The Vietnam War: Remarkable Photos of Unexploded Bomb Removal From the Jungles of Laos.
Above Photo: The very tip of an unexploded Vietnam War bomb, exposed by rain.
One of the themes of BACK, my Vietnam War-backpacker crossover novel, is the danger posed by unexploded ordnance dropped during the Vietnam War, which still lurks in the jungles of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, waiting for unlucky modern-day victims.
There’s an estimated eighty million pieces of ordnance dropped during the Secret War in Laos still littering that country’s jungles and rice fields alone, and many millions more in Vietnam and Cambodia.
As the population of Laos expands and the need for farming land intensifies, jungles are being cut back. This results in new battle fronts being discovered on a daily basis, as unstable and dangerous items of unexploded ordnance are exposed. UXO Lao specialists must then turn up and deal with the threat.
I was reminded of this recently, when looking at this set of photographs from UXO Lao in Sekong Province. Their teams of operatives deal with UXO like this on a daily basis.
Sekong was plastered with ordnance from US planes during the Vietnam War, as they bombed and attacked the North Vietnamese supply lines that ran through the remote jungles of the province. These supply lines are better known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the ultimate destination of the hapless backpackers in my novel.
I’ve added photos of just one of UXO Sekong’s bomb removal operations to illustrate this article, captioned with explanations. This was an unexploded aeroplane bomb dropped in the late 1960s or the early 1970s on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Sekong. What was then dense jungle is now right outside someone’s back fence.
With thanks to my friends at UXO Lao for the photos.
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:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
BACK Parts 1 and 2
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