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is honored on Panel 1E, Line 5 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Leave a Remembrance



    Posted on 2/26/16 - by Sandy Sauceman
    Thank you for your ultimate sacrifice. You perished that fateful day along side my brother-in-law Capt Robert D. Larson from Ft Bragg NC
  • Final Mission of SSGT Milo B. Coghill

    Posted on 8/3/15 - by
    On February 2, 1962, the Air Force lost its first aircraft in Vietnam. It was an Operation Ranch Hand UC-123 from the 1st Air Commando Squadron, 464th Troop Carrier Wing, 13th Air Force, flown by CAPT Fergus C. Groves II, CAPT Robert D. Larson, and SSGT Milo B. Coghill. The crew would be the first Air Force fatalities in Vietnam. The aircraft crashed while on a low-level herbicide spraying mission, distributing defoliant over a Viet Cong ambush site along RVN Route 15 between Bien Hoa and Vung Tau. Ranch Hand, a technological area-denial technique, was designed to expose the roads and trails used by the enemy. The aircraft in this incident had been assigned temporary duty to Tan Son Nhut Air Base, RVN. Although proof was never obtained that the UC-123 was downed by hostile ground fire, Air Commando T-28’s were soon tasked to fly armed escort for future spray missions. [Taken from and other web sources]
  • You would be very proud

    Posted on 11/11/13 - by Lisa Daniels Wall
    Uncle Bruce, thank you for your service to our country. It will be remembered always. You would be very proud of your three children, Patti, Sonny and Chris. They are wonderful adults who honor your legacy well. Gos is with you so put in a good word for me....My mother always
  • Remembering An American Hero

    Posted on 10/15/13 - by Curt Carter
    Dear SSGT Milo Bruce Coghill, sir

    As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.

    May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.

    With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir

    Curt Carter



    In 1961, President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam asked the United States to conduct aerial herbicide spraying in his country.

    In August of that year, the South Vietnamese Air Force initiated herbicide operations with American help.

    The request by Diem launched a debate in the White House and the State and Defense Departments.

    On one side were those who viewed herbicides as an economical and efficient means of stripping the Viet Cong jungle of cover and food.

    Others doubted the effectiveness of such a tactic and worried that such operations would both alienate friendly Vietnamese and expose the United States to charges of barbarism for waging a form of chemical warfare.

    Both sides agreed upon the propaganda risks of the issue.

    Ultimately, in November 1961, President Kennedy approved the use of herbicides, but only as a limited experiment requiring South Vietnamese participation and the mission-by-mission approval of the United States Embassy, the Military Assistance Command Vietnam, and South Vietnam’s government.

    OPERATION RANCH HAND, the designation for the program, began in January 1962.

    Gradually, limitations were relaxed and the spraying became more frequent and covered larger areas.

    The United States Air Force used C-47s, T-28s, B-26s, and C-123s equipped to spray herbicides for the defoliation missions.

    By the time Ranch Hand ended nine years later, more than 18 million gallons of chemicals, 11 million of which consisted of Agent Orange, had been sprayed on an estimated 20 percent of South Vietnam’s jungles and 36 percent of its mangrove forests.

    The spray fell mostly on the forest of South Vietnam, but some was used in Laos, and some killed crops to derive Vietcong and North Vietnamese troops of food.

    The military purpose for using herbicides on noncropland was to remove the vegetation cover used by Vietcong and North Vietnamese forces for concealment.

    Herbicides were also used around the perimeters of fire bases to keep the concertina wire clear of vegetation, providing an open view for sentries on guard duty.

    Herbicides were also sprayed along river banks to reduce the number of US casualties in the Brown Water Navy.

    The steel drums in which the herbicide was transported were color-coded with an orange stripe.

    Other colors such as Blue, White, Purple and Pink, were used to designate different herbicide formulations.

    The largest volume of herbicide was applied from the air by the FAIRCHILD C-123 " PROVIDER " twin-engine aircraft.


    By 1962, the C-123K variant aircraft was evaluated for operations in Southeast Asia and their stellar performance led the Air Force to upgrade 180 of the C-123B aircraft to the new C-123K standard, which featured auxiliary jet pods underneath the wings, and anti-skid brakes.

    In 1968, the aircraft helped resupply troops in Khe Sanh in the Vietnam War, during a three-month siege by North Vietnam.

    A number of C-123s were configured as VIP transports, including General William C. Westmoreland's ' White Whale '.

    The C-123 also gained notoriety for its use in " Operation Ranch Hand " defoliation operations in Vietnam.

    Oddly enough, the USAF had officially chosen not to procure the VC-123C VIP transport, opting instead for the Convair VC-131D.

    The first C-123s to reach South Vietnam were part of the USAF's Special Aerial Spray Flight, as part of Operation Ranch Hand tasked with defoliating the jungle in order to deny rebels their traditional hiding places.

    These aircraft began their operations at the end of 1961.

    Aircraft fitted with spraying equipment were given the U prefix as a role modifier, with the most common types being the UC-123B and the UC-123K.

    Aircraft configured for this use were the last to see military service, in the control of outbreaks of insect-borne disease.


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The Wall of Faces

Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.

All of these photos will be showcased in The Education Center at The Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the effort to collect these photos and ensure their faces will never be forgotten, visit