The town of Xepon appears in more after-action reports, CHECO, and Corona Harvest documentation about the war than any other place on the HCMT. So much went on at Xepon I’m dividing this into two or three parts. I’ll post the other parts in the next few days.
I discovered this song, Tchepone, on YouTube. The lyrics tell a lot about flying near Xepon and perhaps are a microcosm of the entire air war over the Ho CHi Minh Trail. Click on it and let it play as you continue on. (Click Here to read the LYRICS)
Knife 61 and Knife 62 were shot down during Operation Junction City, Junior. (Don’t confuse this with the US Army 1967 “Operation Junction City.” The ’67 operation was named after the Kansas town, “Junction City.” Google it, and you’ll find lots of info.)
Perhaps the name for this operation (Junction City, Jr.) was well chosen because the goal was capturing the city at the junction of Ho Chi Minh Trail (HCMT) Routes 9 & 23. Route 9 came into Xepon from the east, and Route 23 was a main artery to the southern portion of the HCMT. The town was Muang Phin (also spelled Phine amongst others.)
Road Watch Teams (Operation Shining Brass/Prairie Fire) had unconfirmed reports of American prisoners Continue reading →
As I put together things to write about here, I often go down the rabbit hole. This was another of those. I wanted to know more about where the song and in particular where the Lyrics came from. So here’s a bit more information along with the Lyrics.
From around 1963 to 1973 the US waged a secret war in Laos. A large portion of that war was against the Ho Chi Minh Trail… or the “Trail”… or just the HCMT.
Even though I’ve been writing about the “Secret War” in Northern Laos, the biggest goal of this “Trail ride” is to see the Trail up close and personal. So, I thought I should start writing a little about that.
Since my time there, I’ve had a growing desire to see The Trail for myself. Now I’m going to do it on a “trail bike”… on an on/off-road motorcycle. Check out the following video for a glimpse of what I’m talking about:
Starting in the early 1960s and for over ten years, Americans waged war on the HCMT. It was mostly Continue reading →
I know… I said I would talk about “The Alamo” next in the series of “Places to Go.” But, I really can’t do that without talking about the PDJ and all that went with it first. Besides, the PDJ would likely be our first stop on the “Northern Loop.” So here we go.
Most aircrews simply referred to the region as the PDJ. The initials come from the name the French gave the region during their colonial reign: the Plaine des Jarres. Hence, the abbreviation, PDJ.
“Plaine des Jarres” translates to Plain of Jars. The name comes from the massive stone “jars” that were either human burial urns… or places to store rice-wine scattered around the region. Depending on who is telling the story, the PDJ is from several hundred square miles… up to 3,000 square miles.
For this discussion, the importance of the PDJ isn’t the jars. Rather, it is the years of see-saw battles for control of the PDJ. You see… Continue reading →