- Project 404
name = Project 404
scope = Diplomatic Military Attachés
United States Department of State CIA
Counterinsurgency Foreign internal defense
executed = (?) 1962 - (?) 1975
U.S. Army Attachés U.S. Air Force Attachés
North Vietnamese Armyand Pathet LaoConquest of Royal Lao Government1975
Project 404 was the
code namefor a covert United Statesmilitary advisory mission to Laosduring the later years of the Second Indochina War, which would eventually become known in the United Statesas the Vietnam War. The purpose was to train the Royal Laotian Army as well as indigenous Hmong, and Yao tribesmen to fight the Pathet Lao communist insurgency. This was extended to include combat against the North Vietnamese Army, which was occupying large portions of Laos as a staging, transit and resupply area for its operations in South Vietnam.
Project 404 began sometime after the completion of
Operation White Star, and was smaller in scope. "White Star" began in 1959 as "Operation Hotfoot" with the deployment of 107 United States Army Special Forcessoldiers (Green Berets) of the 77th Special Forces Group —later named the 7th SFG in May 1960—under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Arthur D. "Bull" Simons. Because Laos was ostensibly a neutral party to the conflict between the United States and North Vietnam, the soldiers did not wear United States Armyuniforms.
In 1961, however, the United States lent full and open support to the
Vientianegovernment and the program was renamed "Operation White Star" with U.S. soldiers openly wearing their uniforms. Operation White Star formally ended in July 1962 when Laotian neutrality was officially established. Counterinsurgency efforts were then managed covertly by the Central Intelligence Agencywith direct oversight by William H. Sullivanthe U.S. Ambassadorto Laos.
Civil Air Transport, and Air America were the CIA proprietary airlines which serviced the "customers", including
Royal Lao Armytroops, Laotian civilians, Thai military "volunteers", and the Laotian U.S. Embassy U.S. Army Attachés(ARMA) and U.S. Air ForceAttachés (AIRA) who were covertly assigned to Project 404 as military advisors and technical support.
Battle of Lima Site 85
First Indochina War
International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos
Laotian Civil War(also known as the Secret Warin Laos)
Operation White Star
Ho Chi Minh Trail
North Vietnamese invasion of Laos
Royal Lao Army
Royal Lao Air Force
Lieutenant Colonel Lee Lue
Major General Vang Pao
William H. SullivanU.S. Ambassador
Vietnam War(aka the Second Indochina War)
* [http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1993_rpt/15_intel.htm Senate Committee on POWs: "
* [http://www.chancefac.net/A-cs_pgs_rebuild/air_america_cas_casi_project_404.htm Air America, CAS, Project 404, etc. website]
* [http://www.air-america.org Air America Association web site]
* [http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/virtualarchive/redirects/air.htm Online Archive Materials about Air America in the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech]
* [http://www.specialforcesroh.com/browse.php?mode=viewc&catid=58 Air America] - Roll of honour and images.
* [http://www.dcothai.com/product_info.php?products_id=382 Air America ] by Christopher Robbins
* [http://www.dcothai.com/product_info.php?products_id=362 The Ravens, Pilots of the Secret War in Laos] by Christopher Robbins
* [http://www.angelfire.com/home/laoslist/listL.html Laos List (partial list of U.S. personnel in Laos)]
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