In 1967 records show that there were 485,600 US Troops in service in Vietnam as well as 785,600 South Vietnamese Troops in service.
The US statistics also show 11,153 US service personnel were killed in Vietnam in 1967.
In 1968 records show that there were 549,500 US Troops in service in Vietnam as well as 820,000 South Vietnamese Troops in service. As
well as these there were also a further 65,000 Korean, Thai, Australian, Philippine and New Zealand troops. In 1968 the New Zealand
troops numbered 520. The US statistics show 16,592 US service personnel were killed and 87,388 US personnel were wounded in action
during 1968. Over 5,000 more soldiers killed than the previous year as well as the highest number killed in any one year of that war.
The South Vietnamese had 27,915 killed in action and 172,512 wounded in action during the 1968 year of the war. The deadliest week of
the Vietnam War for the USA was during the Tet Offensive specifically February 11–17, 1968, during which period 543 Americans were
killed in action, and 2547 were wounded. US estimate that there were approximately 420,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong enemy
troops serving that year. They also estimate that between 191,000 and 209,000 were killed in 1968.
Whiskey Company had 3 killed during our tour, one from each Platoon. This equates to just over 1.6%. During the same period the US
lost 16,592 which equates to just over 3%. You can read what you wish from that.
In 1969 records show that there were now 434,500 US Troops in service in Vietnam as well as 897,000 South Vietnamese Troops in
service. The US statistics also show 11,616 service personnel were killed in Vietnam in 1969.
These are figures taken from readings on the Vietnam War. They endorse what is written of the war. The year 1968 was the climax of the
war where the strength of the allied forces was greatest and their casualty rate was also greatest for the Vietnam War. Over the following
years the number of Allied Forces began to decrease and the South Vietnamese Forces grew to over a million in 1970.
Whiskey Company served in Vietnam from December 1967 until November 1968. It wasn’t a six month tour and it wasn’t quite a twelve
month tour. However when compared with every other New Zealand Rifle Company deployed in Vietnam during the war, it would be
difficult, in fact impossible to say they served during a worst phase of the whole war than Whiskey Company did. Then to add even more
to that eleven month tour you will find it interesting to research the spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam. In particular the spraying of
chemical herbicides in the Phouc Tuy Province.
"During the Vietnam War, between 1962 and 1971, the United States military sprayed nearly 20,000,000 U.S. gallons (75,700,000 L)
of chemical herbicides and defoliants in Vietnam, eastern Laos, and parts of Cambodia as part of the aerial defoliation program
known as Operation Ranch Hand, reaching its peak from 1967 to 1969."
"The product was tested in Vietnam in the early 1960's, and brought into ever widening use during the height of the war (1967-68),
though its use was diminished and eventually discontinued in 1971."
- THE YEAR 1968 -
From these three readings we can deduce that the heaviest spraying of chemical herbicides in Vietnam which occurred during 1967,
1968 and 1969 is a fact. We can also deduce that spraying did occur in an area where the Australian Iroquois flew during 1968.
Further research has lead me to several maps of areas sprayed and when the spraying occurred.
Through these maps and further research I can confirm that the heaviest spraying from US aircraft within the Phouc Tuy area took place
in April, May and June 1968 and also September and October 1968. I must add here that there is no evidence of spraying in the Phouc
Tuy Province at any other time by US aircraft. Of course the maps I have used show what the US aircraft were doing and do not include
the Australian helicopters or spraying units used on the ground. All Kiwi veterans of the Vietnam War will remember at some time during
their service being involved in some way with the use of spray units to kill weed growth around Nui Dat base camp.
It has also been confirmed that the chemical herbicide used during that time came from 30 gallon tanks marked with an Orange band
around the centre of the tank.
Victor 2 was in Vietnam during the months of April and the early part of May in 1968. Then during the latter part of May, June and also the
months of September and October 1968 Victor 3 were in country having relieved V2 in May 1968. That means of course that Victor 2
Company, Victor 3 Company and Whiskey Company are the three companies that were on the ground in Nui Dat when the spraying of
chemical herbicide by US aircraft took place in the Phouc Tuy Province of Vietnam.
It may well be that infantry soldiers not from any of the mentioned companies can relate to such incidents however during my research
there is no evidence that rectifies this when researching US information. I am also aware of a map that was presented and used to
verify spraying in the area of Phouc Tuy was later presented as evidence of spraying having occurred. What I am unaware of is when the
spraying as indicated on that map is said to have taken place and who, US, Australian or New Zealand servicemen, were the personnel
doing the spraying. I do know that the spraying of chemical defoliant using back packs, land rover units and helicopters was experienced
whilst in Nui Dat base camp. I am also sure that this happened during the time of all infantrymen who spent time in Nui Dat. How ever I
am unable to substantiate any of this in writing. I certainly do not at any time wish to take away from anyone their right to fight for what
they are entitled to. I simply write these things to highlight statements made on behalf of Whiskey Company.
"A 1968 image taken from inside an Australian Iroquois helicopter in flight.
A spray boom for defoliant extends from the helicopter beneath the machine
gunner, who is on the right of the image. Defoliant was loaded onto helicopters
in 30-gallon tanks. Agent Orange was named for the orange stripe on such