Military Policy & Weapons/chemical/biological weapons

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Question
'67 sent to pick up and escort back to US weapons of the enemy said to have been taken in Dong Nai River in route to Saigon for use against friendlies. Suspected to be chemical/biological. Were any ever used against us?

Answer
There is no definitive proof that biological weapons were used agianst us in Vietnam,  However, there use is plausible for the following reasons.

There is evidence that mycotoxins (trichothecene) were used in Laos with as many as 6,000 deaths resulting. While the evidence is compelling it is unknown who used them. Similer mycotoxins were used in Afghanastan by the Soviets, who had a strong reason to see us defeated in Vietnam and who would have liked to have some greater influence over Hanoi since the Soviets didn't particularily want China to gain any resources or prestigue.    

We fought an enemy with little control and much ingenuity. We know that infectious agents were used on 'punge' sticks and thorns. Rats in Vietnam for example carried bubonic plague. It would have been easy to trap a lot of rats and release them near our bases.

The Japenese used chemical weapons in China in WWII, killing a quarter million people. Burials of Japenese chemical weapons are often found. It would have been easy for NVA to acquire such weapons. Perhaps thats what you shipped out. An english document on Japenese Chemical weapons is available free on the internet and maybe you could recognize what you saw. However, common chemical weapons (of the types used in WWI and WWII) would have effected a number of personnel at the same time, leaving a clear diagnosis. Thus its doubtful that any traditional chemical weapons were used against any of our military bases. We certainly wouldn't have concealed that as it would have given us reason to bomb the dykes or take other measures. If CW was used, they would have been used against a small remote squad where their bodies could not be recovered (MIAs).

Low level Arsenic poisoning might be an example of a chemical agent whose efects would be missed at a field hospital. Arsenic in drinking water and in soil is commonplace in Southeast Asia. Poisoning our wells would be the type of chemcial agent use that could have occurred. Even if such poisoning would have been discovered, it could have been blamed on drinking naturally poluted water.  

Nerve agents on the other hand would not have been so readily identifiable if released in small amounts, creating sub-clinical symptoms. As an example, Persian Gulf Syndrom, some suspect, was due to low level nerve gas exposure, either from mines or the detonation of sarin rockets found in enemy magazines. To this day, little definitive proof as to its cause has been found and many still dispute its reality.

In summary, much of this answer is conjecture. The Levenworth papers and other US Government works on chemical/biological weapon use world wide would be one source of information.  

Military Policy & Weapons

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Richard Albright

Expertise

Questions on chemical weapons, explosive ordnance, environmental cleanup of military bases and ranges.

Experience

Military weapons and antique firearms expert. Remedial Project Manager for 7 years cleaning up world war one's second largest chemical weapons manufacturing site. 1st Lt. USAR Vietnam Era.

Organizations
ASTSWMO Association of State Territory Solid Waste Management Officials ITRC Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council

Publications
Author: Cleanup of Chemical and Explosive Ordnance. Published by Elsevier. Made Science and Technology Best Seller List Geophyisical Prove-Outs for Munitions Response Projects 2004, by Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (64 pages, contributing author). Small Arms Range Technology (SMART II) 2005, by Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (70 pages, contributing author). Technical Guidance-Perchlorate 2005, by Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (70 pages, contributing author).

Education/Credentials
4 degrees, BA, JD, MS, PhD.

Awards and Honors
Cafritz Award 2001 $7500 prize. 3 performance awards signed by current Supreme Court Justice. 1995-1996, Strathmore’s Who’s Who Registry of Business Leaders. 1998-1999, Marquis Who’s Who in Science and Engineering Printed Media: Washingtonian Magazine December 2000, 12 page story two pictures; 2001, July 28, 2001, The Washington Post Picture B-1; Numerous other stories in the Washington Post; Washington Times; The Ohio News Herald; The Kansas City Star; The Northwest Current; Electronic Media: HTB-TV Russia, 3 minutes prime time; CNN-TV; CBC Radio Canada; Subject of Fox 5 story by Melanie Alnwich winning a national Emmy; and, recognition in numerous other news media.

Past/Present Clients
District of Columbia Government

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