Another thing that disturbs me is that the thrust of the article was entirely towards Security Police squadrons and their duties on the base perimeters. I’m sure many of you remember arriving in country and being told you were going to be put on “Augmentation duty”. This was a one month assignment with full combat gear to defend the perimeter. It was twelve hours on and twelve off with one day a week reprieve to pai teo (seek pleasure).Due to the fact that many bases were extremely understaffed, the Air Police couldn’t handle the perimeter duties. We didn’t trust the Thai Army that were assigned because they could be bribed and also had a propensity to sleep on duty at night.
What the article does not discuss is the duties of AFSC 362X1 and 362X4. These codes are for Cable Splicer/Maintenance and Telephone installer/Maintenance. Both involved spending nearly every waking moment outside repairing or installing cable or telephones. In the case of the latter, there was a lot of perimeter repair work for the telephone installers. I know because that was my primary AFSC. Because we were so understaffed, I got away without pulling Augmentation, but the trade off was the excessive amount of time spent in areas that had been sprayed.
Most people who have never been to that part of the world have no idea how rapidly vegetation grows. A jungle can spring up in six months after clearing it. Within two years you would have no idea there had been any activity there. The same was true on the perimeter. We had ten foot tall cyclone fences topped with concertina wire. An area 50 feet wide on both sides of the fence was completely denuded of vegetation for a better field of fire. I can honestly say I never saw it sprayed at Udorn or Chiang Mai, but the evidence was constantly there. I did watch the Hmong kids spread it up at 20 Alternate (Long Tieng) with bleach bottle scoops right out of the barrel. This was undiluted and extremely caustic. The children just went down to the creek and jumped in to wash it off their bodies and clothes.
For any of you assigned to the following Communications squadrons who had outside plant duties as Cable splicers or telephone installers, I would seriously consider filing a claim for AO if you suffer any of the diseases associated with it and listed in 38 CFR §3.309(e)
Don Muang RTAFB— Bangkok (Krung Taep)
Nam Phong (Kon Kaen)—Marine Logistics Support Group Delta
Korat RTAFB—-1998th Comm. Sqadron
Takhli RTAFB—- 1980th Comm. Squadron
U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield—-1985th Comm. Squadron
Nakhon Phanom RTAFB (NKP)—- 1987th Comm. Squadron [to include Pakse (Lima-11) across the Mekong river in Laos.]
Udorn RTAFB—- 1974th Comm. Group; 1973 Comm. Squadron; [to include up-country personnel assigned to Lima Site-20 Alternate (Long Tieng) and Lima-54 (Luang Prabang); TRC-103 area
Ubon RTAFB—- 1982nd Comm. Squadron
Operating Location B, 1980th Comm. Squadron (Phitsanulok MRC-98 Tropo Scatter site)
Operating Location C, 1980th Comm. Squadron (Chiang Mai Airport); aka O/L-C, 1973rd Comm. Sq.; aka O/L-E, 1974th Comm. Group; Detachment B, 7th Radio Research Field Station; Detachment 415, USAF HQ Command.
Kho Kha (Lampang) —17th Space Surveillance Squadron Radar Station
Camp Ramasun—– 7th Radio Research Field Station
1st MOB (1st Mobile Communications Group) deployments to any of these locations
As I mentioned, this represents most of the bases or small operating locations I remember. I do know there were more but many required a higher security clearance than I had to even be aware of them. Most have been declassified for more than 15 years now, so if any of you are aware of ones I missed, please feel free to contribute. If you know someone who fits this profile please be sure to tell them to get tested for liver function tests and uroporphyrins in the urine. There is also a blood test for PCT now as well. If they have Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, they may be eligible for a presumptive exposure to AO.