BLEWETT, ALAN L.

Name: Alan L. Blewett
Rank/Branch: Civilian
Unit: Bird and Son 
Date of Birth:

Home of Record:

Date of Loss: 14 July 1962
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 175848N 1023405E (TE425895)
Click coordinates to view maps

Status in 1973: Missing In Action
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Navion
Other Personnel in Incident: Raymond F. Parks (missing)

REMARKS:  NO CONTACT-AIRGND SRCH NEGAT-J

SYNOPSIS:   Aircraft flown by Bird and Son, a private airline owned by William H. Bird, arrived in Southeast Asia well ahead of American military personnel and operated a diverse fleet of aircraft throughout the war. Bird and Son regularly competed with Air America for US government flight contracts in Laos and South Vietnam throughout America's involvement in that part of the world. The air division of Bird and Son became Continental Air Service, Inc. (CASI) on 1 September 1965.

On 14 July 1962, Alan Blewett, civilian pilot for Bird and Son, then SFC Raymond Parks, Special Forces advisor, and a Thai interpreter were aboard a Camair Navion aircraft, tail number N229. The Navion departed Vientiane at 0800 hours for a one hour US Government contract flight to Pak Sane, Vientiane Province, Laos, approximately 78 miles east-northeast of Vientiane.

SFC Parks was assigned to a White Star mobile training team, code named HOTFOOT, whose mission included training and advising allied personnel in military tactics and unconventional warfare programs. Theoretically, these Special Forces teams were pulled out of Laos in October 1962 as a result of an agreement reached in July that required all foreign military personnel to leave Laos. The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) blatantly continued to do business as usual in Laos thereby rendering that agreement useless. That forced American personnel to either retreat to the Chu Porn Mountains with Gen. Vang Pao's Meo tribesmen or return to civilian clothing to work undercover.

At various times during the 1950s and early 1960's, Special Forces advisors were forced to pose as members of the US Embassy, Program Evaluation Office (PEO) in Laos or the Combined Studies Group (CSG) in Vietnam. Either of these euphemisms strictly translated CIA. Under the auspices of the agency, White Star personnel trained 100-man Meo "Auto Defense de Choc" - shock teams - who were dispersed throughout the highlands to raid and ambush communist Pathet Lao forces. At other times they were the "eyes and ears" of MAAG, gathering intelligence and reporting on the progress of the allied troops they were advising. By July 1962, Operation White Star reached its peak strength of 433 uniformed Special Forces personnel.

At 0930 hours the Navion was reported overdue when it failed to arrive at Pak Sane. An extensive ground and aerial search using every available aircraft was immediately initiated. It continued for 4 days over and through the dense jungle between its point of departure and final destination, but when no trace of the missing aircraft or its crew could be found, Alan Blewett and Raymond Parks, along with their Thai interpreter, were listed Missing in Action.

Raymond Parks and Alan Blewett are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many of these men were known to be alive on the ground. The Laotians admitted holding "tens of tens" of American Prisoners of War, but these men were never negotiated for either by direct negotiation between our countries or through the Paris Peace Accords which ended the War in Vietnam since Laos was not a party to that agreement.

Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.

Pilots and aircrews in Vietnam and Laos were called upon to fly in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.