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Omar and Chris' Vietnam War Site

Napalm/Agent Orange

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Napalm is a flammable, gasoline-based weapon invented in 1942. The name is a portmanteau word for naphthenic palmitic acids. It was used by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. It produces horrific wounds, and although its use is not specifically prohibited by the laws of war, most nations no longer use it.

Agent Orange is the code name for a powerful herbicide and defoliant used widely by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange was used from 1961 to 1970 and has disputedly caused serious harm to the health of both Vietnamese and Americans, their children and grandchildren.

During the Vietnam War, Agent Orange's official military purpose was to remove the leaves of trees to prevent guerrilla fighters of the National Liberation Front from hiding. Agent Orange is a colorless liquid: its name was from the color of the stripes on the barrels used to transport it. 

Agent Orange as a military defoliant was discontinued in 1971, after over 6,000 spraying missions in Vietnam and Cambodia.

An April 2003 report paid for by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that during the Vietnam War, 3,181 villages were sprayed directly with herbicides. Between 2.1 and 4.8 million people "would have been present during the spraying." Furthermore, many U.S. military personnel were also sprayed or came in contact with herbicides in recently sprayed areas. The study was originally undertaken for the U.S. military to get a better count of how many veterans served in sprayed areas. Researchers were given access to military records and Air Force operational folders previously not studied. The re-estimate made by the report places the volume of herbicides sprayed between 1961 and 1971 to a level 7,131,907 liters more than an uncorrected estimate published in 1974 and 9.4 million more liters than a 1974 corrected inventory.


A U.S. riverboat deploying napalm during the Vietnam War.