|Patches Tail 362 at Wright-Pat|
The study can be downloaded at: http://airforcemedicine.afms.mil/idc/groups/public/documents/afms/ctb_021403.pdf.
In particular, I'd like to provide this paragraph dealing with "Patches" at the Air Force Museum, an aircraft many of us invested hundreds of hours flying, maintaining, training, sleeping, eating, etc:
"a. In 1994, AFIOH/RSRE (then AL/OEMH) evaluated a C-123 aircraft located in the museum annex at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (AL/OE-CL-1994-0203, 19 Dec 94). Museum personnel planned to restore the aircraft and staff raised concerns prior to restoration since the aircraft reportedly carried and sprayed Agent Orange to support defoliation efforts in Vietnam. Four samples were collected (3 inside, 1 under the wing); all four samples tested positive for dioxin congeners. At the time, museum staff secured the aircraft to prevent entry. The tanks and sprayers, stored at a separate location, were not sampled. AL/OEMH staff made recommendations to limit exposure to aircraft restoration personnel and allow the public to view the exterior of the plane. The recommendations would not result in the complete decontamination of the aircraft."
|Tail 633 at Westover, 731TAS (now at Robins AFB)|
FACTOID: Did you know that Patches was only C-123 to fly completely around the world, doing so in 1962 as it responded to various spray missions, before being more permanently assigned to Vietnam during the war. It flew "silver" during its insecticide life because the chemicals fouled the paint.
FACTOID: The C-123K (Tail #679) which crashed in Honduras is now a fancy beachside restaurant, still with the 439th shield above the crew door!
But wait, folks...there's still more! In 1964 the Air Force conducted design and testing programs at Eglin AFB Florida to learn how to "properly" spray liquids from the C-123. Their testing revealed an important fact: The liquids spread by the A/A 45Y-2 Pressurized Defoliant Dispenser (and later versions) contaminated not only the "target" but also the surface of the airplane. In later years, with a greater understanding of the persistence of dioxin, the Air Force learned that painted surfaces of contaminated C-123K/UC-123K aircraft shouldn't even be scraped and cleaned or toxins would be further dispersed.
Okay...that makes sense. So why are museum C-123K or UC-123K aircraft still displayed allowing physical contact by the public? Why are the UC-123K (Tail #633, once a spray aircraft) at Robins AFB Museum of Aviation and the C-123K (Tail #612, possibly a spray aircraft) at March ARB California there for the public to touch...and become contaminated?