The World: Rough Time for the Choppers

THE ten-year-old war in Indochina ushered in the Age of the Chopper, and the allied thrust into Laos last week vividly demonstrated why. The whirr of helicopter rotors accompanied the vast operation at every stage: airborne Cobra gunships softened up, or "prepped," landing sites with machine-gun and rocket fire; workhorse Hueys lifted entire battalions of South Vietnamese troops into enemy territory and evacuated the wounded; giant Chinooks supplied ground forces with everything from medicines to cannon. During a single day of the offensive, U.S. helicopters flew 1,100 sorties into Laos. Yet even as the wondercraft of the war showed that it...

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