A Right Spectacle: An Unusual Relic from The Secret War In Laos.
Above Photo: Metal-rimmed spectacles were mixed into North Vietnamese concrete to strengthen the runway at Salavan Airport.
On a recent BACK-related trip into southern Laos, along the old Ho Chi Minh Trail, I visited Salavan (or Saravane), where I found the old Vietnam War airstrip, and took the above photo of an interesting sight – a metal frame from a pair of spectacles, mixed with stones and cement to reinforce the runway, almost certainly after the city and the airstrip had fallen to the North Vietnamese Army and their Pathet Lao (Communist) comrades in 1970.
Other than a friendly cowherd (who spoke excellent English – which was unique in Salavan) some cows, and wallowing water buffalo, I was the only person around, and I enjoyed walking along the old runway and looking at the scenery surrounding the town.
I’ve added some photos of the airstrip and surrounding countryside below.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
For POWs left behind in Laos, see also:
I recently wrote about the battle for Salavan and the resulting UXO here: http://peteralanlloyd.com/back-part-2/photo-story-uxo-from-the-battle-for-salavan-laos-when-air-america-and-the-cia-fell-out/
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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