Recently our Rich Magin sent me a
question asking about spraying of chemicals at Nui Dat
and the surrounding area. Rich was HQ Battery Clerk in
66-67 at Nui Dat.
Rich recently discovered that
herbicides were sometimes sprayed by jeep. He states "That
really got to me as I only thought that the jeeps were
using insecticide to spray, and I definitely remember a
jeep driving around the compound spraying a very large
cloud of "whateveritwas". Anyone else remember that, I
now wonder? In my reply to Jeff McKay, I made mention on
his pics that the leaves were falling from some of the
rubber trees. Did anyone else pick up on that, or that
some pics had the grasses all died off? Can any of the
guys from Camp Everett tell us was there any spraying
after the majority of us '66-67's were gone, that would
have been in '68, '69? Looking at some of the pics of
those years, the grasses were getting pretty green and
From what some of you have told me in the past, our area
was heavily sprayed with Agent Orange. As much as many
of us were kept in the dark, even if I did see spraying
of any sort, I probably would have thought it was for
"critter-control". We all drank water from the same
wells, I suppose, so it is amazing that more of us
haven't shown ill effects.
I asked our Aussie and Kiwi members if they could
fill us in on what they knew of spraying of chemicals (Agent Orange and/or ???)
that occurred in the area in and around Nui Dat in Phuoc
Below are responses that I have received so far.
Bob Billiards (Aussie)
"Not sure that I was ever in
defoliated areas, but we were mosquito sprayed
by the same C123's that sprayed the defoliant."
Ian Guy (Aussie)
"During late 67 through to
late 68 land rovers did tour the base of an
evening supposedly spraying against mosquitoes.
I was told that it was Malathon that they were
using. Supposedly dangerous if ingested through
the skin or a scratch/cut or that is what was
told to my brother in law in the 80's. He was a
wheat, barley, oats and sheep farmer and the
Doctors at Peter McCallum Cancer Hospital in
Melbourne gave him this information. Why does
your wife always say to "are you mad or just
stupid" when you do something wrong -must have
been in something you drank!"
Ted Harrison (Aussie)
"...you might remember that
the 5RAR perimeter consisted of a couple of
strands of concertina barbed wire tied to star
pickets. This was sprayed with an herbicide to
keep it clear of weeds so that our field of fire
was clear. I can't say if it was agent orange
Ernie Newbold (Aussie)
"My recollections are that the
area around Nui Dat wasn't sprayed with the
herbicide, "Agent Orange" while I was there
during '67-'68 but was subject to spraying of an
insecticide, especially during the "wet" season
to control mosquitoes and to reduce the risk of
I have attached two photos below, one of a USAF
C123 spraying herbicide around the Nui Dat area.
Just above the tip of the C123's tail are the
buildings occupied by the 1/83rd. These flights
were carried out very early in the morning just
after sunrise (as you can see by the long
shadows) while there was negligible wind to
affect the spray.
I have often wondered if this plane was used at
other times for spraying Agent Orange and if it
was, how well the spray tanks may have been
washed/flushed before being used to spray the
The second photo shows an Australian army
Landrover fitted with a fogging machine being
used to disperse an insecticide during the wet
season for mosquito control. The smell of the
insecticide used in the C123 and the Landrover
was very similar to me and although
I would have difficulty describing the smell, I
would still recognise it today."
Don (Nod) Donaldson (Kiwi)
"Just prior to leaving Vietnam
after my first tour was complete in 1966 we were
out on a major operation designed to clear the
road from Bien Hoa through the Vung Tau area and
then on to Nui Dat where 161 Bty was moving to.
We were certainly subjected to aerial spray at
that time, but not when we were in the area of
the Courtney Plantation. But the rest of the
surrounding country got a heavy drenching. Even
to this day I still get the taste in my mouth.
Brigadier General Williams or Williamson the
Commanding General of the 173rd Bde had
published a general order stating that troops
were not to be bothered about the spray as they
were only killing mosquitoes. What a load of
crap that was from him!!!
On my return to battle in 1967, we landed at the
Vung Tau Air Base and drove by vehicle up what
at that time was a partly red road from Baria
onwards. I couldnít help noticing that the
beautiful foliage of the jungle areas I had seen
about 11 months previous, were either dead or
dying. That to me was an indictment on the
bastards who authorised the spraying. Whilst the
actual Nui Dat Base was not sprayed during my
second tour, I do know for sure that the taste
in my mouth while out on operations during that
time proved to me, that those bloody C123's or
whatever they were, were not spaying for
mosquitoes. It was some sort of anti-defoliant
spray thatís for sure. I canít say it was Agent
Orange, but Iíll bet my left testicle that it
certainly was an anti defoliant spray.
So in answer to your query: Yes our AO was
heavily sprayed, but not the base camp."
Colin Campbell (Aussie)
"RE AGENT ORANGE. There was a
major commission that looked at Diggers and
Kiwis exposure to Agent Orange, when, where, who
and outcomes. Many were exposed. Access to the
files is available. While cancer rates were
multiple times those of the control group, our
government decided that there was no adverse
effect from exposure.
This is not surprising, as our government will
fight any claim for compensation by servicemen
all the way to the High Court (read supreme
It might be interesting to note that service
pensions have the lowest rate of indexation of
any government pension.
The commission noted at there was also "critter
control" for mosquitoes, which was sprayed from
vehicles and aircraft.
Re Camp Everett, I don't know as I left in mid
Ross Wood (Aussie)
"This may be of interest.
During February 1967, the main 1 ATF water point
(spring) dried up, and a new water point just to
the north of 1 ATF, outside the barbed wire
perimeter in front of A Company 5 RAR's position
was established, and the 1 ATF drinking water
came from this spring - water point, until the
rain came again.
The battalion used to send a platoon to guard
this external water point of a night during
March - April 1967, and the immediate area
around this new water point was sprayed with
something - I don't know what, but I didn't see
any vegetation alive in the immediate vicinity
of this external water point.
I don't recall who told me the main 1 ATF water
point had dried up and that is why this new
water point had been established.
former B Company 5 RAR"
This prompted Bill Taggart (US
1/83rd ) to reply...
Thanks Ross, I was on the
water run many times with the 1/83rd water
truck, "Juicy Lucy". We used to fill up at a
water point in the ATF area. I can remember a
time where we were directed to a new location, I
suppose that was it. Not too heartening to think
about is it?"
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