Air America Files Released

About 10,000 pages of previously classified records on Air America, the CIA-run covert air force that gained notoriety during the Vietnam War, have joined the aviation collection at the library of the University of Texas at Dallas. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the university secured the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request. “These Air America documents are essential to understanding a large untold history of America’s involvement in Southeast Asia,” said Paul Oelkrug, a coordinator at UT-Dallas’ special collections department. The records consist mainly of firsthand accounts of Air America missions and commendation letters from government officials, according to the CIA. Included are documents that shed light on the Air America rescue of wounded airmen from Lima Site 85, an Air Force radar station in Laos in 1968 after a North Vietnamese raid that killed 11 airmen. (Read The Fall of Lima Site 85). To coincide with the records’ release, the university is hosting a half-day symposium tomorrow entitled, “Air America: Upholding the Airmen’s Bond,” in the hopes of contributing to getting the true story out on the organization and its employees.