T-28 Trojan Foundation

"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.)

Honorable Craig W. Duehring was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame April 12, 2014.  Click here for his full biography.
"Nevermore - The Story of the Raven FAC's and the Secret War in Laos"  click here for transcript by Hon. Craig W. Duehring
In Gratitude to the Crews of Air America: A Speech to an Air America Symposium
- Craig W. Duehring

The following was a speech Mr. Duehring delivered to participants, including many veterans of Air America service, in a symposium held at the University of Texas at Dallas on 18 April 2009.

As a presidential appointee, I usually speak from a position of having access to the latest policy, or at least I have the implied aura of representing a subject that I deal with every day. In layman’s terms, the audience assumes that I know what I’m talking about. This audience is very different. Here I am speaking to a group of peers — of people who have assembled here because of their common experience during a unique

period of American history. This period burst on the scene because of countless factors, now visible only through a close examination of history, which provided an opportunity for each person in this room. Like the Robert Frost poem, we faced a fork in the road and, for whatever reason, we chose our destiny. The consequences of this choice still evolve and, indeed, bring us together tonight.

So, what I thought I would do was give you a glimpse into what a Raven saw when he looked at the people who made up Air America. For you were certainly a major, major player in what we accomplished in the 6 - 7 years that the Raven program and its predecessor, the Butterfly program, was in existence.1 As I think back to my time at Long Tieng, every picture includes a vision of an Air America aircraft. 

click here for the full story
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Craig Duehring sitting on the wing of a Chao Pha Khao AT-28D Long Tieng, Laos 1970
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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.