Examining the Myths of the Vietnam War

The Third Rail(s) of Veteran Politics

Day Two -- Tuesday, July 27, 2004 Fourth Session 1515-1700 (Click to see video) (Click here to see transcript) [Suggestion: you might want to listen to the Video while reading the transcript. To do this, open the Video which will take you toWindows Media Player and then minimize it and open the transcript.]

9.   The Third Rail(s) of Veteran Politics –


Speaker: Dr. Alan Hopewell

Speaker’s Biographical Information: Dr. Alan Hopewell holds four degrees and three foreign language certifications. Holds three degrees in Psychology - a Bachelor of Science and language minor from Texas A & M University and the Master's and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from North Texas State University. Holds a second Master of Science Degree in Clinical Psychopharmacology from the California School of Professional Psychology. Received formal Clinical Neuropsychological training in 1975-1976 during residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in the Division of Neurosurgery. First Texan to be Board Certified by examination in Clinical Neuropsychology.

Commissioned into the United States Army upon graduation from Texas A&M University in 1971. Provided psychological support for thousands of recruits as Chief of Psychology at Moncrief Army Hospital, Ft. Jackson, South Carolina. Directed the Neuropsychological Laboratory for the 7th U. S. Army throughout the European Theater while Chief of Psychology at 2nd General Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center and subsequently the Fifth U. S. Army at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas Served as a Major in the United States Army; active duty both in the U.S. as well as abroad; 20 years USAR; Vietnam Era Veteran Cold War and Foreign Service Commendations Counter-Terrorism Training, primarily Red Army Factions.

Awarded the Texas Psychological Association Award as the Outstanding Clinical Neuropsychologist in Texas for 1990 ; President of the Texas Psychological Association for 2004; Formerly Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatric Medicine, University Medical Center, East Carolina University School of Medicine Currently Psychologist, Psychiatric Consultants of Ft. Worth Numerous Hospital Appointments, to include the Osteopathic Medical Center of Texas Holds Psychology Licenses in Nevada, Texas (Clinical and School) and in New Mexico as a Prescribing Psychologist.

9B  Agent Orange

Speaker: Major John "Jack" R Spey USAF (Ret)

Speaker's Biographical Information: In September 1961, LT Spey volunteered to participate in Operation Ranch Hand, and was deployed with the unit to the Republic of Vietnam in November of 1961 where he served for 3 1/2 years.

Ranch Hand aircrews had to develop the flying skills, techniques, and tactics to successfully spray liquids at 160 mph and 150 ft. above the ground in Southeast Asia. Navigation methods had to be learned and tailored to reduce errors while navigating under these conditions. All aspects of this new mission had to be learned by actually doing the spraying over flat terrain, hills and mountains, and in formation with each other, while accompanied by fighter aircraft for protection against enemy ground-fire. These new and emerging skills were passed along to replacement aircrews throughout the 9-year history of the unit.

In May of 1966, Capt. Spey was assigned to Hurlburt Field, Florida as an instructor pilot in the C-123 spray training program, training C-123 spray pilots and aircrew for service in Vietnam. During his 4 years at Hurlburt Field, Florida, he served as an instructor pilot for the Ranch Hand Training Program, and as Chief C-123 pilot for the Combat Crew Training Wing. During this assignment at Hurlburt Field, his vast experience in Vietnam was put to use in the expanded spray training program in an effort to make the program as effective and realistic as possible, within the limitations of the stateside environment.

In addition to his spraying activities in Southeast Asia, he flew numerous mosquito spray missions in the U.S., spray calibration missions over the test range of 52-A, Eglin Air Force Base, FL; dusting missions against the Imported Fire Ant, Ft. Stewart, Georgia (1963), and the spraying of Dallas Country, Dallas, Texas to help break the encephalitis outbreak during the summer of 1968.

In 1977 Major Spey retired from the U.S. Air Force, after tours in Laos and Japan, and was elected to be President of the Ranch Hand Vietnam Association. He has actively supported the Air Force Health Study, assisted the Air Force Surgeon General in Congressional testimony, and acts as spokesman for the facts and science concerning the controversy over the use of herbicides ("Agent Orange") in Indo-China.

9C  Olive Drab-Aliens, Afro-Saxons and other Racial issues in the Military – The military was and still is probably the most advanced institution in regard to race relations in the United States. Its members were olive drab rather than black, white or brown. In each of America’s wars new ethnic groups fought along side the older immigrants and received recognition as fellow citizens as a result. In the Vietnam war, Blacks earned such respect. But the anti-war crowd, nominally espousing the American Black as a victim, denigrated that service record.

Speaker/Moderator: {Moderator was not present, session cancelled]

Speaker's biographical information:

Website :

Discussion Forum: Click here to discuss the Session

Video: Operation Ranch Hand (requires Windows Media Player) (21 MB download, 27 minutes viewtime)

Articles of Interest:

Patriotism as Pathology: Anti-Veteran Activism and the VA By Dr. Phoebe S. Spinrad
The Helping Professions And the Building of the Vietnam Veteran Stereotype By Dr. Phoebe S. Spinrad
Race, Rick Whittaker

Suggested Reading:

The Air Force and Herbicides in South East Asia 1961-1971, by William A Buckingham Jr, Office of Air Force History, 1982
Herbicidal Warfare -- The Ranch Hand Project in Vietnam, by Paul F Cecil, Praeger Special Studies, 1986 ISBN: 0-275-92007-0


"The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by things that seem, than by those that are." --- Machiavelli