S Korea, US to probe veterans' Agent Orange claims

Posted: Updated:

The U.S. military has opened an investigation into the dumping of Agent Orange, after an exclusive CBS 5 investigation exposed a toxic secret.

 Veterans are breaking rank to tell how they were ordered to bury dangerous chemicals on a U.S. Army base.

 "My whole life, this is what made me what I am and why I am like I am, because I come home, and I couldn't` live with what I had done," said veteran Steve House.

 The Valley man is referring to what he says he helped bury on a military base more than three decades ago.

 "They had it in storage, and I got rid of it for them," he said.

 Agent Orange was a defoliant widely used during the Vietnam war.

 The initial CBS 5 investigation took our crew across the U.S. - investigating House's story. And they found three soldiers all stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea during 1978, saying the exact same thing.

 "We went and dug a big hole in the ground on the back side of the post, and then we filled it full of barrels," said veteran Richard Cramer, who now lives in Illinois.

 "On the barrels it said Chemical Type Agent Orange," said veteran Robert Travis, of West Virginia.

 "The smell; I'll never forget that smell," said House. "It was sick, real strong."

 These vets said they're living with the toxic aftermath. The CBS 5 Investigation exposed that South Koreans living around the base could also be in danger, if the chemicals have seeped into the groundwater.

 As a result, the Department of Defense has now launched its own investigation.

 "We have initiated a review of historical data to see if we can substantiate the allegations," said LTC Jeffrey Buczkowski of the 8th Army PAO based in South Korea.

 And the South Korean government is demanding answers from the U.S. military.

 "If any substances of concern are found, we will dispose of them properly," said Gen. Walter L. Sharp, Commander of United Nations Command. "This inquiry is collecting all available facts, including contacting the men who made the claims, reviewing historical data with environmental and logistical experts and examining the sites that are identified."

 This CBS 5 investigation has become front-page news across South Korea.

 "The story has pretty much gone viral," said House. "Last night my phone rang all night, different news agencies from Korea."

 But for this former soldier, it's about one thing. "I've been trying for years to get somebody to listen to me," he said.

Copyright 2011 KPHO. All rights reserved.