James L. Baker
Operations Manager, 1962-1965
BACKGROUND: 1958-1962. During this period, worked in close liaison with BGen Aderholt (then Major) and Air America/CAT personnel.
As a "Customer" was assigned to Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, as Chief, Special Projects 1802, Kadena Air Base. Assignment included operational support for special operations USAF squadron, commanded by BGen Harry C. Aderholt (then Major), for covert missions and clandestine operations in Southeast Asia. Temporary Additional Duty involving covert operations, run out of Vientiane, Laos, in support of unconventional warfare operations run by General Vang Pao.
TAD to Bon Tak Ly, Thailand, under supervision of BGen Aderholt (then Major), in support of clandestine operations against hostile forces throughout Southeast Asia.
CAT/AIR AMERICA EMPLOYMENT: 1962-1965
Employed as Operations Manager, and trained in Taipei and Tainan, Taiwan, Nationalist China. Operational training was in Taipei, and familiarization training was at Air Asia, Tainan, Taiwan.
Assigned as Operations Manager, Bangkok, Thailand, in 1962. During this period was concurrently Operations Manager for Civil Air Transport (CAT), Air America, Inc., Southern Air Transport (SAT) and for Contract Carriers. Prior to the assignment of permanent Operations Managers to Vientiane, Laos, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Vietnam, handled Air America flight operations for air crews operating in those locations. Fred Walker (Deceased) was Chief Pilot , in Vientiane during this time. Maintained liaison and support for BGen (then Major) and his air operations through Southeast Asia. The CAT office was located at #1 Pat Pong Road (the old Shell building), and my Flight Operations Office was located at Dong Muong Airport, north of Bangkok. We billeted the CAT crews (and some Air America crews) at the Erawan Hotel in downtown Bangkok. We maintained a suite of rooms there on a permanent basis. I was also responsible for liaison and support of "Customer" requests for contract Air America aircraft and flight crews, in support of their covert, and overt, missions, etc. During this time, supplied support for the establishment of Udorn, Thailand, airfield.
While assigned to Bangkok, provided air logistical support for Dr. Tom Dooley, "Pop" Buell, "Tony" Poe, Jack Shirley, and various other "Customers". All of the indicated personalities are now deceased. Also gave support to a Hollywood motion picture crew making a Tarzan movie in Thailand.
Was transferred to Clark Air Base, in The Philippines, where I was involved in Flight Operations handling non-scheduled flights for contract carriers, i.e., World Airways, Flying Tigers, Continental, etc. I also handled scheduled flights for Southern Air Transport, at Clark Air Base, and CAT, Manila. In addition, handled flight operations for BGen (then Major) Aderholt's unconventional warfare air operations, throughout Southeast Asia.
In late 1965, my contract with Air America, Inc., expired, and in January, 1966, I went back to work as a "Customer" and was assigned to Vietnam, where I worked until medically evacuated in July 1971.
Thank you for allowing me to contribute my small experiences, but to me, very significant events in my life.