June 07, 2011 08:11
The lethal defoliant Agent Orange was kept also at Camp Market, a depot of the U.S. Forces Korea in Bupyeong, Incheon, during the late 1960s, according to U.S. veterans. On "koreanwar.org," a website for the Korean War Project for USFK veterans, veteran Randy Watson in 2007 said "barrels of what I believe now to be Agent Orange" were kept at Ascom Depot, currently Camp Market.
Watson says he was stationed at Ascom Depot's Company B, a supply and transport company, from 1968 to 1970.
"We shipped supplies all over Korea and the far east. We would also take supplies by convoy to the DMZ area and to southern Korea," he recalled.
"I remember several times shipping out Barrels of what I believe now to be Agent Orange to the DMZ areas. There were times some of these barrels had leaks from being hit by the forks of forklifts while loading them onto trailers and trucks," he added.
On the same website, another veteran named Wayne Allgood, who was also stationed at Ascom Depot in 1968, said he heard from comrades-in-arms that Agent Orange was kept at the depot and some barrels of the defoliant were damaged. He added he had been suffering from cancer since 2000.
The Korean War Project, an organization that has its office in Dallas, Texas, has been raising the issue of Agent Orange, which the U.S. used in the Vietnam War, for about 10 years.
On another U.S. veteran website, an anonymous man who served at Ascom Depot's Company B from 1968 to 1970, gave more detailed testimony about Agent Orange. He said there were "toxicity warning signs" and barrels of the defoliant were kept in storehouses and in the basement of Company B barracks. Company servicemen transferred barrels to the DMZ, or soldiers came from DMZ to take barrels there.
Due to leaks from being hit by forklifts during loading, large amounts of liquid seeped into the ground, he said. Soldiers were exposed to the defoliant in the process of trying to roughly stop up the holes, and the leaked defoliant was discharged into the waterways within the camp, he added.
Ascom Depot was renamed Camp Market after military facilities were removed to the Yongsan Garrison in Seoul and a base in North Gyeongsang Province in the early 1970s.
The Incheon Institute of Health and Environment took samples of soil and groundwater near the camp last Friday, and results are expected late this month.
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