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Did C-123 Aircraft Spray Agent Orange During the Vietnam War?

Did C-123 Aircraft Spray Agent Orange During the Vietnam War?

During the Vietnam War, the United States military used an herbicide called Agent Orange as a defoliant in Vietnam and on the perimeters of certain Royal Thai Air Force Bases in Thailand. Agent Orange was sprayed by C-123 aircraft as a part of Operation Ranch Hand as a means of killing vegetation in Vietnam during the war.


What Are C-123 Aircraft?

C-123 aircraft were used to spray Agent Orange over forested areas in Vietnam during Operation Ranch Hand. The aircraft were fitted with spray tanks to spray the herbicide across large areas of the country.

Following a report released by the Institute of Medicine called Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft, the VA has conceded that Airmen who worked on C-123 aircraft as apart of Operation Ranch Hand were exposed to Agent Orange, and qualify for presumptive service connection for certain diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure.

The report found that the C-123 aircraft used during Operation Ranch Hand had residue of Agent Orange, and those who worked on these aircrafts after their return were exposed to the herbicide. After Operation Ranch Hand, C-123 aircraft were returned to the United States to be used by the Air Force and Air Force reserves, exposing service members to the Agent Orange that remained on the aircraft. The report found that exposure to Agent Orange could result in adverse health issues.

As a result of the report, the VA has added those who worked on or served onboard these aircraft to the VA’s herbicide presumption regulation.


How to Qualify for Benefits Due to Agent Orange Exposure

The VA’s herbicide regulation covers Air Force and Air Force reserve members who served between 1969 and 1984, and who “regularly and repeatedly operated, maintained, or served onboard C-123 aircraft.” Veterans must prove to the VA that they fall under this criteria in order to be eligible for presumptive service connection for conditions outlined in the VA’s regulation.

The diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure include:

  • AL Amyloidosis
  • Chloracne, and other acneform disease consistent with chloracne
  • Diabetes Mellitus Type II
  • Hodgkin’s Disease
  • Ischemic Heart Disease
  • All chronic B-cell leukemias
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Early-onset peripheral neuropathy
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Respiratory cancers, such as cancer of the lungs, trachea, bronchus or larynx
  • Soft-tissue sarcoma


If you were a member of the Air Force or Air Force reserves and worked on or served aboard C-123 aircraft between 1969 and 1984, you may have been exposed to Agent Orange. If you have a condition that you believe to be caused by your exposed, our office may be able to help. Call our office at 844-567-1185 for a free case evaluation.

Category: Veterans Law


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