The Air America Creed
The 1962 Geneva Accords prevented U.S. Navy and Air Force helicopters to be stationed in Laos and often were too far away for quick rescues. Getting a downed aviator out as fast as possible was essential, or he would most probably be captured and killed. Consequently, the Department of State ordered Air America, a USG Corporation, to conduct SAR operations in Northern Laos. Air America was a quasi-military air force providing necessary logistical support for USG military units and plausible deniability for the President and his administration. Whenever there was an American aviator down all work stopped, and the Search & Rescue helicopters had to go, even if it meant going into North Vietnam. Air America's fixed wing crews often assisted with spotting and acting as overhead command posts. SAR was their assigned mission, but there was more involved than dedication and due diligence. There is a sense of duty, a moral obligation among aviators to assist those in peril. Air America’s motto was Anything, Anytime, Anywhere-Professionally but the Air America Creed was they would act quickly and decisively to rescue a downed aviator against all the odds, because next time it might be them on the ground. Air America SAR activity lasted from 1964 until 1974 when the war in Laos ended. The rescue aircraft were unarmed and missions often conducted with a single pilot. Many downed aviators owe their life to Air America.
The following is a list of articles, letters, and other supporting documentation about specific Air America Rescue Missions that took place during the war in Vietnam and Laos.
Days at Long Tieng by Dan Williams
The Story of M. S. "Beetle" Bailey, Air America Air Freight Specialist (Kicker)
Letter from Larry Fraser on Air America Request for Military Veteran Status
MIssion over Laos by Jim Richmond
Letter from Major General Richard Secord dated August 26, 2004
Letter from Ted Hellmers dated August 31, 2004
Bob Noble's Rescue of F-4 crew in Laos
AN EXCEPTIONALLY TAXING DAY: The Rescue of BULLWHIP 01 By Dick Casterlin, Air America Association
Letter of Appreciation for Air America Rescue of Laredo 14 dated December 28, 1970 from the Department of the Air Force
Extra Duty with Air America by Francisco Barangan
Air America Flight Mechanics, 1972
A Night to Remember: “SPECTRE 22” RESCUE by Sgt. Robert D. Jacobs, Gunner, AC-130E Gunship
BULLWHIP 01 by Allen Cates, Air America Associaiton
CHECO Report: The Fall of Lima Site 85
It’s long past time to help Air America vets with retirement by Steve Sebelius, Las Vegas Review-Journal
List of Air America Line of Duty Deaths
Air America -- "Anything, Anytime, Anywhere, Professionally."