Past News                          


This page contains previous items featured on the Latest News page. 

Dear friends from the Air America,

Since 24 August 2015, the final versions of my 2 e-books about CAT and Air America are on the web. You can find the final version of the 5th edition of The Aircraft of Air America and the final version of the  2nd edition of The History of Air America.

So what is new?

This final version of the fifth edition of The Aircraft of Air America, dated 24 August 2015, contains the following new information:

This final version of the second edition of The History of Air America, dated 24 August 2015, includes 4 new files published here for the first time:

While the file about Air America in Thailand follows the same pattern as the files about Air America in Laos or South Vietnam, so is arranged by contracts, types of operations, and periods of time, the 3 new files called Company Management, Administration, and Ground Support I, II, and III try to explain how CAT, Air Asia, and Air America were functioning behind the visible world of the flight crews – at Washington, at Taipei and on the level of an Air America base or station. At the same time, these files try to list all people who worked at a certain position at a certain place. As these lists are not based on any official Company roster of employees, but only on those documents that were available to me, this information is necessarily incomplete.

What else is new in this “final” version of my History of Air America?

So have fun!

Dr. Joe Leeker


The association was recently contacted by Karen Weissenback Moen. She is the widow of AFS Edward Weissenback, who along with Capt. Ritter, FO Townley, and AFD Khamphanh Saysongkham, remains listed as MIA (AA #293 crash).

"The American families are interested in trying to locate the family of Mr. Khamphanh Saysongkham, who we believe was a Thai national. We may have news to share with them within the next year or two. We are wondering if there is a way to put a notice on the Air America website and/or in the next newsletter that we are trying to locate the family of Mr. Khamphanh Saysongkham and, if whereabouts are known, to please contact either Phillipe Ritter or me. Working through the Air American Association may offer the best chance of trying to locate Mr. Saysongkham's family members.

Thank you for considering our request. Karen Moen ( and Phillipe Ritter ("


The association was recently contacted by a member of the Bonafonte family looking for stories or individuals who know José Francisco ´Joe´ Bonafonte or Carlos ´Charles´Bonafonte. They were both working for Air America, in Pakse, Bangkok, Udorn Thani, Vientiane... 


Udorn Reunion to be held in Michigan in July 2011

We are pleased to inform our friends at Air America that our Udorn Research Group has sparked another Udorn Reunion and we wish to extend a special invitation to you. The gathering will meet at the Soaring Eagle Casino Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan July 24 thru 26, 2011. Rick O’Hare (USMC, Udorn 1961) will again be host along with Jerry Long (USAF, 1974, 1975). Some attendees will be from USMC units from which some Air America pilots and crews were initially chosen during the early months of 1961. Our Reunion will present special tribute to the 1961 deployments of 50 years ago.

Units of Air America, USMC, USA, USAF, USN, USCG that served at Udorn, Ramasun and Thailand are all invited. USMC, Col. (ret) Roger Holtzapple will be guest speaker on opening night and we will also consider other speakers for additional meetings during the three days.

Udorn Reunion Banner

Udorn Reunion Flyer

AFIO Bulletin Information about Reunion Symposium

Thursday, 2 June 2011, 5:30 to 9 pm - Dayton, OH - CIA Symposium on "Stories of Sacrifice and Dedication: Civil Air Transport, Air America, and the CIA"

The CIA, in partnership with the National Museum of the USAF, presents a symposium which pays tribute to the sacrifice and dedication of Civil Air Transport (CAT) and Air America (AA). These special CIA proprietaries were essential for covert operations, providing search and rescue, and photo reconnaissance in east and southeast Asia from the end of WWII through the Vietnam War. The highlight of the event will be the public release of 900 recently declassified documents from CAT and AA corporate files and CIA holdings spanning 1946 to 1978.
LOCATION: At the National Museum of USAF at Wright-Paterson AFB, Dayton, OH. Craig Duehring, retired Asst Secretary of the Air Force serves as keynote speaker. Mr. Duehring served as a USAF forward air controller in South Vietnam and Laos and will share his personal story of being rescued by Air America. Gen. (ret.) John Singlaub, one of CIA's original officers, will be a featured speaker. Gen. Singlaub, CIA's chief of operations for Asia after WWII, oversaw CAT missions throughout the area. The focus of the event will be two specific stories that exemplify the themes of sacrifice and dedication.

News from Australia - Flooding

Wayne & Laraine Webb live in Australia and are located in the hardest hit area.  They appear to have come through it all well.  They were without communication for a while but it has been reestablished an they consider themselves very fortunate.

submitted by Wayne & Lai Knight 1/11/2011

Model Air America Aircraft Available

I came across this Pilatus Porter with AAm decals, model airplane kit and thought it may be something other members would be interested in. Maybe the webmaster can post the link below. 

It appears to be a fairly decent model. It’s for display only, not radio controlled. (I had given Gene Britzius the plans to build a wooden flying RC model of the Porter. Unfortunately he was dispatched to the big Lima Site in the Sky before he could finish building it. I’m sure most of you remember Gene’s very keen interest and phenomenal skill at building RC aircraft.)

I do NOT think this model requires paint. However, further down the web page there is list for paint – yet NO BLUE is listed. * Paint: (Aluminum Polish, Burnt Metal, Black, Light Gray, Field Green, Gull Gray, Steel, Matte Rust, Chrome Silver, Clear Red, Clear Green) Our AAm birds would need blue to be accurate, so that makes me think this list is universal to all aircraft models and not necessarily required for this model. I’m open to suggestions as to which shade of blue would be authentic AAm livery. This same website list 248 blue paints!

A variety of decals are included to depict different serial numbers (#238, N365F, & N3612R). The model company specifically mentions the Mel Gibson movie and that might be enough to make most real AAm types avoid buying this model. No blame from me if they do. But since this configuration is hard to find, I am going to purchase the kit anyway and use another actual Porter number from the existing decals. (Like N12235, N195X, N198X, N358F, N359F, N367F, N383R, or N393R just to name a few. N365F & N3612R are supplied and are good to go since they have nothing to do with that crap movie.)

Please post the source if anyone finds a Helio (AAm colors not pertinent once I get my hands on these other “Air America” decals.)

Britt Duncan Dependant of AAm Capt Joe Duncan DC-3s, Helios, & Porters 1964-74 Vientiane, Laos

Looking for information about John Kessock

My name is Leslie Baker. My father was John O. Kessock. His friends knew him as Jack. He was in Japan flying in and out of Tachikowa into Laos with Air America from somewhere between 1966 or 67 until the pullout. My sister and I along with our mom lived in Yakota AFB and went to school in Tachikowa. I read a brief story written by a man named Tony Durizzi whom almost certainly knew my dad. Dad flew DC 9's and Connie's in and out of Tachikowa in the uniform Southern Air Transport. We all knew later it was a cover. He also had his Air America uniform. He flew Caribou in Vietnam and Laos. Dad's best friend as I remember (very clearly at that) was a man named Swede Larson. I have been searching for anyone who knew my dad and may even have some pictures taken of him at work. We lost dad the early part of January 1987. Dad never threw the cigarettes away and had suffered a stroke...which he initially survived, but later suffered a series of strokes that took him. My very last memories of dad were waving goodbye to him from our plane window at Tokyo airport as we flew home to Florida. Mom and dad's marriage ended during this time. I never saw my dad again. We spoke on the phone but I never saw him again. For anyone out there who remembers my dad I am his daughter leslie and am pretty much the spitting image of him. Please write me here at my email address should you find anyone who remembers my dad. Thank you very much.....Leslie (Kessock) Baker

A message from Ernie Brace

On Sunday 17OCT2010 I was inducted into the Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor in McMinnville, Oregon at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. If you're interested this is a Link to the announcement. Also my book "A CODE TO KEEP" is available on Amazon Kindle now.

Regards and GBU all.  Ernie Brace

Update from Dr. Joe Leeker

Chief Etchberger to receive Medal of Honor

Chief Master Sergeant Richard L. Etchberger, who was killed in action in 1968 in Laos, will posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor on Sept. 21, the White House announced Friday.

Etchberger will be honored with the nation’s highest award for valor for his actions on March 11, 1968.

Read the rest of the story here.

Read a story at

Watch a video at


Online Veteran Benefits Websites

Here is a list of veteran benefits related websites.

Air America Association Election

A report from Mr. Jack Knotts, Air America Association Nominating Committee Chairman:

The Membership Secretary reports that the association voting results show:

Mr. Bob Noble has been elected to serve as the next President of the Air America Association Board of Directors

Mr. Ben Densley has been elected to serve as a Board Member of the Air America Association Board of Directors

Civil Service Benefits Update

The President signed the National Defense Authorization Act on October 28th. This Act, designated as P.L. 111-84, contained Section 1057, Air America Report, the first step milestone toward granting Civil Service Retirement Benefits to qualified CAT/Air America employees.

Now there are several other milestones which must be reached. The next is to receive report from the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) that would hopefully recommend that these benefits be granted and provide proposed legislation and a cost estimate to the Congress to make this happen. The time limit here is no later than six months (180 days from October 28th)

Once this report is received, a benefits bill must be introduced which would (1) detail the general rules the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) must follow to establish regulations to administer this retirement program. And (2) provide for necessary funding arrangements . The bill, most likely to be attached to must pass legislation such as a DOD authorization or appropriation bill, would then make its way through Congress in the usual manner to be signed by the President. This milestone could take to the end of 2010 or even into 2011 to occur. We expect that Senator Reid and Congresswomen Shelly Berkley will once again champion the bill through Congress as they have done this year for the Report Bill.

It is not practical at this time to establish time lines for the remaining milestones which must take place before actual benefit checks might be received.
As all of our Association Members who have paid attention to and participated in this effort to reach this milestone will know, the spearhead of the action are three gentlemen who have contributed their time and talents so generously. Bill Merrigan, Ward Reimer and Gary Bisson have earned our sincere gratitude.

For older news please contact webmaster at

#home  › Past News