Vietnam War Chronology

Planes spraying Agent Orange

In this May 1966 file photo, U.S. Air Force planes spray the defoliant chemical Agent Orange over dense vegetation in South Vietnam. Photo: AP

1961: U.S. President John F. Kennedy sends the first military advisers to South Vietnam.

1962: Operation Hades, later renamed Operation Ranch Hand, begins aerial spraying of herbicides, notably Agent Orange.

1965: U.S. troops arrive in Da Nang. Aerial raids begin. Agent Orange spraying continues nationwide.

1968: The Viet Cong’s Tet offensive is a military failure but stuns the West and sparks U.S. anti-war feeling, including protests against the use of Agent Orange.

1971: U.S. ends use of Agent Orange after spraying 11.4 million gallons. Remaining stocks are collected at Da Nang, Bien Hoa and Tuy Hoa air bases, re-barreled and shipped to the South Pacific for incineration.

1973: Paris Peace Accords ratified. U.S. military begins withdrawal from Vietnam.

1975: North Vietnamese forces enter Saigon; the reunified Socialist Republic of Vietnam proclaimed in 1976.

1979: U.S. veterans file class-action lawsuit against chemical companies that produced Agent Orange.

1984: Veterans’ lawsuit is settled out of court for $180 million.

1987: First U.S. tourists arrive in Vietnam.

1991: U.S. Congress approves Agent Orange Act, creating a list of “presumptive illnesses” for which government compensation and medical care will be provided to U.S. Vietnam War veterans.

1994: U.S. ends trade embargo against Vietnam.

1995: U.S. and Vietnam establish diplomatic relations.

2002: U.S. and Vietnam hold joint scientific conference, sign a research memorandum of understanding regarding Agent Orange.

2004: Vietnamese citizens file suit in U.S. courts against Agent Orange-producing chemical companies.

2005: U.S. district and appeals courts dismiss Vietnamese case. U.S. Supreme Court later refuses a review.

2006: U.S. and Vietnamese presidents meet and agree to cooperate in addressing Agent Orange residues in Vietnam.

2007: The U.S. Congress appropriates $3 million to address the cleanup of dioxin hot spots in Vietnam and to support public health programs in surrounding communities.

2009: Congress appropriates an additional $3 million.

2010: Congress appropriates $12 million more.

Source: The Aspen Institute

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