The Washington Post
By IAN SHAPIRA
Published: June 25, 2017
Leary, the University of Georgia history professor and Air America expert, wrote the CIA a letter urging the agency to give the three men Memorial Wall recognition as far back as 1993.Their families didn't know they were in Laos, and didn't know that they'd started working for the CIA in addition to their jobs with the U.S. Forest Service.
They were young firefighters-turned-CIA operatives working thousands of miles from home in a remote corner of Southeast Asia. David W. Bevan, Darrell A. Eubanks and John S. Lewis, all in their mid-20s, were on a mission to drop supplies for anti-Communist forces in what was then known as the Kingdom of Laos. But on Aug. 13, 1961, the CIA-operated Air America plane carrying the men tried turning out of a mountaintop bowl near the Laotian capital of Vientiane and one of its wings hooked into a ridge.The CIA Memorial Wall uses stars to honor those killed in the line of duty.JOHN MCDONNELL/THE WASHINGTON POST
The C-46 "cartwheeled into little pieces," according to the book, "Smokejumpers and the CIA," published by the National Smokejumpers Association. The CIA operatives died, along with Air America's two pilots.
When their families were told they'd been killed in Laos in a plane crash, they were stunned.
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