As a small group of Airman Recruits started basic training, they had no idea they were going to be part of two seminal events; i.e. the quiet re-emergence of United States Air Force Special Operators and the Secret War that had started to blossom in Laos in the mid-1950s, the war that expanded and became known to the public as the Vietnam War in the 1960s.
Less than a year after completing basic training they found themselves in Laos assigned as members of a highly classified Counter Insurgency Study Group.
They arrived in Laos with specific instructions to avoid aggressive contact with hostile forces and stay “hidden in plain sight” around other friendly forces wherever and whenever possible.
“Boy Scouts with guns”, was a mindset that came to a shocking halt when one of their numbers was killed in an ambush. The first team death listed as “training accident in the Philippines”.
Two “War Dogs” continued their training and seasoning into an effective, self-sufficient unit that could function and survive on its own in the Mekong Plain and up in the Annamite Mountains of Laos in an area that later became known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The heavy veil of secrecy they operated under became particularly oppressive when they began to realize that the intel they were gathering and the recommendations forwarded “up the hill” by their immediate superiors was being largely disregarded and the simple solutions for cutting down the traffic on the Trail were being ignored.