Helicopters form much of the American support effort for the South Vietnamese operation in Laos.?
LA AND SV Helicopters take off from Khe Sanh (natural sound of pilots talking)
AIR TO AIR Helicopter in flight (SOF continues)
AIR TO AIR Helicopter fires rockets into enemy position on hillside (SOF continues)
GV helicopters lined up at Khe Sanh airstrip (mute)
SV AND CU US Airmen wearing traditional cowboy-style cavalry hat (2 shots mute)
CU Cavalry captain John Stolp interviewed SOF STARTS:
TRANSCRIPT: REPORTER (SEQ. 6): "Captain has anyone said flat out, 'I won't go to Laos'?"
CAPTAIN STOLP: "Yes they have. I've had a crew member just a few minutes ago that refused to fly into Laos, and the AOE was short, and he did not want to go."
REPORTER: "What do you do in a case like that?".
CAPTAIN STOLP: "Well, what I did, I just told him I did not want him in the platoon any more, and put him on perimeter detail or perimeter guard and he accepted that."
REPORTER: "Is this a problem with a number of the men in the platoon, or what?".
CAPTAIN STOLP: "No, that's a negative, because most of the people, I think, want to fly and will do what they're told, but of course there's always a few, a small percentage that doesn't want to fly into a dangerous area, so they don't and that's that."
Initials BW/2134 BW/2155
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Helicopters form much of the American support effort for the South Vietnamese operation in Laos. Cobra gunships based in the hilly terrain around Khe Sanh near the Laotian border with South Vietnam daily fly fire support missions across the border into Laos. Many of the Americans say this is among the most dangerous flying they have ever done because of the intense anti-aircraft defences around the primary target -- the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The shots in this film of helicopters flying fire missions were in fact taken in South Vietnam as reporters are forbidden to accompany American pilots into Laos.
One Air Cavalry unit officer, Captain John Stolp, operating out of Khe Sanh was interviewed on Monday (15 February) about the dangers of flying into Laos.