A Raven's Day in Laos

by Craig Morrison

American operations in Laos, while this day was certainly not the norm, this may be illustrative of what was going on inside the "black hole" of Laos.

There was, and still is I understand, a large contingent of North Vietnamese soldiers in Laos and the job we had, among others, was to assist the Laotian troops who were actively fighting these Vietnamese. On the day in question (March, 1970) I was directing airstrikes against North Vietnamese positions north of the Plain of Jars. The place was pretty heavily defended and an F-4 was stitched up petty badly by the gunners on the ground. Both pilots ejected safely, and suddenly I was working a SAR. There was a rescue helicopter on alert at a clandestine forward base, and I called for this guy to get moving, which he did in short order. At the same time I called for some fighters from a base in Thailand to suppress any fire directed toward the "Jolly Green Giant" helicopter. These were A- 1 s (single seat propeller driver aircraft always on alert for SARs)