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Air America Upholding the Airmen's Bond

Air America Upholding the Airmen's Bond

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Published by Chuck Achberger

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Published by: Chuck Achberger on Oct 23, 2012
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07/18/2013

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AIR AMERICA
UPHOLDING THE AIRMEN’S BOND
Ground Crew ...............................................................................................2The Airmen’s Bond ....................................................................................5Pre-Flight Checklist ....................................................................................7Rescue Flights: Expressions of Gratitude ....................................21Final Flights ...................................................................................................29Flights Yet Taken .........................................................................................47Last Flights: In Memorium ...................................................................57
 
2AIR AMERICA3UPHOLDING THE AIRMEN’S BOND
The History Staff in the CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence fosters understanding of  the Agency’s history and its relationship to today’s intelligence challenges by communicatinginstructive historical insights to the CIA workforce, other US Government agencies, and thepublic. CIA historians research topics on all aspects of Agency activities and disseminate their 
knowledge through publications, courses, briengs, and Web-based products. They also work 
with other Intelligence Community historians on publication and education projects thathighlight interagency approaches to intelligence issues. Lastly, the CIA History Staff conductsan ambitious program of oral history interviews that are invaluable for preserving institu- tional memories that are not captured in the documentary record.
The Historical Collections Division (HCD) of the Ofce of Information Management Ser 
-vices is responsible for executing the CIA’s Historical Review Program. This program seeks to
identify, collect, and review for possible release to the public signicant historical information.
The mission of HCD is to:
Provide an accurate, objective understanding of the information and intelligence that has
helped shape the foundation of major US policy decisions.
Improve access to lessons learned, presenting historical material to emphasize the scope
and context of past actions.
Improve current decision-making and analysis by facilitating reection on the impacts and
effects arising from past decisions,
Uphold Agency leadership commitments to openness, while protecting the national secu
-rity interests of the US,
Provide the American public with valuable insight into the workings of their Government.
The symposium, “Air America: Upholding the Airmen’s Bond,” comes on the heels of a decades-long effort to declassify approxi-mately 10,000 CIA documents on the airline.These papers—many of which have never been seen by the public or scholars outsideof the CIA—will join the History of AviationCollection (HAC) at the Eugene McDermottLibrary at The University of Texas at Dallas.It is a special honor that the Civil Air Trans-port (CAT) and Air America associations,whose members are former employees of  the airline and their relatives, asked the CIA togive these papers to UT Dallas. The decision
reects the strong relationship that already 
exists between the CAT and Air Americaassociations and the library’s Special Collec- tions staff. In 1985 the HAC became the of-
cial repository of the Civil Air Transport/Air America Archives and CAT/Air America sur 
-vivors raised $15,000 for a large memorialplaque featuring the names of the 240 em-ployees who lost their lives as civilians during their service in Southeast Asia. In 1987 theplaque was dedicated at McDermott Library during a solemn ceremony.The History of Aviation Collection is consid-
ered one of the nest research archives on
aviation history in the U.S. It comprises:
18,000-20,000 cataloged books4,000-plus magazine and periodical titles500,000 photographs and negatives2,000 lms4,000 boxes of archived materials
In 1963 George Haddaway, founder and
managing editor of Flight magazine, donatedhis les and a collection of rare rst edition
aviation books to UT Austin. In 1978 the mil-lion-item collection of Vice Admiral CharlesE. Rosendahl was added to the HAC but fa-cilities in Austin were inadequate to properly hold it. The collection moved to UT Dallasbecause it had considerable space in its newMcDermott Library.In an effort to relieve the library’s SpecialCollections of its growing artifacts and toprovide better public access, UT Dallas madea long-term loan of most of the Rosendahlartifacts to launch the Frontiers of Flight Mu-seum at Love Field in Dallas.The prominence of the Rosendahl holdings
attracted members of the CAT/Air America
associations to select the HAC for their of-
cial archives and memorial. This prestigefurther boosted the HAC’s signicance and
research value to students and scholars and
prompted additional signicant donations.Upon the death of WWII hero Gen. James H.“Jimmy” Doolittle in 1993, the library receivedhis personal correspondence, lm and pho
-
 tographs and copies of his scientic research
papers, as well as his desk, chair, uniform, andMedal of Honor. This represents the only ma- jor collection of the general’s memorabilia
and personal les outside federal facilities
such as the Library of Congress.Now with the newly declassified CIA docu-ments, the History of Aviation Collectionhas strengthened its position as holding thepremier archive on Civil Air Transport andAir America.
The History of Aviation Collection at The University of Texas at Dallas
 
4AIR AMERICA5UPHOLDING THE AIRMEN’S BOND
Quietly and courageously throughout the
long and difficult Vietnam War, Air Amer 
-ica, a secretly owned air proprietary of  the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),remained the indispensable instrument of CIA’s clandestine mission. This legacy iscaptured in a recent CIA Director’s state-ment that the Agency’s mission is to “ac-complish what others cannot accomplish
and go where others cannot go.” While
some of Air America’s work may never bepublicly acknowledged, much of the compa-ny’s critical role in wartime rescue missionscan now be revealed. This joint symposiumwith the CIA and The University of Texas atDallas provides a forum for the release of  thousands of pages of heretofore unavail-able documents on Air America’s relation-ship with the Central Intelligence Agency.Moreover, the symposium brings together many Air America veterans, a number of men rescued by Air America, and the CIA“customers” who often placed their livesand missions in the hands of this once-se-cret air proprietary.Air America crews were not required tomonitor military emergency radio calls, fly  to the location of military personnel in dis- tress, or place their lives at risk of enemy ground-fire and possible capture. They re-ceived no extra compensation for rescuework and sometimes lost wages for their efforts. However, in their flying community it was enough to know that a downed avia- tor was in trouble and that airmen shouldalways come to the aid of other airmen. Itwas simply the Airmen’s Bond.
 T he A irmen ’s  Bond
 K e i t h  Woodcoc k 
 Dona ted Cour tes y o f   t he A ir Amer ica Assoc ia t ion  Board
 The  Airmens Bond 
dep ic ts  t he  hero ism o f  an A ir Amer ica  U H- 3 4 D cre w conduc t in  t he rescue o f   t wo  U S A ir 
 Force A1 E a t tac k  a ircra f  t p i lo ts. O ver head,a  “ R a ven ”  f or ward a ir con tro l ler   y in an O-1 o bser va t ion p lane d irec ts  t wo A ir Amer ica-p i lo ted  T- 28 Ds  in s tra n runs aa ins t ad vanc in Commun is t  f orces.  T he rescue  ta k es p lace on 
 t he 
Plaine des  Jarres,
 a cr i t ica l Commun is t supp l y rou te  in  t he  h i h p la teau o f  nor t h-cen tra l  Laos.  From 1 96 4  to 1 965,  w hen  t he  U S m i l i tar y  had  f e w  SA R  a ircra f  t  in  t he re ion,A ir Amer ica rescued  21 Amer ican p i lo ts.

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