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
Unfinished Business: Suffering and sickness in the endless wake of Agent Orange