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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Agent Orange Korea: Remorseful U.S. veterans apologize for burying toxic chemicals in S. Korea

Image compliments of Rich Preston, Vietnam veteran
"Had I known 42 years ago how dangerous these chemicals were and what they were going to do to me, my men and citizens and villagers around the area," House said, "I'm afraid I would have refused the order to spray them."

Two visiting American veterans on Monday offered an apology before South Korea's parliament for burying toxic Agent Orange on the nation's U.S. military bases decades ago, urging a thorough investigation into the sites and people who may have been affected by the toxic herbicide.

House said he and his colleagues participated in the burial work, hauling rusty, olive-green 55-gallon barrels, some bearing an orange stripe and yellow lettering that read "Chemical Agent, Type: Orange" and dated 1967. Although they first worked with gas masks fitted with orange, combat-ready filters, the soldiers were not required to wear them due to heat and humidity.

After returning home for his next duty assignment, House said he continued to suffer conditions such as skin rashes, a cough, neuropathy, eye problems and post traumatic stress disorder.

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