Karl Polifka book signing during the dedication of the T-28 static display honoring the Chao Pha Khao Hmong pilots. Aviation Heritage Center, Sheboygan, WI. September 20, 2014
Nevermore Until Tomorrow - Postscript
excerpt from Don Moody's The Great Adventures of Bob and Don
On 12 June 1969, Raven FAC Karl Polifka was overhead in a U-17 for several hours. Out of rockets, he was headed back to Long Tieng. As he turned for home, he heard a desperate call for assistance. His backseater was a former site commander and had raised a group of Laotian soldiers on the VHF radio. It was one of the Moung Soui units and they were in a tenuous situation. Most of the troops had become separated from the main unit and they had a large contingent of refugees with them. There was also a small squad that was four kilometers from the main position that was surrounded by an NVA company. The squad was visible, waving their arms from the trench they had dug. Lots of muzzle flashes were observed from the ridges above them.
Polifka was able to get a flight of four F-4Es, and being out of WP rockets, marked the target by flying very low over the bad guys and rocking his wings at the precise area where he wanted the F-4s to drop their ordnance. The Mk82 accuracy was awesome. They finished off by hosing
the few remaining muzzle flashes with 20mm. The FAR unit rejoined the main group and the commander confirmed that night that there were about 60 bad guys killed by the airstrike.
The FAC was now seriously low on fuel and decided to land at Site 108 and get some gas rather than risk running out between Site 108 and 20 Alternate. Imagine his surprise when he found that there was no fuel at 108. Working against the clock, as night was coming on, he found an old oil can and managed to tip enough empty drums to get a few gallons of fuel into the U-17. When he got back to Long Tieng he had the radio operator send a message to Vientiane wanting to know what happened to the gas at Site 108. They came back and said that Moung Soui was “about to be overrun” and they had stopped fuel delivery a week before.
Helen Murphy © 2009-2021 All Rights Reserved
Retired USAF Col. Karl Polifka's new book, "Meeting Steve Canyon...And Flying With The CIA In Laos" provides his personal and factual insight into the daily, and often times, grinding operations of the Ravens during the covert war in Laos. He describes with precision and intensity the dangers encountered. You feel as if you're sitting in the cockpit of the O-1 or T-28 with him during his missions dodging AAA, or sitting in General Vang Pao's house for dinner while listening to the next day's briefing. You will meet other Ravens, hear of casualties, battles won and the wear and tear on both aircraft and the pilots. You will gain an immense respect for their bravery and air combat skills. Karl's book is a welcome addition to the Raven's history defining their important role within the CIA's clandestine paramilitary support, fighting along side the Hmong, defending Laos against the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese invasion. - Helen Murphy
(click on book cover to order, available in paperback or kindle).
Birds of a Feather
Their call sign was Raven and this is their incredible story: