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​​​In 2008, Kenny revisited the site in Laos where he was shot down....

  

Streetcar 304 and Nail 69 made a return visit to the Streetcar 304 mission target area in Laos, in late November 2008. We returned safely this time, but the trip was not without a scary incident.

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See the large metal detector in one guy's hand. Upon spotting us, the team leader notified the police and we were told to leave the area. That evening, we got the order rescinded and were back in that area the next morning.

 

   

Early evasion was in the valley, but my final rescue point was on the top of the left ridgeline.





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A viilage, taken in 2008...

The best news....We found my A-7 crash site and actually dug up a few small pieces and brought them home with us.  Most of the plane had been salvaged by others because the villagers use every piece they can find in very innovative ways and I thought for sure that we would be blown up before we finally started to find small pieces of the plane in the hole we were digging in.  But, I retreived enough parts to satisfy me....


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​Flower pot, maybe from one of my bombs

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​Monkey tree location, where I hid on day two






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The 'Streetcar 304' adventure team...

In the target area the first day, we happened upon  a very unfriendly Swiss funded "Laotian Bomb Demolition Team" which was clearing the area of unexploded bombs beneath the top-soil. On our second day of three visits to the area, we were walking around looking for the final rescue pick-up point when that team exploded a 500 pound bomb near our location. The explosion echoed around the valley...just like my memory of many other ones forty-seven years ago...and that was a vivid reminder of the danger we faced in trying to retrace my path during my escape and evasion.



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The trip was quite an adventure....We saw many, many small to massive bomb craters and, to be honest, it was a little scary to walk around the same area that I once evaded in, because we feared that we would step on a leftover CBU.  But... we sucked it up and did so anyway. We walked over the same trails that I had once evaded enemy troops along and got to mingle with the local villagers who live in the same area today---still very isolated from the rest of the world.  And, sadly, most of the animals and birds have been killed for food....

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In the photo, I'm standing next to the oldest guy in the village, about one mile fron the area where I evaded, and I'm still not sure what he thought of me since we couldn't communicate.  But, I don't believe the kids in the village had ever seen an American---the way they reacted.  They appeared very tenative at first but finally eased closer to me but I'm not sure that I would have been friendly to me either if I had been in their shoes....All in all though....A shit-hot adventure....​

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A hollowed out tree, like one I hid in

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Across the river...Target location

​and Ho Chi Minh Trail