Boyd Yaden, Lt. Col. USAFR (ret.)
First a quick and dirty answer from my experience. In 70 I
was at Dressy Lady working Special Ops flight following as I was the only one
(Senior Director) with a TS clearance on the crew. I was coming off the
site, back down the mountain to our hootch area late one night after a
mission, when I drove through a group of Black Pajama (armed to the teeth)
guys crossing the road and back into the jungle. The were headed to the
Cambodian border I think. Scared the piss out of me as I was alone in the
crew truck and UNARMED (our weapons were locked up don't you know) (political
correctness of the time). I put the pedal to the metal and flew down the hill
to the orderly room where I called the incident in. Also informed the
Commander. Also that night our POL was sabotaged. A day or so later an OSI
and a CIA type came to the site to look around and promptly proclaimed "there
are NO insurgents in the area." BS I know what I saw and it haunts me to this
Back to your radar story:
Before I went to Thailand in 69 I was a Radar Inputs Counter Measures Officer
(ECCM Ops Officer) at the SAGE Center at 26 AD (NORAD). Since I went to radar
school I was pretty familiar with the systems at the time.
A couple of things to remember: First we did have radar maintenance troops at
the sites BUT Second The RTAF OWNED the equipment and we were supposed to be
"training" them. At DL this presented some interesting circumstances. As
Senior Director I had some real frustrations to deal with.
Anyway I remember regularly switching the Scop video so that we could see the
Army helicopter in the valley (Call sign Tequila) We flight followed them
when we could and guided them around storm cells. When we did this we
frequently could see the truck traffic on the "Friendship Highway" from
Bangkok to Korat.
Also I am not surprised about hearing about propagation problems with the
radar in that area. It makes sense to me. Also remember the radar equipment
sent to the war was NOT the highest "state of the art" equipment like we had
in NORAD. Actually, from my point of view, it was pretty sorry.
When you tracked an unknown you were supposed to "cut" the target with the
Height Finder Radar and get an altitude. I don't remember the HF radar at DL
EVER working when I was there.
I left at the end of 70 and I don't know what improvements if any were made