Time of Remembrance – Jim Lemon
Interview with Jim Lemon as part of the Secret War Oral History Project.
00:00 – Introduction
00:44 – Clip 1: Jim describes the location of the air base where he was stationed northeast of Thailand in Nakhon Phanom, where he began flying missions in the spring of 1967.
03:39 – Clip 2: Explains why he was probably chosen to be a Raven.
05:18 – Clip 3: Pulls out a map of Southeast Asia and shows where both airbases are located.
10:17 – Clip 4: Explains the movement of the Ravens from the Plain of Jars to the Lao capital of Vientiane to receive an orientation to the country and to learn what their assignments would consist of.
13:39 – Clip 5: Talks about the reason the Ravens were in Laos and discusses a book called Back Fire by Roger Warner which he believes provides an accurate description of how and why the United States got involved in Southeast Asia.
17:26 – Clip 6: Discusses the methods the U.S. used to maintain the status quo without a heavy military presence in Laos, especially through aerial bombing.
24:41 – Clip 7: Discusses the relationships of the Embassy and that it was extremely “laid back.”
31:47 – Clip 8: Continues to explain some of the different Laotian tribes and the conflicts between them.
32:36 – Clip 9: Recalls the differences between fighting in northern Laos with the Hmong versus southern Laos with the Laos Theung.
38:57 – Clip 10: Begins to discuss his familiarity with the Laotian region due to previous experiences in the area and his eagerness to work in northern Laos as a Raven.
49:57 – Clip 11: Describes his home base versus some of the other sites that pilots worked out of in Laos.
52:53 – Clip 12: Recalls specific missions he was a part of, including preventing the North Vietnamese from rebuilding a road to infiltrate the Mekong River Valley.
55:49 – Clip 13: Describes some of the standard missions that the pilots were involved in and what the best methods were to achieve their goals.
58:25 – Clip 14: Recalls his work on the Plain of Jars and General Vang Pao’s goal in controlling/defending it during the wet season.
1:02:33 – Clip 15: Discusses some of the other missions he participated in, including Muang Kham and the measures taken to protect the base.
1:06:58 – Clip 16: Remembers the role of Commander Le’s troops and how the North Vietnamese would use the Embassy (Sam Neua/Xam Neua) as a safety zone. He further remembers the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam and his role in that.
1:11:29 – Clip 17: Explains an incident including commando club (Combat Sky Club). He describes the process so they could secretly bomb Hanoi.
1:21:21 – Clip 18: Discusses the political conflict involved in the type of fighting to be used in the war.
1:28:01 – Clip 19: Describes living in Luang Chen and the adjustment for tribal groups of transitioning from an agricultural society to a city.
1:36:50 – Credits