I was at the 74th Comm Group (7/13AF Pacaf Hat).I was responsible for supporting Gene R and Col Tyrell at Vientien, Laos. I also, directly supported, the CIA when they had any special project. The Pakse facility was run by a CIA fellow from Louisiana. Most of the CIA FOLKS went only by a first name. I may have his name somewhere in some files that are stored.
Pakse was our support facility for the TACAN site Channel 72. Itwas the closest support facility site to the TACAN. We had two Philipinos who fueled the generator for the TACAN facility. We provided them with an HF radio for any emergency situation. Without my notes I cannot give you specific dates of "when" things happened to Channel 72 but I can tell you the details of what happened to it.
One day it just went off the air. This meant that (1) thePhilipinos got scared and ran away, (2) There was an equipment failure with either the generator or the TACAN and (3) The "BAD GUYS had over-run the site.
The TACAN was maintained by USAF personnel at UDORN. We knew wehad to go to the site to assess its status. The CIA provided a "PORTER" turbo prop STOL aircraft and had a helicopter on call for our ascent to the mountain top to make any necessary repairs. Our first priority was to make a fly-over with the Porter. If it was determined it was Unfriendly then the helicopter would not be needed.
On our team we had an EOD guy to defuse any booby traps, a technicianand myself. We made three passes over the site; the last one being at tree-top level. This last pass was a bit dicey as the brits would say. There appeared to be at least 4 Bad-Guys who opened up on the Porter with AK-47's. The Windshield was blown out and that pilot could not get out of there fast enough. Those familiar with the Porter know how slow it moved. After landing in Pakse, we counted the holes in the plane. We stopped our count at 165. We knew we would not be needing the helicopter that day.
After two failed sortee attempts to destroy the Channel 72 site,my commander, Col Bolger, at the 7/13th AF morning staff meetings asked why was it so difficult to take out a stationary target. It was finally destroyed on the 3rd sortee attempt.
I also completed TACAN site surveys at PAPA Site 22 and PAPA Site (??) just west and above the Ho Chi Min Trail. After the closing of Mukdahan, Thailand (across from Savanakhet, Laos), I installed a TRC-35 Comm relay to support the CIA/Sanitized USAF operation at Savanakhet. The Chinese cook there made the best soup and salad lunch I have ever had anywhere. The TRC-35 was a shot to the Army run Phu Mu hill-top comm site above the Mekong river.
Communications Engineer/Radar/NAVAIDS/Computers/NKP 66-67(Det 5 - Invert) NKP 68-69(Task Force Alpha) Udorn 69-70-71 Plans/Programs/Communications/Engineering