Unseen Images of the Vietnam War: Air America Troop Pickup in Long Tieng, Laos.
The above photo (part of the Wofford Collection at uwdc.library.wisc.edu) was taken by Robert L Wofford at Long Tieng, the CIA’s secret air base in Laos during the Vietnam War.
It shows an Air America C-123 delivering supplies and picking up Laotian troops, and is reproduced by kind permission of Terry Wofford.
According to the CIA’s website, its involvement in Laos was the largest paramilitary operation ever undertaken by the CIA, and it mostly used Air America planes, which the CIA also secretly owned.
Using Long Tieng, which was the second largest city in Laos during the war, Air America crews transported tens of thousands of troops and refugees, flew emergency medevac missions and rescued downed airmen throughout Laos.
They also inserted and extracted road-watch teams, flew nighttime airdrop missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, monitored sensors along infiltration routes, conducted a photo-reconnaissance, and engaged in numerous clandestine missions using night-vision glasses and state-of-the-art electronic equipment.
JACK JOLIS, who served in the CIA at Long Tieng commented on the above photos:
“Interestingly, the C-123 was the biggest thing that could come into Long Tieng, and only did so rarely; (C-7 Caribous were much more frequent — and, sadly, the C-130 Hercs couldn’t cut it — even empty, they needed more runway. In fact, even the vaunted T-28 fighters needed every last bloody centimeter to take off, when they were loaded down with ordnance….)”
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 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
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