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Nakhon Phanom During The Secret War 1962-1975

606th Special Operations Squadron


Text and pictures by Dick Saunders & Phil French


Dick Saunders
In 1969, I was assigned to the 606th Special Operations Squadron located at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand. It was originally designated the 606th Air Commando Squadron until August of 1968.

In 1969, the 606th SOS was composed of two sections. The C-123 Flare ships, call sign Candlesticks and the U-10 Heilo Courier, call sign Loudmouth/Litterbugs. The 606th SOS main area of operation was the country of Laos during The Secret War.

606th Crews At NKP TUOC Briefing August 1969
Photo by Phil French

Left to Right: 606th Pilots: Phil French, Jim Register and Ken "Yogi" Johnson and our four leaflet kickers.  Send names if you know them.


Lt. Don Maxwell while we were TDY to USAID in the Golden Triangle Burma, Thailand, Laos

I was crewchief of a U-10 which is a small light utility aircraft with short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities. The U-10's of the 606th SOS were not apinted and had no markings to identify them as United States or USAF aircraft. They were often mistaken for Air America's planes. We never carried nor wore any identify which would identify us as American Military personnel while in Laos.

The U-10's of the 606th SOS primary mission was psychological warfare dropping leaflets and loudspeaker propaganda broadcasting. We could carry a couple of passengers or drop a couple of airborne troops when
required. Unually they were Air Force Combat Controllers. The 606th SOS U-10's maintained a regular mail run to one particular special forces camp and courier missions to other bases, ending in Bangkok, Thailand.

Chinese 37MM AAA Gun lowered into TUOC Sep 69
Captured from the NVA on the Plain De Jars Laos: Photo by Phil French


I will always remember Leaflets Packing Parties when we boxed different types of leaflets and rigged the boxes to open at certain altitudes. We would pack and rig a lot of boxes at one of these parties and consumed a lot of beer while doing it!! Maybe that is why they did not always open properly!


606th - Over The Fence