"Whether he was setting an altitude record for the O-1 (19,720 feet) or making a dangerous low pass to help a friend in need, he flew his aircraft to the limits as though it was simply the only way to fly."
- Col. (Ret.) Craig W. Duehring
(Excerpt from the 2012 Fall Publication of the Air Commando Journal, pages 29-33. For the full story by Col. Duehring click above on the blue Raven 26. Once on the Journal page, use the arrows on top to turn pages.)
Helen Murphy © 2009-2021 All Rights Reserved
Craig Duehring sitting on the wing of a Chao Pha Khao AT-28D Long Tieng, Laos 1970
Ask any fighter pilot or Forward Air Controller from the Vietnam era and he’ll tell you that he heard about it. While the war in Vietnam ebbed and flowed with alternating violence and boredom, there was a rumor of another war, somewhere else, where men flew long hours in propeller aircraft without markings into constant danger in a land where adventure reigned supreme, where common sense replaced the hated Rules of Engagement and where a man could finally test the limits of his abilities. These pilots were few in number and their call sign was Raven.
This is the wartime autobiography of one of the few pilots ever to fly under that now famous call sign. Craig Duehring lived and flew out of the guerilla headquarters at Long Tieng, Laos, in support of the iconic Hmong leader, Major General Vang Pao, for a longer tour of duty than any other Raven. During that time, he knew many of the most notable Ravens and participated in many tragic events of the day – including the famous “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.”
This is the story of how one young man, coming of age in a time of war, left the farm country of southern Minnesota and embarked on a career as an Air Force pilot during the height of the Vietnam War. Equally as important as the combat he experienced is his personal triumph over repeated obstacles and near disasters to achieve his dream that will be a source of inspiration for young readers everywhere.