U.S.-South Korean Team Investigates Claim of Buried Agent Orange

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South Korean technicians conduct a ground-penetrating radar survey at Camp Carroll, a U.S. base in Waegwan, South Korea, to search for drums of Agent Orange possibly buried there. (Jung Yeon-je / Associated Press / June 2, 2011)
South Korean technicians conduct a ground-penetrating radar survey at Camp Carroll, a U.S. base in Waegwan, South Korea, to search for drums of Agent Orange possibly buried there. (Jung Yeon-je / Associated Press / June 2, 2011)

by John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times

 

 

(July 21, 2011)-Reporting from Seoul— Using such modern tools as ground-penetrating radar and conducting analyses of water and soil core samples, a team of investigators in South Korea is searching for clues to a decades-old mystery:

Did American soldiers dispose of the defoliant Agent Orange at a U.S.-run base about 150 miles southeast of Seoul in 1978?

For weeks, a U.S.-South Korean survey team has focused on a helipad site at the Camp Carroll base. Recently, tiny amounts of a toxic element found in Agent Orange were discovered in three nearby streams.

But South Korean officials say the amount of dioxin is too small to cause health problems such as cancer or birth defects and has not yet been connected to the alleged burial of drums containing Agent Orange at the base. U.S. officials say they have no evidence or records of Agent Orange ever being kept at the base.

The investigation was launched after a U.S. veteran told a Phoenix television station in May that he and others buried dozens of drums containing Agent Orange at Camp Carroll more than three decades ago.

“We’re taking the claim very seriously,” said U.S. Army Col. Joseph F. Birchmeier, an engineer and co-chairman of the joint investigative team. “Our focus is on the health and safety of U.S. soldiers and their families at Camp Carroll and of residents around the base.”





 

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