Meeting : "Thai Forward Air Guides in Laos: their role in
the 2nd Indochina War”.
23 January, 2018.
A Talk by Paul Carter.
Thai Forward Air Guides (FAGs) were CIA contract employees who coordinated battlefield operations
in support of Thai and allied forces in the secret war in Laos. Their
story has never been written in the English language. Paul Carter’s
21-year U.S. Army career and five war zone deployments provided him not
only the background and experience to document this history, but gave
the Forward Air Guides confidence that sharing their stories would
result in a skillful study. Thai Forward Air Guides’ primary duties
were to coordinate U.S. aircraft activities, and liaison between the
Thai military and CIA. In 1970, Thailand was embarking on its largest
military expeditionary effort in modern times, sending large numbers of
troops into Laos. This was a joint fight with the CIA, but there was a
problem. Large numbers of Thai forces required an effective means to
control U.S. airstrikes, reconnaissance and medical evacuations. In
response, the CIA recruited over 100 Thai military-aged males, their
only qualification being to speak English. They went to a U.S. military
course of 10-14 days and were immediately deployed to battlefields in
Laos. It was an anomaly of warfare likely never to be replicated, where
foreign civilians were given a modicum of military training and placed
on a battlefield to coordinate U.S. airstrikes. Mr. Carter’s lecture
will focus on who the Thai Forward Air Guides were, their motivations,
their training and activities in Laos, as well as efforts to gain
post-war recognition and alumni activities today.
Mr. Paul Carter is a doctoral candidate at Chulalongkorn University. He holds a Master’s degree
in Thai Studies from Chulalongkorn University, with a thesis on “Thai
Forward Air Guides in Laos during the Second Indochina War”. He is a
retired U.S. Army intelligence officer, having served in Afghanistan
with the 82D Airborne Division in 2002-2003. He subsequently spent
seven years at the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington D.C.,
focusing on Iran and Iraq. In 2007-2011, he was deployed to Iraq’s
combat zones for four tours, providing critical information to U.S.
forces while informing U.S. national policy makers on Iraqi trends and
developments. In 2013, the U.S. Office Director of National
awarded him the U.S. President’s Daily Brief Professional Recognition
Award for co-authoring 14 U.S. Presidential Daily Briefs from 2011-2014
on Middle East topics vital to U.S. national security. Mr. Carter is
also a special lecturer each year on Cross Cultural Communications at
Mahidol University, International Business class.
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