Attack on Site 85 information
AIR AMERICA was a Air America unit
for AIR AMERICA
For date 680112
USAF was a US Air Force unit
Description: Phou Pha Thi, LS-85, was one of four USAF TACAN sites in Laos. Officially it was an 'Air America communications facility.' This peak, considered sacred to the Hmong, is located about 25 miles east of Sam Neua city and close to the border with North Vietnam. The site was considered virtually impregnable by the CIA and the Air Force. It had a sheer escarpment on one side and steep cliffs on two others. The fourth approach was guarded by Hmong solders reinforced by Thai artillery. It was one of the most top-secret installations in all of Southeast Asia. Built in August 1966, it became operational on 1 Nov 1967.
On 12 Jan, the NVA used two Soviet-built AN-2 'Colt' aircraft to bomb the installations at Phou Pha Thi. These aircraft were single-engine biplanes modified to release 120mm mortar rounds through a tube in the floor. The rounds would arm in the slipstream and detonate on impact. Only slight damage was done to the TACAN site, but several Hmong were killed by the exploding ordnance. The two planes were shot down.
The NVA were not easily discouraged. As part of their current general offensive, they had ground forces encircle the mountain. With bombing of North Vietnam likely to increase as a result of the Tet Offensive, the NVA were interested in destroying the site.
The attack come on the night of 10 March 1968. We were airlifted off at daylight the morning of 11 March 1968. From John G. Daniel, USAF retired E-6
The source for this information was Code-Name BRIGHT LIGHT P:191+
Additional information is available on CD-ROM.
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