The Original Blog of the NISSAN Whistleblower 

When Doves Cry

"Oliver north told me to always be loyal to our country and to who you worked for .  The problem was I did not know who I worked for."

Sharyn Bovat 80's era undercover airhead


???Why did he tell me that, OK now I get it!!!!  Like OMG  WOW!!!!


“My mind was in a state of dormancy until
turned it on without a key”  
Sharyn Bovat

“We don’t get the French involved unless we want to make things complicated”
.Mr. Daly   


From the research of Bill Kelly


….The too-few of Ed Daley’s World Airways planes were sent to evacuate Saigon and Da Nang, which certainly indicted how the failure of the supplemental airline industry was a direct threat to our national security. The two World Airways planes that landed in Da Nang to evacuate civilians were swamped by thousands of refugees, some of whom hung on to the wheels of the jets as they took off. South Vietnamese soldiers beat off women and children to make the flight…..


….The non-skeds’ case against the CIA became a newsworthy issue in the 1980s because of the SAT involvement in the Iran-Contra affair. In fact the whole secret operation came unwound when the Sandinistas shot down a SAT Contra supply plane in Nicaragua. Baggage handler Eugene Hasenfus survived the crash and was captured. In his pocket was the name and phone number of Feliz Rodrigez, the Cuban Bay of Pigs Brigade veteran and personal friend of George W. H. Bush…..


My grandfather worked in intelligence….  My mom a mayor activist lobbyist, she made me a warrior.  My dad was a pilot for World Airways who just wanted to work and enjoy his life & his boss got him VIP access to ALL the Playboy clubs.  My dad was VERY smart he did not even have a high school diploma.  His family immigrated to American to Springfield Massachusetts.    When my dad was selected to fly the “BIG BIRD” the 747 it was a BIG DEAL.  My mom was his biggest supporter.

Ed Daly my dad’s boss was an “intense” man.   One time while my Dad was flying a 747 that was flying empty (deadheading) to NYC Mr. Daly let me sit and watch while he discussed politics with some Ford’s people.   Mr. Daly loved politics and truly cared about the Greater Good.   Earlier in my childhood he let me sit on his lap and he told me of his love of America.  Another memory enjoying running around an empty jet with a couple of other children of pilots, were played kick the can in flight.    Some of the girls got to pretend to be stewardesses.   My mom would not let me.   She told Mr. Daly I was too smart to serve drinks.  That same flight  Mr. Daly let me be a real pilot and I took total control of a Big jet before I was 10 years old (with LOTS of supervision :) :)

My mom without my dad took me on trips ALL over the world.   When I was 6 or 7 she took to me Thailand when I was a little girl.  In fact she took me a LOT of places.   She usually had to “run an errand or two or catch up with an old friend”   A long time ago I ranted on this blog about my “unique upbringing”.

Here’s a snippet from “travels with mom”.

we were headed to NYC just to eat dinner at Mama Leone's but then the pilot made an announcement that we had to land ...  At the Azores, they had to search the plane and question "us".  We were detained and I was taken aside and asked by a military official wanting to know what the purpose of my visit was.   "tell them vacation" is what I was told to say and I told him that.  He looked at me and I burst out "I REALLY wanted to go to Disneyland". …..   

For the record…. When I started this blog/website I vowed to tell the truth as a see it.  My goal is to change the corporate culture at NISSAN.  One that I knew was controlled by “extra forces”.      I’ve done that.  I also vowed to be TOTALLY transparent.  I’ve done that.  

WORLD  this blog has been up since June 4th 2009 and NISSAN has NOT told me to take it down.   OK Rob did BUT he’s on the “bad team” that wasted money and discriminated. AGAIN!!!  I will take it down when Carlos Tavares tells me to take it down.  Until then I’m fighting for human decency the way I was trained.   I learned from the BEST and Brightest.   Thank you AMERICA!!!


Back to my childhood:

I started taking anti anxiety medication as a teenager due to panic attacks. I have them to this day because as a child on occasion I was locked in dark rooms for hours, once I was given water in a bowl.  Also, as a child I endured a couple of mock executions. CREEPY!!!    It’s true & ALL is documented by former doctors.  I even put on this blog for a while that I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, now YOU know why).  I did NOT know why this was happening to me until WAY after it happened.   By having those experiences I was immune to the stress that "traveling" could cause. The goal is to make a person tough and focus on the goal.

AFTER those horrible childhood experiences that happened to me I got “treats” I loved the candy. 
After “this” internal battle of control my treat is the Turks and Caicos.   I DESERVE IT!!!

YES!!!  I was raised to be a warrior for "the greater good" and YES I will admit  I’m not “normal” still I’m a human being.  I'm mad at Tennessee for they have not treated me as such after I exposed a corrupt Good Ole Boy network that discriminated and wasted taxpayer money.  WORSE I have a child who has suffered.  A little girl that I’d like to have a “normal” life.  Let’s face  it her mom is a “bit” intense.  FYI - I can laugh at myself.   It's better than crying.  NISSAN ??? Can YOU end this.

 I’m doing this page today to show my viewers HOW Sharyn Bovat became so BOLD.   It’s in my DNA.

Admitting what I’m writing today is the most painful moment of this Internal Battle of Control.  For as YOU can see now I’ve been having one with myself, NEVER did I want to disclose this.  For years I’ve hid my past.  The fact is when you hide the negative you cannot move forward.  I want to more forward.  That said Nissan you need to no longer "hide the negative"  ....  "thought"  Get Rid of Ghosn.  

By doing this page today I’m now a stronger person for I control my own “puppet strings” at least until I'm put on a team.  Nissan from the beginning I've said I want to work and enjoy my life.  I want my child to NOT have a mom who’s calendar consists of court dates.   I will “hope” that Nissan contacts me if NOT I’m Shifting directions.  I’m a “reasonable person” but it’s time to END THIS!!!  Waiting till the end of March is now unacceptable.  Living in Franklin Tennessee as the Nissan whistle blower is hell on earth &  I want out.

Back to my younger days:

Yes!!!  I had a “twisted” childhood.  twisted means %#&@!* up. ALL that happened to me because I had a high IQ.   At 16 I started college and rebeled.  I did not attend many classes because I was busy on the road with a drummer in a heavy metal band. My mom cut me off financially and at 18 I had to support myself 100%.  About a year later I did research….  LOW LEVEL

YES!!!  I know I cannot talk about much mainly  since I don’t know what I know.  I just gathered information that was pieces to puzzles. Other’s put the puzzle together. 

THAT’s ALL.   Yes!!! This skirt was in a way “raised by hawks”.  Some very talented people taught me great research skills and how to make decisions. They knew I had a high IQ and could see the Big Picture. From traveling I got the perspective of those living in different cultures.  I learned survival skills and I learned how to find out the truth. Using different techniques a few of them are now called dirty tricks, that is what happened to the Renault Three. .  For the record I NEVER willingly participated in political dirty tricks.   There are a few that I did NOT knowing until as they would say "the mission was accomplished."    GET IT!!!   

The fact is I scare some people in politics and I want them to know that when the going gets tough I Sharyn Bovat learned how to get TOUGHER.  That said:  Gerald Ford told me in 1992 to ALWAYS know whose controlling the ball and currently I know who holds the ball at the RNC. 

To that element “I get it”.  In 1991 I became a democrat and in 1992 I was recruited BACK to the Republican Party.  I was told I had to come back.  That said I GET IT!!! 

NOW my viewers know WHY I became an official  Republican again.  It's the way to my goal and that's to work and enjoy my life.  “If” Nissan does not hire me I want to do research for the Republican Party and help them with issues that will attract the center-right voters.  i want to bring diversity to the RNC.   I’m good at what I do and I will be a team player.  I really do respect Jeb Bush.   I have my reasons why.

When I started this “website” I said I could write a book well I NOW have three books.  The first is about my childhood we’ll call it When Doves Cry. The second is about the Reagan Bush era’s called Operation Airhead & the third The CUBE Conspiracy This is about how Mr. Tavares became CEO of one of the largest car companies….and using his amazing LEFT brain untwisted an Alliance that led the consolidation of ONE corporate culture.  

I think I’ll start with Operation Airhead.  For I want people to understand the NEED for the EV.  Obviously whoever I work for (the republicans or Nissan) will get to proof the book.  I GET IT!!! 

I also get that my life while I work will be totally monitored.   I understand and accept that.  ALL I WANT IS OUT OF TENNESSEE.  The land of the mindless minions is “getting on my nerves”. 

OK…..back to my point:

Years ago I was told that throwing people out of planes was “humane”  and efficient way to solve problems.  The communist reactionaries were dead after a few thousand feet & didn’t feel a thing.   Texas  ???  Just think of how much you'd save the taxpayer if you enacted "death row flights"..... just a "thought"
It's twisted American Foreign Policy.   I love my country..... that said: God Bless America!!!

On that happy note ???  Maybe Greg Kelly should have asked me how tough I was BEFORE giving the orders to Chapman and Stout to “deal with me” in a inhumane way.   

???   Maybe next time a “skirt speaks” at NISSAN because of my BOLDNESS   the suits might listen.

For that I say THANK YOU Ed Daly.  Because of YOU I adopted a beautiful little girl from China.  When I got mad that Respect for ALL People was not happening in Williamson County Tennessee I was able to fight back and “make things happen’.  Strange,  my mom and you used some of the same words.  Huh…

Must be the “Love of America”.     That’s it!!!   Mom this page is also “payback” for some of the crap you put me through… FYI-  I love you!!!!   YOU did what you thought was needed for “the greater good”.  I GET IT!!!!   Also, if I succeed at making change in the corporate culture at Nissan and they start treating women with RESPECT then YOU get all the credit.  Thank You!!!

NISSAN & Renault:

My name is Sharyn Bovat and ALL I want to do is CSR/Diversity and give people ALL over the world working at NISSAN the Freedom to be and the Freedom to Succeed.   I want to be a team player.  

FYI-  My grandfather did intelligence work and guess what he drove in the 80’s a Toyota.  He said after World War II the Japanese focused on technology and for that wise decision for generations they will make the BEST cars.  During my “college days” I dated a real rocket scientist, he worked at Lawrence Livermore lab on Reagan’s Star Wars project.  He drove a Honda.  He said it was the most reliable car.  As a college student I wanted my own identity and considered a bit of rebel instead I opted for a NISSAN.   

Funny memory at a late night meeting these men talked about me like I was not in the room.

 “she’s plain and just fits in….. she can’t focus long enough to put the pieces together”

???  Well the “pieces of my life” have come together thanks to Vyvanse the official ADD medication of The Girl in the Black Honda fight for human decency.   Thank You!!!  NISSAN, also I’m a bit dyslexic.  Those “challenges” have helped turn me into the compassionate person you see today :) :)

My goal is to work and enjoy my life….. If YOU  have any question call me 615-415-6675.

I will live in NYC~Detroit~DC and will “travel”.

there's really not much more I can put on this blog.   I do have
and being an "optimist" I purchased

Have A Great Weekend!!!

Peace and Respect

Sharyn Bovat

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008


CIAIR – Dr. Ralph Cox and USOA vs. CIAIR – Weak Link in the Covert Action Chain

When Dr. Ralph Cox left the military after serving as a Navy flyer during World War II he didn’t return to his Pittsburgh dental practice but instead bought some government surplus airplanes and began the United States Overseas Airlines, based in Rio Grand, near Wildwood, New Jersey.

In 1947 there were hundreds of similar, small, independent airlines like Cox’s USOA, mainly servicing remote areas that were considered unprofitable routes for the large scheduled airlines.

By 1962 USOA was one of the largest, most reliable, safe and financially stable supplemental air carrier in the country, operating six DC6s and 12 DC4s, most of which were clear of any debt.

A few years later the planes were grounded and the company bankrupt, mainly because their long-held and properly serviced Military Air Transport (MAT) government contracts were suddenly and mysteriously diverted to a few, newer, smaller and untested airlines, including Southern Air Transport (SAT).

Although Cox suspected political schennigans were somehow involved at the time, it is now well known that SAT was a wholly owned subsidiary of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the other airlines who received the diverted contracts had secret intelligence connections.

"The CIA put us out of business," said Cox, who has been running a camp ground at the Jersey Shore, not far from the Cape May County International Airport where the USOA once operated.

When the CIA’s connections to Southern Air Transport were first revealed in 1975 by Victor Marchetti and John Marks in their book The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, both Cox and Richard Newman, of California Air Charter both separately sued the CIA and the Civil Newman failed to get monetary restitution and Cox’s case was thrown out of court on a technicality, both men wanted to get back into the air and fly again.

At his home Cox sifts through reams of files he claims supports his case while he explains how, even before the CIA buried them, the CAB tried to suppress the small independent airlines to the benefit of the major carriers. This was done not only to the detriment of the industry, but also hurt the pockets of the general public and even endangered the nation’s security, as well as eliminating their jobs and livelihoods.

"We were a good, solid airline, and not a fly-by-night operation," Cox asserts. "We owned all our own equipment and planes and had good, dependable employees." Newspapers and magazine clips of the period show that USOA developed one of the first flight simulators to train pilots, successfully serviced remote points that were unprofitable to the major carriers – like Alaska and Okinawa, pioneered group charters and was the frits airline to employ native stewardesses, breaking a once stringent segregation barrier.

USOA, along with other small, independent carriers, were branded "Non-Scheduled Airlines" by the Civil Aviation Board (CAB) and nicknamed "non-skeds." They were the little guys in the same business as TWA, United, Eastern and Delta. They’re the ones who provided emergency airlift relief and support to Berlin, Israel, the Congo, Korea and the Defense Early Warning (DEW) outposts in the artic. The industry’s collapse made the evacuation of South Vietnam a major fiasco.

Although the CAB has been disbanded and the industry "deregulated," the non-skeds are still out of action. They not only lost their business, but their wings, and they want to fly again.

The non-skeds’ case against the CIA became a newsworthy issue in the 1980s because of the SAT involvement in the Iran-Contra affair. In fact the whole secret operation came unwound when the Sandinistas shot down a SAT Contra supply plane in Nicaragua. Baggage handler Eugene Hasenfus survived the crash and was captured. In his pocket was the name and phone number of Feliz Rodrigez, the Cuban Bay of Pigs Brigade veteran and personal friend of George W. H. Bush.

This was not the first time a CIA operation was blown by an airman who survived being shot down over enemy territory. In 1958 Allen Pope was shot down and captured while working on Gen. Ed Lansdale’s "Indonesian Operation."

Pope was a Civil Air Transport (CAT) pilot who, once he was released from the Indonesia prison in 1962, went to work for SAT. Alex E. Carson, the attorney for SAT at the time, was also the lawyer for Double-Check Corporation and CARAMAR – the Caribbean Marine Aero Corporation, the CIA front companies that hired the Alabama Air National Guard pilots to fly during the Bay of Pigs, some of whom were killed during the invasion. Secret CIA operations in Indonesia, Cuba and Nicaragua were all blown by the weak link in the covert action chain – the air link.

One of the most significant players in the Iran-Contra deal was Al Schwimmer of the Israel Aircraft Industry, who first proposed the United States swap arms for American hostages in Iran in the first place.

Adolph "Al" Schwimmer, an American born Israeli citizen and close advisor to former Israel President and foreign minister Simon Perez, helped instigate the Iran-Contra affair by suggesting the American hostages in Iran could possibly be exchanged for military hardware. Israel then refused to permit Schwimmer to testify before Congress on the special prosecutor investigating the Iran-Contra scandal.

According to Cox, Schwimmer used to operate out of the Burbank, California airport. "He leased one of my planes to assist the early government of Israel," said Cox, "but eventually they ended up stealing the plane." Since they used the USOA plane to ferry diplomats, arms and other cargo to the fledging country of Israel, U.S. Air Force General Curtis LeMay threatened to shoot it down for violating U.S. neutrality laws.

"When the Israelis learned about LeMay’s threat," relates Cox, "pointing to a Life magazine article and photo, "they appropriated the plane, painted El Air markings over the USOA insignia and used it to begin their national airline." Cox said he was later paid the insured value of the plane, but not for the time it was used by Schwimmer.

Stewart Steven, in his book The Spymasters of Israel, reports that, "….Al Schwimmer, the remarkable American Jew who, in 1947, became one of the founding fathers of the Israel Air Force by purchasing old aircraft in the United States and cannibalizing them to produce serviceable planes for Israel. Since then, Schwimmer had risen to become president and chief executive of Israel Aircraft Industries, which he started from nothing and which now employs 15,000 people."

Steven also details Schwimmer’s role in the 1968 covert operation that led to Israel obtaining the blueprints for the French Mirage jet fighter aircraft, and refers to him as one of the world’s most knowledgeable arms dealers.

According to the President’s Tower Commission Report on the Iran-Contra affair, Schwimmer was initially responsible for suggesting the arms for hostages deal with the Iranians, and for leasing the cargo aircraft that was used to ferry U.S. missiles to Iran.

A private, commercial air cargo plane had to be leased because, as one insider put it, "jaws would drop if a plane with Israel or U.S. markings landed in Iran."

But when it came time to transfer the arms, Schwimmer’s lease for the planes had expired, and retired General Secord was called to acquire new planes, and he resorted to the old CIA standby – Southern Air Transport – SAT.

SAT was founded in Miami, Florida in 1949 by F.C. "Doc" Moor and Stanley G. Williams. On October 1, 1960 the CIA paid $500,000 fo the little airline that had only $100,000 in assets, and according to Christopher Robbin’s book Air America, "….immediately began to fly international MATs contracts to undisclosed destinations." While Air America ran the CIA’s Far Eastern routes, Southern Air Transport took care of the Latin American routes. The CIA also owned Air Asia, Intermountain Aviation and several other air charter companies.

The whole Iran-Contra connection began to come unraveled when the SAT plane was shot down by Sandinistas in Nicaragua while delivering arms to the Contras, and Eugene Hasenfus survived. Although the CIA maintained that it no longer owned SAT, agency attorneys and corporate managers with intelligence connections maintained control over the airline. "I don’t care what they say," said Cox, "I believe SAT is still controlled by the CIA."

"At first we had to fight the CAB," Cox relates, "but they were a political entity, and we could deal with them, but how do you fight the CIA? We had to fight the federal government every step of the way."

The CIA has acknowledged that it owned SAT from 1962 until 1973.

The CAB, by over-regulation, had forced the Non-Skeds to rely on Military Air Transport (MAT) contracts to survive, contracts that were safely and successfully fulfilled for many years.

But suddenly millions of dollars in MAT contracts were cut off and given to the small, relatively unknown Southern Air Transport.

"Although we had a spotless record, without one passenger ever getting so much as a scratch, they grounded our planes," explained Cox, "and the military was banned from using the types of planes we had. So all of a sudden, we had ten planes rotting on the runways."

The independent airlines that ferried U.S. troops and relief supplies around the country and the world for years, to Israel in 1948, Hungry in 1955, Belgian Congo in 1960 and Berlin in 1962 were suddenly grounded.

On September 24, 1964, $250 million in MAT contracts were diverted from some 30 independent airlines, including USOA, and given to SAT and five other CIA linked carriers. USOA filed for bankruptcy.

"We didn’t know what happened until ten years later," said Cox bitterly. As a conservative, Republican, anti-Communist veteran, Dr. Ralph Cox didn’t suspect secret government collusion at first, and really didn’t learn the specifics until 1974, when Marchetti and Marks wrote about the CIA links to the airline industry in their book.

"There was dirty works at the crossroads all the way through," said Cox, "but we didn’t know it. We naively thought that we were dealing with the federal government, like the Post Office, a neutral, unbiased entity. Well, we’ll never believe that again."

The CIA didn’t even underbid the other airlines. "In some cases, they even charged more," Cox said.

According to a congressional aide who looked into the matter for then Congressman William Hughes, "This whole story is kind of intriguing. It’s the kind of thing you expect to find in a cloak and dagger mystery novel. But actually it had quite an impact on Cape May County’s economy. If they had been able to stay in business and grow, they would be quite significant players in the airline industry today."

By the mid-1950s the approximately 500 supplemental airlines had been widdled down to 150 Non-Skeds, and in 1962, the 30 airlines that had shared the $250 million in MATS contracts were suddenly shut out and the contracts given to six small, relatively new air carriers. Two of them, Air American and Southern Air Transport, were wholly owned subsidiaries of the CIA.

Although he didn’t know the CIA was involved, Cox did notice that Southern Air Transport and the five other airlines that received the MAT contracts were all represented by Coates Lear or connected to Lear’s National Air Carriers Association (NACA).

Since Cox’s USOA had serviced a U.S. Navy contract that was picked up by the Air Force, Cox knew that Lear worked out of the D.C. law office of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger.

Mr. Eugene Zuckert, a senior partner in the firm, was the Secretary of the Air Force, and Coates Lear was his law partner. Both Lear and Zuckert served as presidents of the NACA. Gerald Scoutt later replaced Ed Daley as Chairman of the Board of World Airways.

Lear was attorney of record for World Airways, Capitol Airlines, ARCO and a major stockholder of Overseas National Airlines, all companies that received the MATS contracts. (The other airline that received MATS contracts was Los Angeles Air Services, which became Trans-International, which was under Ted Burwell, another CIA connected officer).

Because of its destructive, below cost military contracts, ONA reported a minus net worth of nearly $4 million in 1960, and used a number of DC7s that American Airlines had made available to General Leasing Corporation, a subsidiary of the Convair Division of General Dynamics.

Continental Airlines hired Pierre Salinger as a corporate officer. Salinger possibly knew of the CIA connections to the airlines because of his position as President Kennedy’s assistant.

Continental also obtained government contracts, including lucrative troop transport contracts delivering soldiers to Vietnam. Continental opened a Nevada based subsidiary, Continental Air Services, and made Robert Rousselot president. Rousselot, an ex-Marine pilot, was an old CIA China hand who had worked for CAT for 17 years.

Recognizing Lear’s influence in the awarding of the MATS contracts, Cox went to Lear and asked him to help arrange for the USOA to continue receiving the MATS contracts in order to stay in business. Lear told Cox, "the boys won’t let you in," as if it was some elite private club for members only. Cox called the CIA connected airlines "MATS Mistresses."

In 1962 Cox testified before a Congressional committee that the new policies, "…practically eliminated independent supplemental air carriers, even though Congress has always held them to be a vital part of our economy and our national security."

The too-few of Ed Daley’s World Airways planes were sent to evacuate Saigon and Da Nang, which certainly indicted how the failure of the supplemental airline industry was a direct threat to our national security. The two World Airways planes that landed in Da Nang to evacuate civilians were swamped by thousands of refugees, some of whom hung on to the wheels of the jets as they took off. South Vietnamese soldiers beat off women and children to make the flight.

Eventually Congress decided to investigate these matters, but when Robert Roussoulet was scheduled to testify before a Congressional committee in 1976, he mysteriously failed to appear, and never did testify.

One CIA director eventually asked the simple question, "How many planes does the CIA own?" But the answer came back that they really didn’t know. In fact, one of the CIA airlines had more employees (30,000) than the CIA itself.

On February 5, 1963 the CIA airlines were formally organized under the umbrella of EXCOMAIR – the Executive Committee for Air Proprietary Operations. EXCOMAIR was, "to provide general policy guidance for the management of air propriety projects and review recommendations for approval of air proprietary project actions." Lawrence Houston was appointed chairman of the committee.

In the fall of 1963 Coats Lear was killed by a shotgun blast to the head. Although some suggested it was suicide, others believe he was murdered.

Lear was a law partner in Eugene Zucker’s firm, and Zuckert, as Secretary of the Air Force, was involved in the awarding of contracts.

Ed Driscol, the man who handled the administration of many of the MATS contracts at the Pentagon, became Executive Director of the Civil Aeronautics Board after the death of Lear. Later, Driscol became VP at World Airways, one of the companies he funneled MATS contracts to from the Pentagon and CAB.

Driscol was the Director of Transportation under Joseph Imire, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force and John H. Rubel, the Asst. Secretary of Defense. With CAB chairman Alan S. Boyd, they effectively ended the competitive bidding for MATS contracts and arbitrarily awarded them to their favorite airlines connected to the CIA and/or Lear & Zuckert.

Ruble, Imire and Driscol all resigned shortly before the death of Lear. While Driscol went on to the CAB and World Airways, Ruble and Imire became Vice President of Litton Industries, a major defense contractor.

Another explanation for Lear’s death is provided by Amos Heacock, another independent airline owner put out of business by the CIA, who believes that is a connection between Lear’s demise and the assassination of President Kennedy shortly thereafter.

Heacock believes Lear’s law partner, Eugene Zuckert, as Secretary of the Air Force, had something to do with the scheduling of the President’s visit to Texas. He may have been responsible for the upkeep of Air Force One and Two, the planes provided for Executive office use by the President, Vice President and the cabinet.

According to this theory, Zuckert, as Secretary of the Air Force, obtained foreknowledge of the assassination, information that was also picked up by Lear. This either drove Lear crazy enough to kill himself, or made him unstable and a threat tothose planning to kill the President, so Lear also had to die.

Zuckert, a graduate of Yale University, served as the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force from 1947-1952 and was a member of the Atomic Energy Commission from 1952-1954. He left the Nuclear Science and Engineering Corporation of Pittsburgh (no longer listed in the phone book) where he worked from 1960-61, to become Secretary of the Air Force. The NE&E Corp. is described in "Elites in American History" as "a relatively small Pittsburgh based concern which was backed by various financial interests, chief of which was probably New York’s Lehman Brothers, a concern with great politico-economic influence."

One of the most important decisions Zuckert made as Air Force Secretary concerned the F-111 jet fighter contract. Although every independent study recommended that the contract be awarded to Boeing, which designed both a less expensive and better performing aircraft, the contract went to General Dynamics.

This decision was made by four men – Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatrick, Secretary of the Navy Fred Korth and Air Force Secretary Eugene Zuckert.

Gilpatrick was a former Wall Street law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and had previously represented General Dynamics, while Korth was president of Continental National Bank of Ft. Worth, Texas. General Dynamic’s Ft. Worth Plant eventually received the bulk of the contract.

[William Kelly’s research is supported in part by a grant from the Fund For Constitutional Government Investigative Journalism Project.]

Bill Kelly9:57 PM


William Kelly

William E. Kelly, Jr. was born in 1951, the son of a Camden, New Jersey, policeman. He majored in history at the University of Dayton, Ohio, School of Education, where he did his thesis on the Bay of Pigs. After graduation he taught history and became a freelance journalist and author of regional history books "300 Years at the Point" and "Birth of the Birdie," a history of golf. He is writing a follow up book on golf, "Flight of the Eagle - The Growth of Golf in America," and a history of rock & roll at the Jersey Shore. Kelly formed the Committee for an Open Archives (COA) with his college associate John Judge, lobbying extensively for the JFK Assassination Records Act, which was passed in 1992. With others, he was an original founder of the Coaliton on Political Assassinations (COPA). With Judge, he also assisted the 9/11 Citizen's Watch, which monitored the work of the 9/11 Commission. Kelly is currently attempting to petition federal prosecutors to convein a special federal grand jury to review the evidence and get Congress to Oversee the JFK Act.

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Myths and Facts about ADD / ADHD in Adults

MYTH: ADD/ADHD is just a lack of willpower. Persons with ADD/ADHD focus well on things that interest them; they could focus on any other tasks if they really wanted to.

FACT: ADD/ADHD looks very much like a willpower problem, but it isn’t. It’s essentially a chemical problem in the management systems of the brain.

MYTH: Everybody has the symptoms of ADD/ADHD, and anyone with adequate intelligence can overcome these difficulties.

FACT: ADD/ADHD affects persons of all levels of intelligence. And although everyone sometimes has symptoms of ADD/ADHD, only those with chronic impairments from these symptoms warrant an ADD/ADHD diagnosis.

MYTH: Someone can’t have ADD/ADHD and also have depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric problems.

FACT: A person with ADD/ADHD is six times more likely to have another psychiatric or learning disorder than most other people. ADD/ADHD usually overlaps with other disorders.

MYTH: Unless you have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD as a child, you can’t have it as an adult.

FACT: Many adults struggle all their lives with unrecognized ADD/ADHD impairments. They haven’t received help because they assumed that their chronic difficulties, like depression or anxiety, were caused by other impairments that did not respond to usual treatment.

Source: Dr. Thomas E. Brown, Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults






AIG’s airplane business and its ties to covert U.S. ops
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Apr 2, 2009, 00:25

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(WMR) -- WMR previously reported on Sir Allen Stanford’s aviation fleet and its curious links to covert U.S. intelligence operations. American International Group (AIG) is also in the aviation business and its subsidiary, International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), is one of the largest aircraft leasing businesses in the world.

Last year, ILFC’s CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy, a Hungarian emigre who founded ILFC in 1973, attempted to buy back ILFC from AIG. As a $65 million donor to the Smithsonian’s Dulles annex, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum annex at Dulles International Airport is named for Udvar-Hazy. The SR-71 Blackbird spy plane among other large aircraft, are on display at the annex. Udvar-Hazy, one of the world’s richest men, may still get his wish to reacquire ILFC as AIG attempts to come up with much-needed cash. In 2006, Udvar-Hazy was one of the members of the official U.S. delegation to Hungary that was led by part-Hungarian New York Governor George Pataki to mark the 50th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of the country.

Questions remain as to why a company primarily involved in insurance would have taken over an aircraft leasing business that leases Airbus and Boeing passenger jet liners to airlines, the super wealthy, and Hollywood stars. The answer may be found in AIG’s classified files that would put the spotlight on AIG’s clandestine work for U.S. intelligence since the company’s founding in 1919 in Shanghai as American Asiatic Underwriters by Cornelius Vander Starr, the uncle of President Clinton’s chief prosecutor, Kenneth Starr. In 1992, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg took over majority shares in the company from Starr.

Greenberg, a close confidante of Henry Kissinger, was once considered by Clinton to head up the CIA after James Woolsey’s departure in 1995 and Greenberg named Kissinger as chairman of AIG’s International Advisory Board. AIG’s one-time vice chairman was Frank G. Wisner, Jr., son of veteran Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and CIA veteran Frank Wisner, a one-time liaison to British agent Kim Philby, who later turned out to be a top Soviet spy. The senior Wisner allegedly committed suicide in 1965 using his son’s shotgun.

A check of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings show that ILFC leased aircraft to three large U.S. airlines that have been involved with various CIA and U.S. military operations for a number of years: World Airways, Tower Air, and Evergreen International Airlines.

In 1978, the Canadian press revealed that World Airways Chairman and President E. J. Daly gave funds to the international environmental movement Greenpeace. There was just one hitch. In return, Daly apparently arranged for two CIA agents to join Greenpeace expeditions aimed against whaling and U.S. nuclear tests in Amchitka, Alaska, in 1971 and 1977. Some Greenpeace members voiced opposition to the strings that came with Daly’s money.

In 1975, upon the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese and Vietcong, World Airways was the last flight out of Saigon. During the first Gulf War, the airline flew 300 flights into the Persian Gulf region, bringing in troops and supplies during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. World Airways also flew into Somalia during Operation Restore Hope.

In 2006, protests against World Airways use of Shannon Airport in Ireland to ferry U.S. troops back and forth to Iraq resulted in the airline bypassing Ireland and using Frankfurt as an alternate stopover. Shannon was also used by a number of CIA-leased “extraordinary rendition” aircraft used to transport kidnapped alleged “terrorists.”

World Airways, after going public, attracted significant Malaysian investment and captured a lucrative cut-rate Tel Aviv-New York passenger route that particularly catered to “Yeshiva” students and their families. World Airways President Charles Pollard, who championed the Tel Aviv route but later abandoned it, told The Jerusalem Post in 1995 that “Tel Aviv is becoming the gateway to the Near East and the Far East.”

Tower Air was also used by the Pentagon to shuttle troops to the Persian Gulf during Desert Shield and Storm.

Evergreen International Airlines was part of a network of covert CIA airlines that was founded by George A. Doole, Jr., a veteran CIA agent. In the CIA’s network were Air America, Air Asia, Civil Air Transport, Intermountain Aviation, and Southern Air Transport. Pinal Air Park, near Marana, Arizona, was the base for Doole’s Evergreen International’s maintenance operation and a storage facility for 60 boneyard airliners, some of which may have been used after 9/11 for CIA detainee renditions.

From CIA airlines to covert operations, using its American International Assurance Asian (AIA) unit as cover in Asia, AIG has plenty to answer for. Unfortunately, for the American taxpayers, those answers will be buried in classified files that will never see the light of day.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2008

The CIA's Airlines: Logistic Air Support of the War in Laos 1954 to 1975

by Martin Best


The war in Laos has often been called a “secret war”. This is certainly a fair description in comparison with media coverage of the neighbouring war in Vietnam but in recent years a number of books and a controversial film have helped to throw some light on this war and the role of US airlines in providing communications and logistical air support to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA's) forces in Laos. None of these books, with one small exception, have defined the fleet lists of these airlines even though, in terms of aircraft numbers, their fleet sizes were comparable with those of the largest airlines in the world at that time. 

The objective of this article is to attempt to compile the fleet lists of the principal airlines responsible for providing this logistical air support in Southeast Asia. First, however, it is necessary to describe the geopolitical context of the war in Laos as this explains the roles of these airlines and the covert nature of their operations. As the space available in Digest does not allow an in-depth description, a comprehensive bibliography is included.

Geography of Laos

Laos is a landlocked country the shape of Italy in the north-central region of mainland Southeast Asia. Six populous neighbours surround it: China to the north, North Vietnam to the northeast, South Vietnam to the southeast, Cambodia to the south, Thailand to the west, and Burma (Myanmar) to the northwest. The total land area of Laos is some 91,400 square miles, or roughly the size of Great Britain. The northern half of the country is covered in dense tropical rain forest, mountains that rise to over 7000 feet and slate-black limestone karsts. In the northeast, the mountains give way to the Plaines des Jarres (PDJ), a diamond-shaped patch of dairy land covered with giant stone burial urns dating back thousands of years.

The southern half of the country runs in a narrow panhandle, which empties onto the Bolovens Plateau. Down the eastern edge of the panhandle are the Annamite Corilleras, a towering mountain range that covers most of the 1323 mile border with Vietnam. On the western edge is the Mekong River, which forms a common border with Thailand, but there are also two Lao provinces on the western side of this big river.

Laos was divided into five Military Regions (MR). MR I was in the northwest, including Luang Prabang and the borders with Burma and China; MR II was in the northeast, including Long Tieng, Sam Neua and Sam Thong; MR III consisted of the central panhandle region, including Savannakhet and much of the Ho Chi Minh trail. MR IV was in the south, including Pakse and the Bolovens Plateau; finally MR V consisted of the neutral zone around Vientiane.

The climate of Laos roughly divides the year in half. Beginning in late May are five months of heavy tropical rains. Five more months, beginning in December, have high temperatures and little rain. A short spring and autumn connect these rainy and dry seasons.

When compared to South Vietnam, Laos was a more dangerous place in which to fly. Apart from enemy ground fire there were other problems to contend with. The maps of Laos during the early days were very inaccurate and pilots had to read the ground, watching for landmarks below them to ensure that they did not get lost. Apart from the monsoon season, Laos also had a man-made season when the villagers set fire to their fields in preparation for the year's planting. The whole country became enveloped in a blue smog that reduced visibility to half a mile or less.

During the Second Indo-China War, approximately three million people populated Laos. Of these, nearly half were lowland Laotians from the Tai linguistic group that migrated from southern China beginning in the 13th century. The vast majority of these lowlanders are peasant farmers and Buddhists.

Living along the mountain slopes are the diverse Lao Theung, which account for up to 30% of the total population. Descended from the Mon-Khmer ethnic group, the darker Lao Theung have historically been discriminated against by the lowland Laotians. The Lao Theung is fragmented into dozens of tribes that speak mutually unintelligible dialects.

On the mountain tops live the Sino-Tibetan hill tribes, comprising 20% of the population. The most important of these tribes are the Hmong (Meo) and the Mien (Yao). The Hmong, in particular, are renowned as among the fiercest warriors in Southeast Asia.

The geography of Laos is well described in Tragedy in Paradise, which also describes the USAID public health programme from 1963 to 1974.

War in Laos

Towards the end of World War II, US foreign policy was against the idea of the European powers regaining control of their colonial territories in Southeast Asia after the defeat of Japan. With the start of the Cold War and Korean War, however, it was recognised that the vacuum created by this policy was likely to result in communist domination of these territories, so the American government provided material support to the French government in their war in Indo-China, notably against the communist Viet Mihn. Despite this support, which included Civil Air Transport (CAT) crews flying Fairchild C-119C transports on behalf of the French, the French forces were comprehensively defeated in the battle of Dien Bien Phu in May 1954. This war resulted in the resignation of the French government and the calling of a peace conference in Geneva, which resulted in the signing of a Peace Treaty in July 1954. This treaty defined the Kingdom of Laos as a neutral territory and all foreign forces were required to be withdrawn. An International Control Commission (ICC), comprising observers from India, Poland and Canada, was established under the terms of the Geneva Accords.

The political scene in Laos could generally be divided into three camps: the communists, including Prince Souphanouvong, Kaysone Phomvihane, the Pathet Lao and their North Vietnamese masters; the pro-Western forces including Prince Boun Oum, Phoui Sananikone, General Phoumi Nosavan and the Hmong guerrillas and militia led by General Vang Pao (VP); and the neutralists, which included Prince Souvanna Phouma, Kong Le, and theoretically the Royal Lao Government (RLG). At various times after peace talks three coalition governments were formed but these rarely lasted very long before fighting broke out between rival generals' forces or there was a coup. Fighting between factions within the royalist forces (FAR) diverted the troops from defending the country from attack by the neutralist (FAN), Pathet Lao (PL) and People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces. Officers on the losing side of a coup would often be imprisoned. The history of the war in Laos is summarised in the Chronology.

After the signing of this first Peace Treaty the US military advisors were withdrawn but a Programs Evaluation Office (PEO) was established in the US Embassy in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. It soon became apparent that although all the Western forces had withdrawn the terms of the treaty were not being honoured by North Vietnam in their support of communist Pathet Lao forces. Although direct intervention by US forces was contemplated this was vetoed following the ‘Bay of Pigs' debacle in Cuba and from that point on US military support of the Lao neutralist government was covert, administered by the CIA but under the direction of the US Ambassador to Laos.

The CIA's presence in Laos grew steadily from the early 1960s, but it still remained small. The total number of people connected with the war, both in Laos and in Thailand, never exceeded 225. This included some 50 case officers with Hmong, Lao, and Thai units.

Unlike the North Vietnamese, the Lao are peace-loving people and the Royalist and Pathet Lao forces were militarily less than effective. The Americans soon learned to rely on the hilltribes to fight the invading PAVN in much the same way as the French had in Indochina. These forces used guerrilla tactics to oppose the conventional PAVN forces in a mirror image of the Vietcong's war in South Vietnam. Conventional but mercenary forces recruited in Thailand and paid for by the US government supported these Groupement Mobiles (GM). Thai Police Aerial Reinforcement Unit (PARU) and CIA advisors were appointed to advise the Lao and hilltribe forces in the various MRs in Laos. The indigenous Hmong guerrilla and militia forces were intent on defending their homeland from their traditional enemy, the North Vietnamese, regardless of US policies or the support of the CIA. The use of the hilltribe forces to fight conventional battles, however, led to the decimation of these untrained and poorly equipped forces and it became necessary to use the Thai mercenary forces to fight set-piece battles against the PAVN.

The early years of the war took on a seasonal pattern. During the dry season the PAVN and PL went on the offensive, applying pressure on the Hmong in northern Laos and on RLG forces throughout the country. During the monsoon season the anti-communists took advantage of the mobility provided by Air America and struck deep into enemy-occupied territory. The character of the war began to change in 1968. The North Vietnamese, impatient with the progress of the PL, introduced major new combat forces into Laos and took control of the year's dry season offensive.

The Pathet Lao and PAVN forces would progressively invade the villages occupied by the hilltribe and Lao populations who would then be displaced as refugees. USAID would then try to resettle the displaced village populations in safer areas where they could plant new crops and build a short landing strip or drop zone for the supply of food until new crops could be harvested. The use of the majority of the male population of the Hmong hill tribes to fight the PL and PAVN meant that there were few able-bodied males left in the villages to provide food for the families. Food was supplied by air using the CIA and USAID's contractors: Arizona Helicopters Inc.; Bird & Sons Inc., which later became Continental Air Services Inc. (CASI), and Air America Inc. (AAM), formed out of Civil Air Transport (CAT) following the death of Major General Claire Chennault, of “Flying Tigers” fame. These US airlines used STOL aircraft to get in and out of small landing sites (LS) in remote area, as well as conventional military transports and numerous helicopters to provide air mobility and supply.

The US airlines were generally only required to provide communications and logistical support. US military personnel usually worked as military advisors but one exception was the provision of Forward Air Controllers (FACs), who flew Cessna O-1 Bird Dog, O-2 Super Skymaster and U-17 spotter planes to mark enemy targets for attack my Royal Lao Air Force (RLAF) T-28 or USAF fighter-bombers based in Thailand or South Vietnam. These FAC pilots were known as “Ravens” after their radio call sign. Most of the Ravens worked out of Long Tieng, but a few were also stationed in Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Savannakhet, and Pakse. US military personnel transferred to Laos were “sheep dipped” out of the services and employed as civilians assigned to USAID Laos.

The principal logistical base for CIA operations in Laos was at Udorn (aka Udon Thani) in northeast Thailand, across the Mekong River from Laos and Vientiane, but the day-to-day campaign was directed from the US Embassy in Vientiane. Advisors to GM in the various MRs would generally return to Vientiane to debrief each evening and return to the field in the morning with new orders and supplies using air transport provided by the CIA's airlines. The security situation generally did not allow the aircraft or advisors to remain in the field overnight (RON). The headquarters of the USAID Laos operation was in Vientiane with contractors' aircraft being based at Vientiane's Wattay airport (Lima 08), which had runway and control facilities provided by USAID. A USAID civilian hospital was built at Sam Thong (LS20), about 5 km from Long Tieng (LS20A), to care for the refugee population in that area, as well as military casualties that could not be treated at Long Tieng.

USAID Laos responsibilities included the development of agriculture, education, public health, and construction projects, in cooperation with the RLG. The CIA was responsible for military aid within the US mission, which also included representatives of the USIS.

The aircraft used by these two airlines were often interchanged, complicating the definition of fleet lists. Aircraft were also “loaned” to the airlines by the US armed forces, devoid of national markings, where overt military support was not politically acceptable. In these circumstances it is difficult to identify which US military aircraft were operated by the US airlines and generally these loans are not recorded in aircraft production lists.

The roles of the US airlines supporting CIA and USAID operations in Laos included: aircraft maintenance and repair; casualty evacuation; communication flights; evacuation and relocation of refugees; insertion, re-supply and extraction of road watch teams and patrols; photo-reconnaissance; psychological warfare; recovery of damaged aircraft; search and rescue; supply of food (“soft rice”) and weapons & ammunition (“hard rice”); surveillance, including signals intelligence and the monitoring of ground sensors; and troop transport.

Communication flights included the regular CASI ‘milk run' from Bangkok to Udorn and Vientiane using C-47 aircraft. The American mission also had two ‘milk run' flights each day from Vientiane to Northern and Southern Laos. The aircraft were Air America C-47s or occasionally C-46s. Heading north they landed at Luang Prabang, Sayaboury and Ban Houai Sai. Going south they stopped at Savannakhet, Pakse, and Attopeu. On the return trips they made the same stops. STOL Helio Courier aircraft were used at the smaller landing strips but these were later replaced by Pilatus Porter aircraft, with DHC Caribou STOL transports handling larger loads to the longer strips. C-46 and C-123B transports were used to drop commodities such as food and ammunition. Helicopters used included the piston Sikorsky H-34 and turbine Bell JetRanger.

There were few roads in the country, and none of them were usable except in the immediate vicinity of the larger towns along the Mekong River. In most areas, roads were non-existent. Where they did exist, lack of maintenance and poor security often precluded their use – particularly in the hinterland, where most of the fighting and displacement of the civil population occurred. A road was eventually built between Vientiane and Long Tieng.

During the periods when there was a moratorium on the Rolling Thunder bombing of North Vietnam, extra resources were available to bomb Laos instead. The second Indochina War left Laos with the dubious distinction of being the most heavily bombed country per capita in the history of warfare.

Strategically the war in Laos was seen as a way of diverting PAVN divisions from the Vietnam War without the commitment of significant US forces. With the withdrawal of US forces from South Vietnam, following the Paris Peace Treaty, signed in January 1973, the neutrality of Laos was reconfirmed and the CIA's support for the Lao government was also withdrawn. Once again, the Pathet Lao was invited to join a coalition government. Although the ICC attempted to monitor the withdrawal of foreign forces from Laos the PAVN continued the occupation of Laos, resulting in “ethnic cleansing” of the Hmong hill tribe populations; survivors still populate refugee camps in Northeast Thailand.

The war in Laos has been described in much greater detail in War in Laos 1954-1975, by Kenneth Conboy, The Ravens, by Christopher Robbins, and Covert Ops, by James E Parker. Details of these and other sources are given in the Bibliography.

The Fall of Saigon

Operation FREQUENT WIND was the evacuation of Saigon as the PAVN advanced towards the city in April 1975. Air America responded to the call and initiated the largest aerial evacuation in history. The unsung heroes of the airlift were the Air America Bell UH-1 crews, who put in sterling work ferrying evacuees from around the city to either the US embassy or the Defense Attaché's Office compound. They were transporting people out to sea to awaiting aircraft carriers, refuelling on the carriers, and returning to a disintegrating Saigon.

In the period from 6 April 1975 to 30 April 1975, a total of 51,888 people were flown out of Saigon. Of these, 45,125 (87%) were flown out by Air America. On 29 and 30 April alone, 7,014 were flown out, with 5,595 (80%) evacuated by Air America. Several helicopters were lost during the evacuation due to enemy fire.

Civil Air Transport Co. Ltd. (CAT)

There is an excellent essay on the formation and history of CAT in Air-Britain's Curtiss C-46 Commando monograph (pp. 28 – 30); Perilous Missions, by William Leary, describes these in greater detail. The latter includes an Equipment List for February 1954 that has been taken into account in the preparation of the fleet list at Table 2.

During the Korean War, CAT made more than 100 hazardous over-flights of mainland China, airdropping agents and supplies. These flights included Operation PAPER in support of Li Mi's KMT forces in the Shan provinces of northeast Burma that were used for two unsuccessful invasions of southwest China in an attempt to divert Chinese forces from Korea. Later CAT was used to repatriate these KMT forces and their families to Taiwan after they had become an embarrassment to the governments of Burma and Thailand. Operation BOOKLIFT was CAT's contract with the USAF for the airlift of men and supplies between designated points throughout the Far East.

CAT is significant in this story because it was used to support the French armed forces during the First Indo-Chinese War during 1953 and 1954, when the US Government did not wish to commit US forces overtly. Operation SQUAW began on 6 May 1953 and continued until 16 July, using six USAF C-119 aircraft repainted in French Air Force colours and based at Gia Lam airbase, outside Hanoi.  CAT returned to Indochina in 1954 with twelve C-119s and 24 pilots to support the French forces at Dien Bien Phu. Between 13 March and the fall of Dien Bien Phu on 7 May, CAT pilots flew 682 airdrop missions to the beleaguered French troops under Operation SQUAW II.

CAT operations continued in Indochina after the fall of Dien Bien Phu. Between mid-May and mid-August, C-119s dropped supplies to isolated French outposts and delivered loads throughout the country. CAT also supplied twelve C-46s for Operation COGNAC, the evacuation of civilians from North Vietnam to South Vietnam, following the signing of the Geneva Agreement on 21 July 1954. Between 22 August and 4 October they flew 19,808 men, women and children out of North Vietnam.

Tables 1 and 2 only show the aircraft operated by Civil Air Transport Co. Ltd. of Taiwan, most of whose aircraft were registered in Taiwan. This list therefore excludes the XT-registered aircraft that were operated in Mainland China from 1946 and also the aircraft taken over from CATC and CNAC by CATI that had been abandoned in Hong Kong and were then registered in America. CAT provided the basis of Air America's initial fleet.

The United States had been supplying economic and military aid to Laos under an agreement signed in 1950. Following the Geneva Conference of 1954, Washington decided to expand this programme and in January 1955, it established the United States Operations Mission (USOM) in Vientiane to administer economic assistance. A PEO was later set up within USOM to handle military aid. CAT soon became involved in USOM's aid programme.

In July 1955, USOM officials learned that a rice failure threatened famine in several provinces in Laos. Because a number of these areas were in remote, mountainous regions, airdrops were the only feasible means to deliver essential supplies of rice and salt. Three CAT C-46s arrived at the railhead at Udorn, in northeast Thailand, on 11 September to begin the airlift. By the end of the month, CAT had flown more than 200 missions to 25 reception areas, delivering 1,000 tons of emergency food.

CAT's permanent presence in Laos commenced on 1 July 1957 when a C-47 was brought to Vientiane to service a new contract with the US Embassy. Between 1957 and 1959, the unstable political situation in Laos led to growing American presence in the country as the United States increased its support of the FAR. It was this situation in Laos, not Vietnam, which led to the “domino theory” in Southeast Asia. If Laos fell to the communists then the rest of Southeast Asia was expected to follow.

Air America, Inc.

Air America, Inc. was reportedly formed in July 1950 as a 100%-owned subsidiary of the Pacific Corporation and undertook worldwide charter and contract operations primarily in the Far East. Air America operated supply-dropping missions in Laos under contract to the USAID.

Air America was owned by the CIA and played a leading role in logistic air support of the CIA's forces in Laos from 1959 to 1974. When the US wars in Southeast Asia were over, Air America's surviving aircraft were sold and the company was liquidated. Money ($20 million) raised from the sale of aircraft, e.g. via Omni Aircraft Sales Inc., was returned to the US Treasury.

Christopher Robbins has written a history of Air America in Air America: the story of the CIA's secret airlines. This book is not limited to just the history of Air America; its full title is a more accurate description as the book also considers CAT, Bird Air and CASI. It reports that the owners of Air America had very little knowledge of its fleet size or composition. Some excellent pictures of many of Air America's aircraft, plus others with CAT, Bird Air and CASI are included in Terry Love's Wings of Air America: a photo history.

During the war, Air America flew throughout South Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia, but their main operations were in Laos. Air America provided air support for American objectives in Laos, mainly through USAID. Their main objective was logistical. They supplied General Vang Pao's 45,000-man army in MR II. Probably the biggest part of Air America's mission was support of refugee supply, movement and resettlement. Because no US military planes were permitted to be based inside Laos, Air America came to play an essential role with its helicopters, transports and STOL aircraft. Air America provided the only Air Rescue Service in the area during the early 1960s.

The formal Declaration on the Neutrality of Laos, signed on 23 July 1962, provided for a coalition government and the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country by 7 October. The United States pulled out its 666 military advisers and support staff, and Air America stopped dropping weapons to the Hmong. Air America's operations declined sharply in 1963. Restricted to food supply to the Hmong, which averaged 40 tons a month by the summer, the airline laid off people and mothballed aircraft. By May 1963, the number of UH-34s assigned to Udorn had dropped from 18 to 6. Flight hours, which had averaged 2,000 per month before the Geneva Accords, dropped to 600.

By 1966 Air America had almost 6,000 employees. At its peak in 1970, Air America had the largest airline fleet in the world, in terms of numbers of aircraft owned, although a lot of these aircraft were small or helicopters. Air America operated up to 30,000 flights per month by 1970. By the summer of 1970 the airline had some two dozen twin-engine transports, another two dozen STOL aircraft, and some 30 helicopters dedicated to operations in Laos. During 1970, Air America airdropped or landed over 20,000 tons of foodstuffs (mainly rice) in Laos and helicopter flight time reached more than 4,000 hours a month.

In Vietnam, Air America served about 12,000 passengers monthly. These included USAID people, missionaries, military personnel, correspondents, government officials and nurses. Up to 40 aircraft were based in Vietnam.

Air America men were among the last to leave when Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam collapsed. Many Air America aircraft were shot down and lost. 243 men were killed in action while working with Air America; 100 AAM personnel died in Laos, including 23 crewmembers that died in flight operations. Eleven AAM crewmembers were lost in the three years 1965, 1966 and 1967, of which five were due to enemy action. Between December 1971 and April 1972, six AAM crewmembers died in Laos. In December alone, 24 aircraft were hit by ground fire and three were shot down.

Tables 3 and 4 are an initial attempt to establish Air America's fleet size and composition. The annual World Airline Surveys by Flight International (Table 3) give an indication of fleet composition and size, and Table 4, which has been compiled from numerous sources and production lists, gives the identity of many of these aircraft.

Arizona Helicopters, Inc.

Arizona Helicopters, a smaller helicopter contractor, operated in Laos in the early 1970s. For a fleet list please see Table 7.

Bird & Sons, Inc. (Bird Air)

Little has been written about Bird Air. It escaped coverage in the annual World Airlines Surveys by Flight International and Ron Davies's excellent books: The World's Airlines and Airlines of Asia. The following description is taken from the C-46 monograph:

“Bird and Sons was a proprietary company of the US Central Intelligence Agency, operating a variety of aircraft, mainly light types, in South-East Asia. A number of C-46s were operated on quasi-military operations in 1964 and 1965.”

In fact Bird & Sons, Inc, a private airline run by William H Bird, was the aviation division of A Bird and Sons, the San Francisco heavy construction company operating in Vietnam and Laos.

The aviation division of Bird and Sons, Inc., including 22 aircraft and 350 employees, was bought by Continental Airlines for $4.5 million cash in 1965 and commenced operations as the South-East Asia Division in September, 1965.

Given this transfer of aircraft the fleet lists of Bird & Sons and CASI are combined in Tables 5 and 6. Some aircraft continued to be registered to Bird & Sons Inc. after the take-over.

Continental Air Services, Inc.

Continental Air Services, Inc. (CASI) was formed in April 1965 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Continental Air Lines Inc. to operate aircraft and ground facilities in support of oil exploration, construction and engineering projects, USAID and other US Government Agencies, e.g. the CIA. In August 1965 the company took over much of the aviation division of Bird and Sons in Laos and Vietnam, with headquarters in Vientiane.

Aircraft were interchanged between the fleets of Air America and CASI, perhaps without any change of ownership, thus adding a further complication to the compiling of fleet lists. Many aircraft owned by Bird & Sons were registered in Laos (on the XW- register) and some of the survivors were later transferred to the US register under CASI ownership many years after the take-over. With the fall of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, operations were terminated and the surviving aircraft were sold, as shown in Table 6.

Outstanding Questions

This article has attempted to compile the fleet lists of the principal US airlines operating in and around Laos during the first and second Indo-Chinese wars (1954-1975). Although these fleet lists are considerably longer than information published in Aviation Letter during 1968, for example, there are still significant gaps when the lists are compared with reported inventories of these airlines. For example, only three of ten Beech Barons operated by CASI have been identified to date. 

Readers are encouraged to check their own records and report any additions or corrections to the author or the editor. For example, as copies of the USCAR consulted were published at intervals of four years, further information of interest my be available in intermediate publications, e.g. the civil registrations of Air America's C-123s, operated in about 1966.


The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of: Judy Porter (General Secretary, Air America Association, photographs); Len Lundh (S-58 spreadsheet & photographs); Stephen Darke (Beech 18 & Baron information & photographs); Terry Love (permission to use copyright information and clarification of details in Wings of Air America); and Wayne Buser (Caribou spreadsheet). Other assistance is reflected in the Bibliography.


Appendix 1: Abbreviations

AAA                       Air America Association

AAM                      Air America, Inc.

AB-IX                     Air-Britain Information Exchange (web site and mailing list)

AFB                        Air Force Base

aka                         also known as

AL                           Aviation Letter

AMCAR                  American Civil Air Registers quarterly review

BOA                       Boun Oum Airways

CAB                        Civil Aeronautics Board

Canx.                     Cancelled

CASI                       Continental Air Services, Inc.

CAT                        CNRRA Air Transport > Civil Air Transport

CATC                     Central Air Transport Corp.

CATI                       Civil Air Transport, Inc.

CIA                         Central Intelligence Agency

CIC                         Commission International d'Control (see also ICC)

c/n                         construction number

CNAC                    China National Aviation Corp.

CNRRA                  Chinese National Relief and Rehabilitation Administration

DBR                                                        Damaged Beyond Repair

DOD                       Department of Defense

FAA                                         Federal Aviation Agency

FAC                        Forward Air Controller

FAN                       Force Armée Neutraliste (Neutralist Armed Forces)

FAR                        Forces Armée du Royaume (Royal Armed Forces)

GM                                               Groupement Mobile

ICC                         International Control Commission

ID                            Identity

KMT                       Kuomintang (Nationalist Chinese)

LAC                        Lockheed Aircraft Corporation

LS                            Lima Site (Landing Site in Laos)

MR                         Military Region

MSB                       Martin S Best (author's files)

NLR                        No Longer Registered

OWAD                  The Observer's World Aircraft Directory

PA&E                     Pacific Architects and Engineers, Inc.

PARU                    Police Aerial Reinforcement Unit (Thai)

PAVN                    People's Army of Vietnam

PDJ                         Plaine des Jarres (Plain of Jars)

PEO                        Programs Evaluation Office

PL                           Pathet Lao

q.v.                        quod vide (= which see)

reg.                        registration

rgd.                        registered

RLAF                      Royal Lao Air Force

RLG                        Royal Lao Government

RON                       Remain Overnight

r/r                           re-registered

RTAFB                   Royal Thai Air Force Base

RVN                       Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)

SEA                        Southeast Asia

STOL                      Short Take-Off and Landing

TAHS                     The Aviation Hobby Shop

TBC                        To Be Confirmed

TBD                        To Be Determined

TPAPL                   Turbo Prop Airliner Production Lists

USAF                     United States Air Force

USAID                   United States Agency for International Development

USCAR                  United States Civil Aircraft Register

USMC                   United States Marines Corps

USOM                   United States Operations Mission (became USAID)

USRQ                                                                           United States Register Quarterly

USIS                                 United States Information Service

USSF                                United States Army Special Forces

USSR                               Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

VNAF                    South Vietnamese Air Force

VP                          General Vang Pao

VTB-18                  Volpar Turbo Beech 18

WFU                      Withdrawn From Use

W/O                      Written Off

Appendix 2: Bibliography

1.      Air America Association (AAA) web site, including Feature Stories/Articles (q.v.) and Image Library:

2.      Air America and the H-19A, Clarence J Abadie, AAA web site Feature Stories (q.v.)

3.      Air America Rescue, Chuck McGrath, AAA web site Feature Stories (q.v.)

4.      Air America: the story of the CIA's secret airlines, Christopher Robbins, Putnam, New York, 1979 & Corgi Books, 1988, ISBN 0 552 13722 7, first published as The invisible air force: the true story of the CIA's secret airlines, Macmillan, 1979.

5.      Air-Britain Information Exchange (AB-IX): Files web site (C-123, DHC-4):

6.      Airlines of Asia since 1920, R E G Davies, Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1997, ISBN 0 85177 855 0.

7.      America's war in Vietnam: a short narrative history, Larry H Addington, Indiana University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-253-21360-6.

8.      Aviation Safety Network web site (C-46, C-47, Twin Pioneer):

9.      Beech 18/C-45G & H production list: USRQ7, Volume 3, Runway Six Nine, Winter 1978/1979, pp. 7-22.

10.  Beech 18 Conversions and Testbeds, Stephen Darke, Air-Britain Digest, Winter 1998, pp. 10-15 & e-mails from Stephen Darke re Air America Volpar conversions, etc.

11.  Bell 47 production lists: MSB (to be published)

12.  Bell 204B production list: MSB (to be published)

13.  Business Turboprops International 2000, Michael Austen, Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 2000, ISBN 0 85130 280 7 (PC-6)

14.  Covert ops: the CIA's secret war in Laos, James E Parker Jr., St Martin's Press, 1995, ISBN 0-312-96340-8

15.  DHC-4 Caribou production lists: MSB (AB-IX Files) + Wayne Buser's spreadsheet & web site (Caribou Roster):

16.  DHC-6 Twin Otter production lists: TPAPL (q.v.) + Dave Holder's web site:

17.  Dornier Do28 production lists: MSB (to be published) + AMCAR14 (pp. 40, 44) & 17 (p. 63) + Hendrik van der Veen's e-mails & web site:

18.  Fairchild C-119 ‘Flying Boxcar' production list: MSB (to be published) + AMCAR78-82

19.  Fairchild C-123 Provider production list: MSB (AB-IX Files) + AMCAR83-85

20.  FH-1100 production list: MSB (Copters Files)

21.  Flipper's Boeing CH-47 helicopter historical database production list web site: + Helicopters web site (q.v.)

22.  Helicopters/Files/Construction Lists web site (CH-47, FH-1100, KB-47):

23.  Helio 391B Courier & 395 Super Courier production lists: AMCAR 44 & 45, Runway Six Nine

24.  Kawasaki-Bell 47 production list: MSB (Copters Files)

25.  Laos: the Rough Guide, Jeff Cranmer & Steven Martin, Rough Guides Ltd., November 1999, ISBN 1-85828-447-3

26.  Lockheed Hercules production list 1954-2001 (18th edition), Lars Olausson, February 2000.

27.  Memories of the Fall of Saigon, April 29, 1975, Fred Walker, Allen Cates, Thomas Grady & E G Adams, AAA web site Feature Stories (q.v.)

28.  Perilous missions: Civil Air Transport and CIA covert operations in Asia, William M Leary, The University of Alabama Press, 1984, ISBN 0-8173-0164-X

29.  Pilatus Porter production lists: AMCAR25 + MSB (to be published) + Markus Herzig's e-mails & web site:

30.  Piston Engine Airliner Production List (2nd edition), A B Eastwood & J Roach, The Aviation Hobby Shop, 1996, ISBN 0 907178 61 8 (C-46, DC-4, DC-6, Twin Pioneer)

31.  Ravens of Long Tieng, Ralph Wetterhahn, Air Space Magazine,

32.  Sikorsky H-34: an illustrated history, Lennart Lund, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1998, ISBN 0-7643-0522-0.

33.  Sikorsky S-58 production lists: MSB + AMCAR82-87, etc. + Lennart Lundh's spreadsheet

34.  South-East Asia Civil Aircraft Registers, (Ed.) Ian P Burnett et al, Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1979, ISBN 0 85130 067 7.

35.  Supporting the “Secret War”: CIA Air Operations in Laos, 1955-1974, William M Leary,

36.  The Boeing 727, John A Whittle et al, Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1976, ISBN 0 85130 047 2.

37.  The Curtiss C-46 Commando, John M Davis et al, Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1978, ISBN 0 85130 065 0 + update.

38.  The Douglas DC-3 and its predecessors, J M G Gradidge, Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1984, ISBN 0 85130 119 3 + 2 updates.

39.  The Douglas DC-4, John & Maureen Woods, Airline Publications & Sales Ltd., September 1980, ISBN 0 905117 71 9.

40.  The Douglas DC-4 including Canadair 4 and Douglas DC-5, Peter Berry et al, Air-Britain, October 1967.

41.  The Douglas DC-6 and DC-7 Series (2nd edition), John A Whittle, Air-Britain, 1971.

42.  The Lockheed Constellation Series, Peter J Marson, Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1982, ISBN 0 85130 100 2.

43.  The Lockheed Twins, Peter J Marson, Air-Britain (Historians) Inc., 2001, ISBN 0 85130 284 X

44.  The Observer's World Aircraft Directory (OWAD), William Green, Warne, 1961.

45.  The Ravens: pilots of the secret war of Laos, Christopher Robbins, Asia Books Co. Ltd., 2000, ISBN 974-8303-41-1.

46.  The Vietnam War: the history of America's conflict in Southeast Asia, Salamander Books Ltd., 1998, ISBN 1 84065 003 6.

47.  Tragedy in Paradise. A country doctor at war in Laos, Charles Weldon MD, Asia Books Co. Ltd., 1999, ISBN 974-8237-38-9.

48.  Turbo Prop Airliner Production Lists (4th edition)(TPAPL), John Roach & Tony Eastwood, The Aviation Hobby Shop, January 2001, ISBN 0907178 83 9 (C-130, DHC-6, SC-7)

49.  United States Civil Aircraft Registers, FAA, (a) 01/01/74; (b) 01/07/68; (c) 01/07/72; (d) 01/01/76.

50.  Vietnam: the helicopter war, Philip D Chinnery, Airlife Publishing Ltd., 1996, ISBN 1 85310 827 8.

51.  Vietnam: the ten thousand day war, Michael Maclear, Thames Methuen, 1981, ISBN 0-458-95170-6.

52.  War in Laos 1954-1975,  #6063, Kenneth Conboy, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1994, ISBN 0-89747-315-9.

53.  Wings of Air America: a photo history, Terry Love, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1998, ISBN 0-7643-0619-7.

54.  World Airlines Survey, Flight International, e.g. (a) 13 April 1961, (b) 15 April 1965, (c) 14 April 1966, (d) 6 May 1971, (e) 22 March 1973.

55.  World Directory of Airliner Crashes, Terry Denham, Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1996, ISBN 1 85260 554 5.

Appendix 3: Chronology

29/10/46:             CNRRA Air Transport (CAT) formed by Claire Lee Chennault and Whiting Willauer

03/02/47:             CAT commenced non-scheduled operations in China

02/03/47:             First CAT transport arrives in Shanghai

July 1947:             National Security Act, formation of the US Central Intelligence Agency

1948-1949:          Communist forces take over mainland China

19/07/49:             Laos is recognised as an independent state with ties to France

10/11/49:         Managements of CNAC & CATC defected to the Communists leaving the aircraft guarded in Hong Kong

16/12/49:             CAT moved its aircraft to Formosa

19/12/49:             Chennault & Willauer purchase the Nationalist Government shares of CNAC & CATC and registered their fleets to Civil Air Transport,

                        Inc. (CATI) in USA

01/01/50:             CATI bought Pan American's 20% share in CNAC

1950:                     Civil Air Transport Co. Ltd. formed in Taiwan to take over the routes of CATI

08/05/50:             US announced military and economic aid to the pro-French regimes of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

25/06/50:             North Korea forces attack South Korean positions south of the 38th parallel

10/07/50:             American Airdale Corporation (CIA holding company) incorporated

1953:                     Operation SQUAW, CAT's operations in support of French forces in Indochina

1953-1954:          Operation REPAT, airlift of Nationalist troops from Burma & Thailand to Taiwan

1954:                     Operation SQUAW II, CAT's operations in support of French forces in Indochina, especially during the siege of Dien Bien Phu

07/05/54:             The remnants of the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu surrender

July 1954:             The Geneva Accords on Indochina are signed [1], partitioning Vietnam and setting up an ICC to supervise compliance with the

                        Agreements [2]

1954:                     Operation COGNAC, CAT's airlift of refugees from North to South Vietnam

31/03/56:             Prince Souvanna Phouma becomes prime minister in Laos

05/08/56:             Souvanna Phouma and the Communist Prince Souphanouvong agree to a coalition government in Laos

29/05/57:             Communist Pathet Lao attempt to seize power in Laos

01/07/57:             First CAT aircraft deployed to Vientiane to service a contract with the US Embassy

07/10/57:             American Airdale Corporation changes its name to Pacific Corporation

31/03/59:             CIA investment in CAT Inc. transferred to Air America, Inc. (or 26/03/59?)

Jun-Jul 1959:      Communist Pathet Lao forces attempt to gain control over northern Laos

July 1959:             USSF Mobile Training Teams dispatched to Laos (HOTFOOT teams)

23/08/59:             First two transports of Air America arrived in Vientiane

Dec 1959:             Second USSF contingent, HOTFOOT 2, replaced the first group

31/12/59:             General Phoumi Nosavan seizes control in Laos

09/08/60:             Captain Kong Lee staged a successful coup d'état in Vientiane and urged restoration of a neutral Laos under Prince Souvanna Phouma

16/12/60:             The forces of Phoumi Nosavan captured Vientiane

04/01/61:             Prince Boun Oum organises a pro-Western government in Laos; North Vietnam and the USSR send aid to the Communist insurgents

1961:                     Air America supplied with ~23 USMC H-34 helicopters by Executive Order

16/05/61:             A 14-nation Conference on Laos opened in Geneva [1]

08/10/61:             The Lao factions agree to form a neutral coalition headed by Souvanna Phouma

May 1962:           Phoumi Nosavan's forces are routed, paving the way for a settlement in Laos

23/07/62:             Protocol to the Declaration on the Neutrality of Laos signed in Geneva

07/10/62:             All foreign military personnel to be withdrawn from Laos

April 1965:           Continental Airlines forms CASI by taking over the air division of Bird & Sons, Inc.

Sep 1965:             CASI commences operations in SE Asia

08/10/69:             Souvanna Phouma requests increased American aid to meet heavier Communist pressure in Laos

18/12/69:             Congress prohibits the use of current DoD appropriations to introduce ground combat troops into Laos or Thailand

10/02/70:             Souvanna Phouma states that he will take no action against Communist supply activity along the Ho Chi Minh Trail if North Vietnam will

                        withdraw combat troops from Laos

29/12/70:             Congress adopts legislation that denies funds for the introduction of ground combat troops into Laos or Thailand

27/01/73:             The Paris peace accord is signed and the Vietnam War is officially ended

21/03/73:             Souvanna Phouma and the Communists conclude a cease-fire in Laos

29/03/73:             The last American troops leave South Vietnam

03/06/74:             Last Air America aircraft crossed the border from Laos into Thailand.

30/06/74:             Air America operations at Udorn, Thailand, close down

April 1975:           Clashes occur between Communist insurgents and Laos government troops

April 1975:           Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of refugees from Saigon

17/04/75:             The fall of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

29/04/75:             The fall of Saigon, RVN

16/05/75:             The Pathet Lao seizes Pakse in Laos

20/05/75:                          Savannakhet falls to the Pathet Lao

June 1975:           Pathet Lao troops seize US Embassy property in Vientiane

23/08/75:             The Pathet Lao consolidates the Communist takeover in Laos

03/12/75:             The Lao coalition headed by Souvanna Phouma is abolished; Laos becomes a Communist state with Souvanouvong as President

30/06/76:             Air America finally closed down.


[1] The 14 nations that participated in the Geneva Convention were: the US, the Soviet Union, France, Canada, China, India, Great Britain, Poland, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, North Vietnam, South Vietnam and Laos.

[2] The International Control Commission (ICC) was composed of members from India, Canada and Poland.

[3] This Chronology has been compiled using various sources listed in the Bibliography.

Aircraft Listings

Civil Air Transport

Air America

Arizona Helicopters

Bird and Son and Continental Air Services (CASI)

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