Low and Slow : Fly and Fight Laos
Non-fiction, Faith, Secret War, Laos 1970, combat photography, personal account, LS 20A, Raven Forward Air Controller, O-1 Bird dog, AT-28D, and U17B pilot. General Vang Pao, Hmong freedom fighters, CIA employees. Volunteers. We were birds of prey; finding and destroying targets of opportunity and defending allied outposts. We dueled with dragons every day. In a flash of time, at the speed of haste, we pressed forward in the straps to the next battle, knowing many of us would die very young. Living in the present, and sculpting the future as best we could; we did our best to free the oppressed. Allied pilots flew with conspicuous bravery that others could live in Freedom's dignity, and love in her blessings of peace. Worthy dreams are too often victims of reality, like wilderness and paradise, light and dark, and long life. Ravens shared leaded air and warrior stories. "It feels so good when gunners miss." Close Air Support, Guerrilla Warfare. Ambassador's Secret War. USIS, AIRA, ARMA, My Ravens, General Vang Pao. Hmong Freedom Fighters, Robin Scout Translators, Forward, Air Guides, Chao Pha Khao Fighter Pilots, Special Guerrilla Unit (SGU), Special Operations, SKY, CAS, Air America, Continental Air, Refugees, USAID, Project 404, Det. 1 56th SOW, DEPCHIEF, RTA, RTAF, RLA, RLAF, RLG, PL, LPLA, NVA, PAVN, ICC, This work is an expression of my experiences as a Raven Forward Air Controller during the secret war in Laos. My window of participation was from December 1969 thru June 1970. This work is about people I knew who risk their life in a fight for the freedom of others and whose lives were twisted and tempered in the crucible of Regional Civil Wars. This is a story of promise, betrayal, and hardship that progressed to a refugee gateway leading to compassion, freedom, education, and prosperity. The Hmong, Lao, Cambodian, Montagnard, and Vietnamese refugees from the Vietnam Area produced vibrant communities in the United States. The Hmong preserved and learned to adapt to the American system without losing their cultural identity as Hmong or Americans. The Hmong have cleared the path and set the example for new refugees to follow. I hope this work is helpful to many in understanding the Raven's mission during the Secret War in Laos. This work should be encouraging for war refugees new to America. The United States military veterans should find goodwill in stories of survival and courage against great odds. "Freedom is not Free."