Bridge Destroyed By B-52s During The Secret War in Laos.
Above Photo: Old bridge support at Sepon (old Tchepone) showing shrapnel and aeroplane bullet damage from the war.
Sepon is well off the tourist track in Laos. The only non-locals passing through are either war-interested travellers visiting the Ho Chi Minh Trail (like my BACK novel protagonists) and other war sites in this hotly-contested area, or workers at the massive gold and copper mine near town.
Almost everyone else is steaming through to the Vietnamese border, or going the other way.
Sepon – known as Tchepone during the War – was a massively important town during the Secret War in Laos, as it housed garrisons of North Vietnamese Army regulars, and many strands of the Ho Chi Minh Trail ran through and near the town, making it a much-bombed target by US planes.
As I strolled across the river one afternoon, I noticed a solitary masonry support from an old bridge that had been destroyed during the war. This used to be an old French bridge, but it was bombed by B-52s because it ferried supplies and weapons to the North Vietnamese who then moved them down the Ho Chi Minh Trail and into South Vietnam.
All but one of the bridge supports had been obliterated, and the surviving support had been deeply pock-marked with bullet holes and shrapnel from the air strikes.
It was another sobering reminder of the extraordinary violence visited on the area during the Secret War in Laos.
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.
And for POWs left behind in Laos:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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