabricating, ingredient replacement, facility welding, fabricwork, anti-corrosion, alignment, and tuning.

C-123 crew members were issued Nomex™ trip suits,jackets, and also gloves that were comparable to those worn by various other airplanecrews. The Nomex™ fire resistant flight suits werenot design to defend the trip crews from chemistry exposures; glovescould be removed and sleeves could be rolling up. After flight, the suitswere handled, laundered, and stored by the separation, personal, instance crew members.Because C-123 aircraft were no heated no one air-conditioned, winteroperations commonly required lengthy johns, parkas or winter flightjackets, structure watch caps, and winter flying boots. No hazmat gear wasissued, but maintenance personnel would wear proper protection forspecific ground work (for instance painting, cleaning or pour it until it is full fueltanks, or working with anti-corrosives).

Reservists typically lugged their meals through them on flights, i beg your pardon werestored in the cooler tail part of the aircraft due to the fact that norefrigeration facilities were on board. Meals, which to be usuallysandwiches, to be consumed while in flight. New coffee and water wereprovided because that each flight. There to be no sanitation facilities inside theaircraft and only moist towlettes were available for personalhygiene.

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The committee notes that a substantial amount that informationnecessary for coherent quantitative estimation of theReservists" exposure showed not to it is in recoverable at all orremained resistant to reconciliation the the contents providedby miscellaneous sources. Because that instance, substantial effort by a number ofparties has actually failed to create exactly how plenty of C-123s the military hadin Vietnam; how numerous were offered for spraying herbicides (the onesreferred come in this report together ORH C-123s); how many sprayed onlyinsecticides; how many were went back to the united States; how countless ORHC-123s and also how many C-123s that had not remained in Vietnam were allocatedto the assorted reserve units.