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Support from a Distance: PROJECT WATER PUMP

In 1964, the US Air Force began providing aircraft and flight instruction to the Royal Lao Air Force (RLAF). Under the codename WATER PUMP, USAF Air Commandos at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base (RTAFB), Thailand, trained RLAF, Thai, and other Lao forces. Eventually, this included this included the Hmong and one Khmu airmen.

WATER PUMP later expanded the training to include maintenance, forward air control, armed reconnaissance, and close air support strikes by USAF Air Commandos.               

WATER PUMP lasted from 1964 to 1973 and despite the program’s minimal expense, it is considered one of the most successful counterinsurgency programs conducted during secret war in Laos. 

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