.The Dugway sheep incident, also known as the Skull Valley sheep kill, was a 1968 sheep kill that has been connected to United States Army chemical and biological warfare programs at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. Six thousand sheep were killed on ranches near the base, and the popular explanation blamed Army testing of chemical weapons for the incident, though alternative explanations have been offered. A report, commissioned by Air Force Press Officer Jesse Stay and first made public in 1998, was called the “first documented admission” from the Army that a nerve agent killed the sheep at Skull Valley.
In the days preceding the Dugway sheep incident the United States Army at Dugway Proving Ground conducted at least three separate operations involving nerve agents. All three operations occurred on March 13, 1968. One involved the test firing of a chemical artillery shell, another the burning of 160 U.S. gallons (600 litres) of nerve agent in an open air pit and in the third a jet aircraft sprayed nerve agent in a target area about 27 mi (43 km) west of Skull Valley. It is the third event that is usually connected to the Skull Valley sheep kill.
The incident log at Dugway Proving Ground indicated that the sheep incident began with a phone call on March 17, 1968, at 12:30 a.m. The director of the University of Utah’s ecological and epidemiological contact with Dugway, a Dr. Bode, phoned Keith Smart, the chief of the ecology and epidemiology branch at Dugway to report that 3,000 sheep were dead in the Skull Valley area. The initial report of the incident came to Bode from the manager of a Skull Valley livestock company. The sheep were grazing in an area about 27 mi (43 km) from the proving ground; total sheep deaths of 6,000–6,400 were reported over the next several days as a result of the incident. The Dugway Safety Office’s attempt to count the dead sheep compiled a total of 3,843.
. On March 13, 1968, an A-4 Skyhawk attack aircraft flew a test mission over the Dugway Proving Ground with chemical dispensers containing the nerve agent VX. One of the dispensers was not completely emptied during the test, and as the A-4 gained altitude after its bombing run, VX trickled out in a trail behind the aircraft, drifted into Skull Valley, north of the proving ground, and settled over a huge flock of sheep
Woolf, Jim. “Army: Nerve Agent Near Dead Utah Sheep in ’68; Feds Admit Nerve Agent Near Sheep”, (LexisNexis),The Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1998
“A History Of Chemical Warfare,” Greg Goebel