Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War is not politically correct or idealistic. It is not just another book about Agent Orange or the Vietnam War; it is the “silver bullet” which cuts through the complexity of the circumstances and pesticides used during the Vietnam War—highly toxic herbicides and insecticides which in some cases are still being used to this very day all over the world.
The book is much more than a memoir of one Vietnam veteran’s struggles over the decades after the war. It is a full-length analysis of the various conditions in Vietnam and the chemicals that were dispersed on not only the enemy but also on US service personnel. Pat Hogan, the author and the main subject in the biography portion of the book, chronicles his early life and enlistment into the war in the mid-’60s. He starts with the life story of a friend and fellow vet, Larry White, who died decades later from numerous complications of the pesticides he was exposed to while stationed in Vietnam.
Hogan returned from Vietnam in ’69 and started having health difficulties himself. He became a police officer and then a police academy instructor. It is this occupational skill set—his investigative and analytical ability—that truly brings a high impact to the rest of the book. As you read through the volumes of information, you will be absolutely stunned at what the US government had willingly dumped on Vietnam and its own troops. In fact, in the book’s postscript Hogan even makes a case for some of those same chemicals still being used today on you and your children, not just in the U.S. but all over the globe.
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I was stationed in a geographic areas of South Vietnam which had been sprayed directly with, at the very least, the herbicides Agent Orange and Agent White; the insecticides malathion and DDT (an acronym for dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane). Plus, there was a great likelihood that I had been exposures to quite a few other injurious toxic tactical-grade military pesticides and chemicals as well.
When I left Vietnam for the last time at the end of June 1969 I had earned the rank of Staff Sergeant E-6, and had been awarded the Army Commendation Medal by the Secretary of the Army Stanley Resor. I was also awarded the National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Five (5) Overseas Bars and was a qualified Expert with the M-14.
A few years after being discharged from the army, in August of 1975, I was appointed to the Teaneck Police Department. While working as a police officer I was lucky enough to attend Fairleigh Dickenson University’s Edward Williams College where I earned an Associate in Arts with Honors degree.
In addition to this college degree I also attended courses and programs at:
1. John Jay College of Criminal Justice for a course in Criminal Burglary Investigations.
2. NJ State Police Academy for a course in Advanced Drug Enforcement.
3. International Association of Chiefs of Police course in Command Staff Training Program
4. New England Institute of Law Enforcement and Management (Babson College) for a Command Training Program. (Three credit course)
5. In total over my career as a police officer, I have attended well over 700 hours of various other in-service police training courses at the Bergen County Police Academy and several other police training facilities around the country.
I was also certified by the State of New Jersey to be a Police Training Instructor and a Police Fire Arms Training Instructor.
At the beginning of the millennium I found it necessary to retire early from the police department with the rank of Captain of Police for various health reasons. The illnesses which caused me to retire early are mostly attributed to the pesticides I was exposed to during my service in South Vietnam.