I' m organizing a 14 day trek through the jungles of Vietnam, retracing my steps through the battlefields of Operation Oklahoma Hills. My goal is to bring awareness to the 100's of thousands of service personnel and their families who have been affected by Agent Orange. Here is a website detailing the journey: Operation Oklahoma Hills: Back To Sherwood Forest

You can ask me anything; about war, policing the streets of Los Angeles, Cancer, anything, no holds barred.

PROOF: Al Moreno (@themostamericanninja) • Instagram photos and videos

edit: spelling

Comments: 874 • Responses: 73  • Date: 

RazingAll612 karma

Thank you for stepping into the harsh light.

If it's not too much to ask, could you give fresh minds a brief idea of what Agent Orange is and how it affects people who were exposed to it?

'Cause that shit's fucked.

themostamericanninja868 karma

Agent Orange was one of a group of 6 different dioxins used as herbicides during the Vietnam war era. They are often referred to as the rainbow herbicides, AGENTS: Green, Pink, Blue, Purple, White and Orange. They are highly toxic and cause dozens of forms of cancer, hormonal disruptions, and birth defects. 5 times more US personnel were killed by these than were killed in combat operations; over 400,000 and counting. And countless as Vietnamese as well.

Edit: spelling

AnotherDrunkCanadian285 karma

Have you tried reaching out to u/garysiniseofficial ?

He helps out a ton with veterans affairs. I'm curious if he'd be able to assist / bring your story to light.

themostamericanninja228 karma

I think that would be wonderful to work with him, however the difficulty will be in getting a hold of him. Let's see if this IAmA helps. Thank you!

hamster_in_ass262 karma

Hey, my grandpa is dealing with Parkinson’s due to exposure to agent orange in Vietnam. How were you treated by the VA?

themostamericanninja565 karma

The VA made me wait 4 years for care. My cancer was treatable when I first went in. I loathe them, they waited long enough for the cancer to kill me before giving me care. This story is repeated too often.

hamster_in_ass198 karma

My grandpa was put in a similar situation with the VA - no preventative care, just wait until it progresses far enough to be debilitating. Thank you for speaking up on this, I wish more people were aware of the ramifications of the chemical weapons used in Vietnam.

themostamericanninja142 karma

Thank you for speaking up as well. Let's carry this message to the public together.

orcrist611192 karma

so are you also trying to raise awareness for the millions of vietnamese civilians affected by agent orange?

themostamericanninja203 karma

Yes. Countless Vietnamese are still being affected and they were a powerful, fearless, and worthy adversary. I have nothing but respect for them. My life has always been about service.

soulgeezer38 karma

At the end of your trip, you should go see the deformed children of Agent Orange in Vietnam, victims of bio warfare that no one knows about, it will change your perspective. There are many centers dedicated to raising them, like this one in Saigon (warning: graphic images) http://msavlc.org/hoa-binh-peace-village-vietnam/

themostamericanninja100 karma

So you're saying I shouldn't try to bring attention to this? Because my current feelings, which I've stated, are although 400,000+ US personnel were killed or maimed, countless Vietnamese are still suffering as well. I also said anyone who participated in the My Lay massacre should be in jail for life. Should I have been more cold?

Environmental-Unit96168 karma

Navy vet here. I’m curious on how you are viewed in Vietnam. Like, would you feel comfortable telling a local why you’re there? I don’t know much about Vietnamese-American relations in the present.

themostamericanninja369 karma

I've been back since. In 2008 and I'm going back soon. I was there to see where I previously deployed and made my reasons clear. I was treated with an insane level of respect I was not prepared for. I was shocked. The Vietnamese are a strong, proud, and noble people.

buckeyebrat84124 karma

Do you think the children of vets affected by Agent Orange have directly related health problems that the gov is not acknowledging?

themostamericanninja115 karma

The government is finally acknowledging these effects. It is predicated on the illness the parent had, and if they were exposed, or the government agrees they were exposed. It took too long however, and more should be done.

fffyhhiurfgghh107 karma

My dad was a cop in Chicago during the 80’s and 90’s. He never talks about it. Any time I ask it always hear about one funny story involving the name of the person he arrested. Obviously he’s deflecting. I know The area he patrolled was very dangerous. Do you have difficulties explaining what you saw to others? What have you seen?

themostamericanninja9 karma

I’ve always been fearless in speaking the truth. I want people to know what goes on. Check out my book “La’s Last Street Cop” where I go into detail about some of the worst I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot.

MarcDVL69 karma

Are you in touch with other vets that have been affected by Agent Orange? Are your experiences with the effects somewhat similar? How is your medical treatment going? Is there anything that can be done?

Godspeed on your journey.

themostamericanninja85 karma

No, not currently in touch with other vets that have been affected by Agent Orange at this time. However, I do belong to several different Marine corps groups on social media. There are over 19 different illnesses of which all unfortunately kill at the end of the day, including passing on those illnesses to their offspring. I'm fortunate enough to be being treated at Keck USC Medicine in Los Angeles and receiving the best treatment for my stage 4 cancer.

NoeTellusom52 karma

You might try the American Legion's Order of the Silver Rose, it's dedicated to veterans (and their descendants) who have developed medical problems as the result of exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam.

My FIL served in Vietnam, both he and my husband (retired Navy NCO) were/are members.


themostamericanninja40 karma

Thanks so much for the info I’ll give it a go!

KharnalBloodlust18 karma

My father passed three years ago from Agent Orange presumptive ALS. He was Air Force stationed at Cam Ranh Bay. He did a lot of work helping disabled vets get the disability coverage they earned from the VA. I'm sure he'd want me to tell you "Welcome Home." Please take care of yourself and continue to live your best life despite the bullshit cancer from Agent Orange.

themostamericanninja21 karma

Thank you very much, and I hope you are able to cherish the memories of your father.

allpraisebirdjesus69 karma

Sorry that you have cancer, that shit sucks. And I'm guessing you didn't really want to go to Vietnam, which is fair. It's bullshit that we used that stuff on people and bullshit that we exposed forcibly drafted soldiers to it.

You said AMA, so I'm gonna ask: When you were a cop, did you beat/kill any innocent people, or did you ever stand by and watch another cop beat/kill an innocent person? If so, why?

themostamericanninja13 karma

In one thirteen-day period, I arrested 13 armed suspects with various handguns and accomplished the arrest without using lethal force. I am extremely proud of that. At one point my lieutenant called me into the office and said, "I have never had a policeman work for me that would rather kick someone's ass, than shoot him." I have no doubt that had the suspects been able to shoot me, they would have done it 100% and slept like a baby that night.

see_you_in_toledo62 karma

Serious question please. With continued Jeustice Department investigations and increased public knowledge of gangs and gang-like activities within LASD and LAPD, what did you personally witness during your time in the department? Were you recruited? If you avoided direct or indirect participation, how so? What do you think of police gangs like the Vikings or Banditos?

themostamericanninja47 karma

Serious answer. These issues formed long after my time. In previous comments I've said this is due to poor vetting of police recruits. I see these as low caliber people, held to too low of a standard. These police departments are large, very large. With poor recruiting and vetting this is inevitable.

LianeP61 karma

I was a kid growing up in the late 60s, early 70s, I vividly remember the evening news stories. I get that you were drafted and sent over there. But how the ever living f*ck do you reconcile murdering innocent civilians with protecting 'Merica? We were dragged into a third world fight that we had no business in. There is no way Vietnam ever posed a threat to the US or our "values."

themostamericanninja46 karma

Can you please go back in time and explain that to everyone with your 2020 hindsight? It was the height of the Cold War and the 'Domino Theory' seemed plausible. Nearly every member of the house and senate voted for this. I was a marine. Marines weren't drafted, they enlisted - unlike the other services.

bobtpro40 karma

How are you doing?

themostamericanninja140 karma

I couldn't be happier! At 77, I'm still working out 4 days a week, power walking a hundred miles a month, walk climbing and hanging at the gym 4-7 days a week. My doctor just recently mentioned that I am the healthiest stage 4 cancer patient he has ever had in his 21-year career.

organicdelivery37 karma

Talk about your big wall routes, can I assume being from LA they were in Yosemite? What era were you there for?

themostamericanninja69 karma

It was in Yosemite and we climbed the East buttress of el cap. Climbed another wall in Zion, called moon dancer, but I do most of my climbing in Tahquitz and suicide in Idyllwild. I started climbing 20 years ago, when I was 53.

alexjnorwood23 karma

Do you remember what your thoughts were on the Vietnam war while you were serving? Thank you for doing this!

themostamericanninja32 karma

My thoughts were only on my survival and the survival of my fellow Marines. I was young and wanted to kick as much ass as possible and come home in one piece.

Important_Simple13716 karma

Knowing what you know now, would you do anything different?

themostamericanninja23 karma

I think that at the end of the day, all of us have made mistakes that we regret. However, you will address them with sincerity and truthfulness and generally it comes out good in the end.

BlasterFinger0089 karma


themostamericanninja31 karma

I was with India Company, third battalion, 1rst Marines in ICorp. 1968-69. I took part in Operation Oklahoma Hills 18 mi SW of Da Nang. The operation lasted 61 days.


rhamled5 karma

What was your MOS, rank and billet?

themostamericanninja26 karma

MOS: 0311 Rank: Lance Corporal, fire team leader and radio man.

Zonerdrone8 karma

What was the most unethical thing you saw someone do on the American side and on the north Vietnamese side?

themostamericanninja25 karma

On the American side, I believe the My Lay massacre was the worst. I personally believe anyone who participated should get life in prison. In Hui City the North Vietnamese executed 3000 innocent villagers, and threatened many more with the same.

ParentalMom8 karma

Hi Al do you love beer? My brother In law was in Vietnam and loved the beer

themostamericanninja31 karma

Yes. Marine corps rifle companies only served in combat bases away from any civilization. When we were in base camp, we were served Schlitz and Black Label - I didn't like either, but I drank them both. Having a much better beer now, Cheers!

avenger767 karma

As a high school history teacher, is there anything you would like to me to share with my students, whether it is about Vietnam or LA in the 90s? Thank you, sir, for your service to the United States :)

themostamericanninja36 karma

Let them know it was simply a different time. We were from the generation that fought a World War and country came first. We didn’t have the hindsight of the future. Tell them about the “Hill Fights”, especially Operation Buffalo, and let them know what their military, their Marines went through. It was hell for us too. A friend of mine received 3 Purple Hearts there. Bravo company 1st Battalion 9th Marines took more causalities that first day then any other Marine division in the war. As for the LAPD in the early 80’s read my book “LA’s Last Street Cop”. Thank you for your service and your comment.

DogsInsteadOfPeople6 karma

Who did you vote for in the 2016 presidential election? What about the 2020 presidential election?

themostamericanninja8 karma

Chesty Puller for both. Recipient of 5 Navy Crosses.

DogsInsteadOfPeople25 karma

He is dead. You used your vote on a dead guy?

themostamericanninja24 karma

Would you have preferred I had wasted it on one of the living candidates?

DogsInsteadOfPeople16 karma

I didn't use the word "wasted". I said "used".

themostamericanninja31 karma

Correct, I used the word wasted.

schism256 karma

With gang violence on the rise in SoCal, are we looking at a repeat of the 90/00s again??

themostamericanninja13 karma

IMHO much worse.

[deleted]2 karma


themostamericanninja11 karma

I served long before the CRASH unit, Gates, or any of this bullshit. I was there when street gangs were still fighting for territory. I attribute this B.S. to stem from the department being forced to lower their standards consequently, allowing that sort onto the job.

dawgcheese2 karma

Thank you for taking the time to share. How did you react to: the Tet Offensive, fall of Saigon, and our recent withdrawal from Afghanistan?

themostamericanninja4 karma

We knew they were coming with Tet. I just wanted to kick as many of their asses as possible and worked hard to do so. Afghanistan was a tragedy of biblical proportions.

themostamericanninja2 karma

Tet: We knew it was coming. I just wanted to kick their asses and worked hard to do so. I believe Afghanistan was a tragedy of biblical proportions. And thank you for your comment!

darkguy20081 karma

Thank you for your service. As a foreigner, and avid gamer, I'm always interested in all the war stuff in games/movies, but I've noticed the vietnam was is/was quite a big deal. Considering you were right there, and if you've played any games or watched any movies, which would you think represent those experiences in the most realistic way?

themostamericanninja4 karma

I think the movie "Platoon" was the closest to what it was like to be a rifleman during the war. Oliver Stone, the creator, served two tours. Another good one is Full Metal Jacket. Other than that I've no interest in any of them.

Gelseykirk1 karma

Hello Mr Moreno! Thank you for your service 🇺🇸 Besides the physical effects you are now dealing with how were you able to cope mentally & emotionally after coming home? Do or did you suffer from any PTSD etc? I will keep you in my prayers in your battle against cancer 🙏🏼

themostamericanninja8 karma

I experienced incredible highs and lows. I saw some of the most amazing and selfless people I’ve ever met die. But I experienced some of the most incredible comraderie you could imagine, and I’ve experienced coming out on top of a battle. It’s complicated, and if you don’t talk about it with someone it will fuck you up.

Ct-5736-Bladez1 karma

When you were exposed to agent orange did you know you were exposed?

Also thank you for everything you have done for this country both in the military and law enforcement

themostamericanninja20 karma

Nobody had a clue. I was a Marine Corps Rifleman, they didn't tell us shit.

Retiredandold1 karma

Can I ask where you are seeking treatment and if it's through the VA? If so, what is your impression of the VA and what could essentially be described as a model for Universal Healthcare?

themostamericanninja15 karma

The VA isn't worth shit. They are the cause of my cancer going from treatable to stage 4 because they failed to provide care. They allowed four years after I sought care to let it progress. I am receiving care at USC KEK medicine.

runner212ny0 karma

Thank you for your service, prayers for you on your battle with cancer. 🙏🏼. Also thank you for having the courage to put yourself out there with this AMA.

There are a few ignorant trolls here, but there are much more of us that admire your courage throughout your life.

Regarding Vietnam:
1) How was daily life during your tour of duty?
2) How frequently were you fighting (daily, once a week, once a month, etc?).
3) how frequently in Vietnam were you and others exposed to toxic herbicides like Agent Orange?

themostamericanninja10 karma

It was daily patrols, back to base for chow, then nighttime ambushes. Only broken up by month long combat operations. In my time there the warfare was constant. We couldn't see the chemical, but when we were in areas were the jungle was denuded, we new we were in contact with something. We just didn't know how bad it was.

peepeepelopilo-2 karma


themostamericanninja3 karma


yourfriendlyEC-2 karma

Thank you for your service, I'm in the process of my police application in Australia and passed my exams.

What's the best advice you can give to a police applicant?

themostamericanninja10 karma

The first thing to do is be honest when you do your interview, they’ll see right through you. Find a way to take a “middle road” when answering political questions. Be prepared to speak about what you did to prepare yourself to be an officer. Also, I spent 5 months in Australia. I love the Aussies.

chalkynz-6 karma

Will Vietnam ever try to invade the USA?

themostamericanninja21 karma

100% certain. It is my belief they are in possession of alien technology, and the US Marines are the only ones standing between them and the galaxy.

thefiddler1975-13 karma

Sorry about the crap you're getting here from the trolls and pro nouns here. They don't understand it was a different time and you wanted to serve your country when it asked and that's what you did. My question, did you face many dangerous oh shit I'm gonna die situations during your time busting Gang bangers?

themostamericanninja8 karma

Every time I arrested a gang member with a gun (I arrested over 100 in four years without using lethal force) I was worried it might go down. At that time LA City was the recognized gang capital of the United States. 500 gangs and over 100,000 members.