Laos: Recon & Retaliation

As quietly as their bellowing engines will permit, U.S. Navy and Air Force jets have been flying reconnaissance missions over Laos since last May. Their purpose is twofold: to keep an eye on the Communist Pathet Lao, who have been relatively passive lately, and to see who or what is filtering down from North Viet Nam along the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and into South Viet Nam. Last week, three days apart, two U.S. jets were knocked down by Communist guns near the murkily marked "panhandle" where North Viet Nam forms a narrow corridor between Laos and...

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