Laos: More Troublesome Trail

Each morning the 35 fighter-bomber pilots of the Royal Laotian Air Force file solemnly into the office of their commanding general and remove their personal horseshoes from pegs on the wooden wall. Then the pilots trot out to their American-built T-28s for an other crack at the Ho Chi Minh trail.

The horseshoes are for good kick—an old Western custom adapted to Laos—and the fliers need it, for in the past few months the Ho Chi Minh trail has undergone a grim transformation.

Elephants & Trucks. Since 1959, the 800-mile labyrinth of jungle tracks, muddy rivers and bamboo way stations within...

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