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From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: CBU-15 to deliver Nerve Agent?
Date: Mon, 08 Jun 1998 14:30:23 GMT (RFKohm) wrote:

>Would a CBU15 be a viable delivery system for Sarin, as was claimed tonight on
>CNN? According to the CNN/Time Magazine report, GB, which CNN identified
>alternately as Sarin or a gas "containing Sarin", was used as many as twenty
>times in operations in Laos and North Vietnam during the war, under approval of
>the White House. The delivery vehicle was the Skyraider, dropping gas from the
>CBU-15. Seems odd to me: a cluster bomb to drop Sarin? Why not a spray tank or
>a binary bomb?

The CNN/Time report was typical Peter Arnett/Bernard Shaw drivel. The
paste up of stock footage into a montage with little historical
validity and the slick interchange of terms to imply that CBU-15 and
incapacitating gas equals nerve gas was disgusting.

Some issues:
--the oft pictured HH-53 and A-1H Cobras didn't fly in SEA
--if nerve gas had been delivered pre-village entry, why was there
such a vigorous fire-fight that all survivors of the SOG unit were
--if nerve gas were used why did the SOG not receive any effects?
--the "expert" on chemical weapons testified that tear gas only causes
"crying". Anyone who has been around the stuff knows that vomiting,
convulsions and more can result from teargas.

But, for your questions. The CBU-15 is  a down-ward ejecting dispenser
of canisters. Do not confuse it with the more traditional SUU-xx
bomb-style free-fall CBU.

Gas was regularly carried by Sandy-configured A-1s during a large
portion of the war. It was to be used during RESCAP operations in the
event hostiles were over-running the survivor. It would be dispensed
over the whole area, incapacitating all on the ground--INCLUDING THE
SURVIVOR--so that PJ's could enter the area, and pick up the pilot.

We often discussed the pros/cons of being gassed in such a situation.
I wondered if being sick as a dog was a good way to meet your captors
in a POW situation. But if it got me out, it was okay.

I certainly wouldn't take the report of a platoon grunt as definitive
on whether gas was sickening or deadly. And, if you listen carefully
to the CNN report, you only hear Adm. Moorer say that CBU-15 was used
(that's the dispenser, not SARIN). Then Arnett says that "off-camera"
Moorer admitted to use of nerve gas. Why wouldn't they press for the
"scoop" and ask him to repeat it on video?

 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: Nerve Gas Employed in Laos?
Date: Mon, 08 Jun 1998 22:05:43 GMT (RFKohm) wrote:

> CNN tonight reported that during Operation Tailwind, a SOG operation leading
> Montagnards in Laos allegedly to kill US defectors, the Army called for and
>the  Airforce delivered "GB", which CNN identified as Sarin, twice on targets. The
> report, however, left me with a few questions I hope that some of the experts
> here might help to clear up.

You mean we can't trust Ted and Mrs Turner to provide as accurate
information about Vietnam ops? Did you note the "events" listed during
the first commercial break started with a death of an Army officer
tried and ACQUITTED for complicity in the My Lai massacre along with
lots of grisly dead baby footage?

> 1.  Questions: If Sarin were dropped on this village camp, which was in
> a valley, why were there forces left to kill the next morning,
> especially considering that the report was clear in that none of the
> Defectors/VC/Laotians had any masks or MOPP gear?

I think you've put your finger on the crux of the issue.

> Is the CBU 15 a plausible unit with which to deliver nerve
> agents?

It is, but more typically it would have been delivered in binary
format from an aerosol tank. The CBU-15 is plausible, but was more
often used for non-lethal gases.

> The SOG team made it clear they only had masks, and not full MOPP
> suits. If Sarin was dropped, wouldn't a full suit be needed to prevent
> contamination through the skin?

Bingo again.

> 2. During the exfiltration effort the next morning, "GB"/Sarin was
> allegedly used once again to clear the LZ.  , , , According to the
> report, several of the attackers "went down, vomiting and convulsing. It
> didn't look like many of them were going to get up again.", said one of
> the SOG troops interviewed by CNN. Several of the Americans, including
> the team leader, had either lost or discarded damaged masks, and were
> exposed to the agent when it drifted into the LZ or when they "climbed
> over" the convulsing Vietnamese troops. The team leader claimed to be
> vomiting and shaking when he got on board the helicopter. Again, it
> seems that exposure to the agent should have had more telling effects.

A truly perceptive observer. Why didn't the "nerve gas" damage or
effecct the SOG troops, and if it was so deadly, how come the
resistance is such that the 40 out of 100 Montagnards who survived and
the 16 SOG guys were all wounded during the operation.

There were certainly gases used, but they were AFAIK all of the "get
sick" or "nod off" variety. It's hard to believe that anyone was
spraying nerve agents around particularly when no one in theater had
any level of MOPP gear beyond a gas mask.

And could you really believe that such a sensitive mission would have
been flown by SPADs???

 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: Nerve gas in Laos
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 1998 13:47:07 GMT (Scott MacEachern) wrote:

>>>Moorer didn't state that GB was used. He stated that CBU-15 was used.
>>>and Another attempt by Hanoi Jane and World Games Ted to discredit and
>>>vilify the military.
>What do you think of those statements? Are those -- which is all that
>I've objected to  -- valid reasons for dismissing this report?

Is that all you've objected to?

Let's start with looking at Moorer in the video. He appears frail,
confused and his articulation is weak and slightly slurred. He is an
old man, quite obviously and may be suffering the effects of that age.
He agrees with the cute blonde interviewer that CBU-15 was commonly
used. He never says (nor does she) that they are talking about nerve
gas, Sarin or GB.

Peter Arnett, in voice-over mode, says that the admiral admitted
"off-camera" that we used nerve gas many times....

Seriously, I was in the business for 23 years. I was involved in air
ops in SEA in the early days and at the end. I don't recall the exact
nomenclature of all of the weapons that were available, particularly
the CBU/SUU/BLU combinations. I think the admiral can be excused for
some confusion and I don't think the jump from the televised
statements to the conclusion of nerve gas usage is justified.

Secondly, my comments regarding the source may be excused as
net-hyperbole although any statements should certainly consider the
background and possible motivations of any speaker. In the case of
Jane Fonda, her background orientation and involvements in the war are
well known. Ted Turner has been a staunch supporter of unilateral
disarmament, propping up the Soviet Union and various aspects of
one-world liberal government for years. And, reporter Peter Arnett has
still not totally be rehabilitated for his "reporting"/propagandizing
on behalf of the Iraqi regime during Desert Storm.

Before believing a message, take a moment to question the motivations
of the messenger.

End of my defense.

 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: Nerve gas in Laos
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 13:36:05 GMT

Carlo Kopp <> wrote:

>There is a simple fix to this one, Kurt, and that is for the Pentagon to
>dig up all of the paperwork in the archives and submit it to an
>independent (and honest) third party, not associated with the media
>pack, and simply let the truth out of the bag. The longer  they dither
>on the issue, the more opportunity it creates for the media types to
>blacken the govt with BS and malicious speculation. Prove conclusively
>that the parties who raised this are wrong and why they got it wrong.
>I agree that Moorer most likely is confused about his CBUs. If he wasn't
>flying the sorties himself, you could not expect him to have close
>familiarity with variants of dispensers used where and when.

Two relevant items passed by me this AM as I read the weekly summary
of emails on the RATNET (the Red River Valley Fighter Pilot' Ass'n
news server.)

First, a retraction statement published on the editorial page of the
Washington Post in which Adm Moorer clarified his remarks. He
indicated that he "heard" about a "possible" use of Sarin. And that he
assumed any such release was known by National Command Authorities.
But he personally, apparently, did not authorize or even get briefed
on any such release.

Second, (and more important) River Rat Major General Perry Smith
(familiar to all regular CNN watchers as the networks technical
advisor on military air operations since his daily appearances during
Desert Storm), said he was not consulted during the preparation of the
Tailwind story. Further he said he had requested review of the
evidence and possible rebuttal. Finally, he stated in an email to the
RatNet, that after being stone-walled by CNN management, he has
resigned his position with the network.

Ahhh, all the news that fits, they paraphrase the ol' NY
Times motto.

 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

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