Monday, March 12, 2018

Ravens of Long Tieng

Via Dai Ngo

During the Vietnam War the air base at Long Tieng was a hub of Air America, Air commando, and Raven forard air control operations. 

It all shows in the grainy photograph--the short landing strip, the limestone karst jutting up at one end, the mountains and ridges rimming the base, and the shacks and buildings scattered along both sides of the runway. One of those shacks is the hooch where the forward air controllers known as Ravens drank every night. One is the home and headquarters of the Laotian Hmong leader, General Vang Pao. Another is the CIA operations shack that burned in 1971 when a U.S. Air Force F-4D dropped cluster bombs on the base by mistake.

During my first tour, I was at Ubon, Thailand, flying combat missions in F-4 Phantoms. From August 1966 to February 1967, I must have flown over the base at Long Tieng a hundred times without ever seeing it. Long Tieng is in the north central highlands of Laos, a remote, ominous territory, where the tribal Hmong scrape a living from the steep slopes and jungle ravines. A tiny settlement, it became, in the 1970s, the mountain stronghold of the Hmong, their CIA bosses, and the Ravens. Nowadays, the CIA and the Ravens are long gone, but the Hmong are still there.

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  1. Hi Brock,
    When I view historic depictions of that era I now in my 7th decade am taken aback a bit.... Looking at our Country and World of today I sigh and think,"Oh for the simple nostalgia of those dayz of yester year!!!" Maybe I forget the "Macabre" of it all.... but that seems like "Child's play" compared to today????
    Got GUNZ.............*OUTLAW!!!!!!,

    (*) If I may paraphrase the "Cheshire Cat" from Lewis Carrol's "Alice in Wonderland"...."We're All 'OUTLAW'S' now, you know??"

  2. Outlaws are often the ones bending the new rules back to where they should be.
    I just read a bit about Fred Platt and his bear/anteater co-pilots. Jeebus. More grist for the research mill.
    Y'all get snow yesterday?

    1. Thanks and we had big flakes for about an hour. All gone today.