Throughout the War in Southeast Asia, Communist forces fromNorth Vietnam infiltrated the isolated, neutral state
Laos. Men andsupplies crossed the mountain passes and travelled along an intricate web
roads and jungle paths known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail to the VietCong insurgents in South Vietnam. American involvement in Laos beganwith photo-reconnaissance missions and, as the war in Vietnam intensi-fied, expanded to a series
air-ground operations from bases inVietnam and Thailand against fixed targets and infiltration routes insouthern Laos.
Air Force leaders and aircrews flying interdiction missions overLaotian territory faced a unique set of challenges. Their efforts wereplagued by political controversies, daunting weather, rugged terrain, atenacious foe, and above all a bewildering array of rules of engagementlimiting the effectiveness of air operations.
Interdiction in Southern
examines this complex operational environment. Many
these issues-particularly those relevant to conducting a politicallysensitive, limited war from foreign bases, with a commitment tominimizing civilian casualties-are still relevant today and for theforeseeable future as the modern Air Force meets its responsibilities in
ever-changing global environment.Richard
HallionAir Force Historian