Above & Beyond: Ration of Luck

Above & Beyond: Ration of Luck

The author surveys the forbidding Laotian terrain from a C-46. (Donald V. Courtney)
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(Continued from page 2)

Like B-916, B-136 went to Tainan for a total rebuild, and was back in a few months. That summer, while trying to turn out of a mountaintop karst bowl, heading for the one gap where it could get out, B-136 hooked a wing into a spur ridge and cartwheeled into little pieces, its luck all used up. On board were smokejumpers Dave Bevan, John “Tex” Lewis, and Darrel “Yogi” Eubanks. Their deaths pretty much brought an end to the CIA PDO program, and Air America began hiring its own cargo droppers. By the end of 1961, most of the CIA PDOs had moved on to other things. On a hot day in 1962, Bill Beale hit another tree at the end of a short airstrip. It was his final tree.

—Donald V. Courtney

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