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El Dorado

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Everything posted by El Dorado

  1. Razorback coils are substandard..... I know this from firsthand knowledge.
  2. America's Secret War - Operation Shining Brass The guerrilla war was not going well for the Viet Cong in the late fifties. Badly needed supplies moving down jungle trails from North Vietnam were constantly being spotted by South Vietnamese warplanes and often destroyed. To give themselves a fighting chance, existing tribal trails through Laos and Cambodia were opened up in 1959. The North Vietnamese went to great lengths to keep this new set of interconnecting trails secret. The first North Vietnamese sent down the existing tribal trails carried no identification and used captured French weapons. But the Communists could not keep their supply route secret for very long. Within months, CIA agents and their Laotian mercenaries were watching movement from deep within the hidden jungle. But keeping an eye on what the North Vietnamese were doing in Laos was not enough for Washington. They wanted to put boots on the ground in a reconnaissance role to observe, first hand, the enemy logistical system known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail (the Truong Son Road to the North Vietnamese). By late 1964 South Vietnamese recon units were inserted into Laos in 'Operation Leaping Lena'. After a number of disastrous missions, it was determined U.S. troops were necessary and Military Assistance Command, Vietnam - Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) was given the green light to take over the operation. Thus was born the secret war in Laos that would eventually kill about 300 hundred Special Forces troops, with fifty-seven Missing in Action, and some fifteen known to have been captured. But the Communist never admitted to having captured any Special Forces troops. In November the first American-led insertion was launched against target Alpha-1, a suspected truck terminus on Laotian Route 165, fifteen-miles inside Laos. A newly formed reconnaissance team selected for the initial mission was Recon Team (RT) Iowa. Team leader was Master Sergeant Charles Petry along with Sergeant First Class Willie Card, a South Vietnamese Army Lieutenant and five Nungs (fierce fighters of Chinese decent used extensively and paid by U.S. Special Forces). They were the first U.S.-led cross-border secret operation into Laos, code-named 'Shining Brass,' to reconnoiter and interdict infiltration along Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Special Forces officer supervising the mission was Capt. Larry Thorne, the subject of last month's Dispatches article "Three Wars under Three Flags". It was the rainy season in Vietnam and RT Iowa prowled the Special Forces camp at Kham Duc, near the Laotian border, waiting for the rain to let up and for the clouds to break. Tension during the idle days ran high, for their highly classified mission could open a new phase of the war. Finally, the rain stopped, but visibility was still poor on the Laotian border to the West where mountain peaks poked above the clouds. It was finally agreed, however, to try an infiltration despite the unfavorable flying conditions. Hence, toward the end of the third day, October 18, 1965, two South Vietnamese operated CH-34 helicopters unmarked and sprayed with camouflage paint, lifted off and climbed above the clouds over Kham Duc and banked to the West toward a suspected truck park 15 miles inside Laos. Recon Team Iowa members set on the floor of the lead chopper. Dressed in camouflage fatigues and soft bush hats or rags tied around their heads, they carried no identification and all their gear and weapons were 'sterilized' - non-U.S. government issue. This was a highly secret mission the United States did not want traced back to the American forces. Thorne was the only American passenger aboard the South Vietnam Air Force flown command and control aircraft. U.S. Army Huey gunships launched at the same time to provide air cover should it be needed at any time during the mission. As the CH-34s and Huey gunships flew low over the countryside, all they could see were rolling hills, wild rivers and waterfalls. The weather proved especially hazardous, forcing them to weaving between thunderheads and sunbeams while avoiding sporadic .50 caliber machinegun fire, all of which missed. The flight arrived over the target area just before sundown. All aircraft circled the area looking for a way to get down to the clearing through the thick angry clouds that blanketed the area. A decent seemed hopeless and darkness was closing in. Minutes before Thorne intended to cancel the mission and return to Kham Duc, the clouds opened up slightly allowing the CH-34 carrying RT Iowa to spiral into the slash-and-burn clearing, rapidly discharge its passengers and immediately climb for altitude. As Thorne's helicopter attempted to descend, the clouds again closed up. Thorne ordered the now empty CH-34 to return to Kham Duc. As the weather worsened, Thorne continued to orbit near the landing zone in case RT Iowa ran into trouble. After received a message from the team that their insertion was successful, he transmitted that his aircraft was also on its way back. Approximately 5 minutes after receiving the patrol's report, the other aircrews heard a constant keying of a radio for roughly 30 seconds. After that, only silence was heard in response to repeated attempts to raise anyone aboard Thorne's helicopter. The disappearance of Thorne's aircraft and Vietnamese crew men, without so much as a radio distress call, was never explained, nor was any wreckage found after days of trying. Operation 35 had claimed its first victims, and a shot had yet to be fired. After three days on the ground, deep behind enemy lines, the seven-man patrol ran into a heavily defended enemy ammunition dump. One team member was killed. The rest withdrew to a hill, called in tactical air and within minutes, bombs were destroying the enemy's precious ammunition. The team was extracted without further incident. For the next five years, Special Forces led patrols scouted the Ho Chi Minh Trail on a regular basis and fought the North Vietnamese they found there. The Ho Chi Minh Trail was no longer a mystery, and ultimately became a killing ground for many of the North Vietnamese who worked there, or were just passing through. During those five years the cross-border operations in Laos were active, it changed names three time; "Operation Shining Brass" was renamed "Operation Prairie Fire" in 1968 and finally, "Operation Phu Dung" in April 1971. But whatever name it went by, countering NVA infiltration through Laos into South Vietnam became the largest and most important Special Forces strategic reconnaissance and interdiction campaign in Southeast Asia. In 1999, Thorne's remains were found by a Finnish and Joint Task Force-Full Accounting team that was excavating a helicopter crash site near Thorne's last suspected location. DNA on remains found at the site were those of Thorne and the South Vietnamese airmen. He was buried on June 26, 2003 at Arlington National Cemetery, section 60, tombstone 8136, along with the Vietnam casualties of the mission recovered at the crash site.
  3. darn... That's enough for a good down payment on a house. Just like most, I want one but.......but, with a vets discount that would mean parting with over 7 OZ's of gold.
  4. More gems so I could double the money to $14K, then buy a new GPZ 7000 and have $7k left for an extended stay in OZ or Brazil
  5. They were dusty white looking, the bigger ones were about the size of an ols Shooter marble and the smaller ones were the size of regular marbles. I did not pick any up. I googled them to and came up with nothing. Might not be the same thing but sure looked lie it.
  6. Based on all previous model numbers and MSRP, I would agree
  7. I just saw boxes of these at the Tucson gem show, $1-2 each, they called them "cave balls"...
  8. That will be great unless the permit fee is outlandish and they decide to only issue a limited amount......
  9. Good luck at the Royal Peacock.......take shade if you can and be prepared for a hard dig. This was my best find about 8-9 years ago
  10. I won't argue with the BLM over my bond. They approved using mechanical equipment(small excavator) on a NOI with a very small bond. No POO needed. I'm a happy camper
  11. I can remove thst bail and conserve the nugget so you would never know it was there
  12. Crazy... One of my pictures is in that line up, plus one more picture of the same specie
  13. Thank you dear gooberment for shutting down all the lead smelters in the US
  14. I visited the Oceanview Mine in Play for a pay to dig day. The owner Jeff, his rather attractive sister and the mines engineer Steve all made it a great day. I did not do great, but beat off the skunk good. The upper clear pieces are Triphane (a yellowish Spodumene), the black is Shorl, black tourmaline. The rest are various colors of tourmaline. The big hot pink piece I purchased. The real hot pink is what the mine is most famous for ans I plan on cutting 4-5 nice cabs for jewelry.....it was a fun hard working day
  15. Cleaning out a crystal pocket sure is a fine treasure hunt
  16. We will be camping at Lake Pleasant during the outing, so will probably just show up for the Saturday Dinner POW WOW
  17. Insanity on four or sometimes two wheels
  18. Well, Old Odd guys look odd on TV..... I do hope you can make it to LSD, but if I can make it, I'll come see Ya at the Mesa Show
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