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Turning Night into Day: Candlesticks, Lamplighters and Blind Bats

The enemy used the cover of darkness to move and attack. In Laos, Air Force flareships played an important role in lighting the night sky over friendly positions.

Flareship crews also directed night air strikes, often against trucks on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. They used night observation devices -- or "Starlight scopes" -- to detect the enemy, then dropped flares to mark and reveal the targets to strike aircraft.

Two USAF units performed the flareship mission in Laos and on occasion in North Vietnam. The 606th Special Operations Squadron flew C-123Ks under the call sign "Candlestick." Elements in the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing flew C-130 flareship missions under the call sign "Blind Bat" or "Lamplighter."

Click here to return to the Gunships Overview.

Please note Springfield Street, the road that leads to the museum’s entrance, is undergoing construction through the beginning of September. Expect lane reductions and some delays. Please follow the signs and instructions provided by the road crews.

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