Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about the airline. See Air America (movie) for the movie and Air America Radio for the liberal radio network.
Air America was an airline secretly owned by the CIA that supplied covert operations in Southeast Asia during the Second Indochina War. It was created in 1959 when the CIA reorganized the Thailand-based assets of Civil Air Transport as a separate airline. From 1959 to 1975 it supplied operations throughout the region, but primarily the Secret War in Laos. It inserted and extracted personnel, transported troops and refugees, and flew photo reconnaissance missions that provided valuable intelligence on enemy activities. It is alleged to have transported opium and heroin, although veterans deny that this was done intentionally.
By the summer of 1970, the airline had some two dozen twin-engine transports, another two dozen short-take off-and-landing aircraft, and 30 helicopters dedicated to operations in Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos. There were more than 300 pilots, copilots, flight mechanics, and airfreight specialists based in Laos and Thailand. During 1970, Air America delivered 46 million pounds (20,000 t) of food in Laos. Helicopter flight time reached more than 4,000 hours a month in the same year. When North Vietnamese forces overran South Vietnam in 1975, Air America helicopters evacuated the embassy in Saigon.
- Air America web site
- Online Archive Materials about Air America in the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech
- The CAT / Air America Archive
- Supporting the "Secret War" (CIA Center for Studies in Intelligence)
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