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Explanations for Researchers and other interested persons

Plain English

A concerted effor has been made to keep the Laos List in plain english and to avoid codes or acronyms. This is particularly true of the Detailed Information. However, some unique coding has been used, which is discussed below.

Coding Conventions

This page contains the information conventions used in the data tables and lists. They may be useful for researcher information assessment, or for other persons in understanding a data entry.

  • 1. Question marks -?- after an entry indicates this entry is unsure of or is an educated or logical assumption.
  • Examples:

  • Location: Long Tieng? (LS20A). This says there is reason to believe the person was at Long Tieng but it is not substantially sourced.
  • Raven?. Was this person a Raven?
  • Project 404?. Was this person part of that activity?
  • 2. Blanks indicate no data are available for that field including if a field is partially filled, such as job but no AFSC. For example, information was not readily available on AFSCs of downed Ravens.
  • 3. Year -1969- entries in the "In" and "Out" fields indicate the activity can be narrowed to a year but not a month and year. Question marks indicate uncertainty.
  • 4. If a person is known to have been at a particular location the date is entered in the 'In" field, unless it is known to be an "Out" date.
  • 5. Some dates are relative because there was a lot of moving around. Generally a move from one location to another for over a month is recorded if known.
  • 6. Double Entries indicate two sources that gave different information, such as two ranks.
  • Job Specialty Codes

    This is a real challenge - kind of like going into the swamp where the deeper you go, the more problems you encounter. Each service had their unique job coding system that was generally intelligible only to their own personnel pukes. Further, a member might have multiple job specialty codes reflecting different previous job experiences or training. Due to the vagaries of the personnel systems, or operational needs, the member might be working in a billet that was reflected by none of the member's identifiers. Finally, the databases that recorded Vietnam service are not always correct. And sometimes they did not list MOS information, or the information was not filled in. OK so far?
    Most of the MOS codes in the Laos List came from the Vietnam Veterans Data Base. It is not known when this information was collected or from what sources. In my case, this database reflects a code thqat I possessed, and actuially corresponded to what I was doing in Laos. However, it was not the code for the position I filled. Thus, the codes are provided, when known, as additional information on the people.
    Whenever possible, the Laos List gives the actual job performed, followed by the full Service title of the specialty identifier, followed by its code. Thus, you might have "Forward Air Controller; Pilot 1115B" or "Forward Air Controller; Forward Air Controller 1445" In the latter example, both the job and the identifier name match. Finally, for the new readers. At least in the Air force, the entire specialty code system was revamped a few years ago, so the Vietnam-era codes often do not correspond with current codings. So much for this subject.

    Information Accuracy

    The objective is to create a credible list of participants in the Secret War. In doing so, the compiler has used the tools and techniques learned during some three decades in the intelligence profession. The sole purpose of the list is to document an important part of the War in Southeast Asia - the people that were there. Although its use by researchers is encouraged, it is primarily for these people on the list to remember old acquaintances and co-workers. This information is a compendium of many sources, some that agree and , on occasion, some that conflict. This is the real world of information research. A sincere effort has been made to provide the best information available with as few assumptions as possible. There is no guarantee that it is all correct. In its present form, there are many holes, discrepancies, and possibly incorrect information. As the list develops, many of the voids should be filled and the listings refined. The information has been sourced at the name level in the Detailed Information List. This is not a PhD dissertation; please do not treat it as such. Every information project has a cost. Mine is time to do the research, compile the information and to present it understandably. Therefore, I am relying on the sources to speak for themselves, trusting that the induced errors will be small.


    There is no attempt to establish copyright on these materials due to their intended non-commercial, fraternal and personal use. Some referenced sources are copyright materials. They are so identified in the Source page. If anywone wishes to use the list for other than the intended purpose, please contact the site webmaster before use.

    Privacy Issues

    Personal privacy is very important. Even now, the Secret War in Laos may be controversial in some circles. There is no attempt to impose on this personal privacy. All of these materials are derived from open sources of information or personal knowledge. However, if there is someone that does not want to be recognized as a member of this very special group, please contact me. All contacts documented on the list for the purposes of contacting the persons in a fraternal way. It is not for any type of commercial use.

    Tom Lee
    February 2000

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