Revolvers and Blood Chits – What Pilots took with them during the Secret War in Laos.
Above Photo: A Vietnam War Blood Chit.
During the Vietnam War, a blood chit was a multi-lingual notice carried by airmen addressed to civilians in countries where they might be shot down. As well as identifying the bearer as an American citizen, the notice displayed a message requesting help, and promising that the US government would reward the helper.
Blood chits have been used in many wars, but they were especially important during the Vietnam War, where US pilots were frequently on combat or surveillance missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos or Cambodia (where they weren’t supposed to be, but neither were the North Vietnamese who were using the Ho Chi Minh Trail as their supply route).
An interesting item was shown to me recently by a collector. It was a Smith & Wesson revolver (still loaded) which had been bought from a US airman at Udorn Thani airbase in Thailand during the Vietnam War, when the airman had finished his tour of duty and was returning home (see headline photo).
Because there was no room in cockpits for M-16s, often US airmen carried small revolvers in their boots, in the event they were shot down in circumstances where a blood chit just wouldn’t cut it. For example as they were being chased through the Laotian jungle by hordes of angry enemy soldiers, intent on killing them…
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.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil.