PARKS, RAYMOND FRANCIS

Name: Raymond Francis Parks
Rank/Branch: E6/US Army Special Forces
Unit: Project WHITESTAR, 7th Special Forces Group
Date of Birth: 29 October 1931
Home City of Record: Dennison OH
Date of Loss: 14 July 1962
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 175848N 1023405E (TE425895)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Navion
Refno: 0012

Other Personnel In Incident: Allan L. Blewett (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 June 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
NETWORK 1998.

REMARKS: NO CONTACT-AIRGND SRCH NEGAT-J

SYNOPSIS: Special Forces Sgt. Raymond Parks and a Thai interpreter were
aboard a Camair Navion aircraft, tail number N229, flown by Alan Blewett on
July 14, 1962. The aircraft, owned and operated by B.I. Bird & Sons Company,
was flying a U.S. Government contract mission inside Laos. On that day, the
Navion was on a flight from Vientianne to Saravane, Laos.

Parks was working in the WHITE STAR operation, which, depending on the time
frame, trained and advised the Forces Armees du Royaume, staffed Laotian
military schools, and conducted Meo and Kha unconventional warfare programs.
At times WHITE STAR personnel worked under the auspices of the CIA, training
Meo 100-man "Auto Defense de Choc" (shock) teams to be dispersed throughout
the highlands to ambush and raid Pathet Lao forces, and at other times were
the "eyes and ears" of MAAG, gathering intelligence and reporting how
equipment and supplies were being used. By July, 1962, WHITE STAR had
reached its peak strength of 433 uniformed Special Forces personnel.

When Blewett's aircraft failed to arrive at its interim stop at Pak Sane as
scheduled, a communications check was initiated, with no response. Aerial
and ground searches were initiated, including visits along the suspected
flight path. No trace was ever found of the aircraft or its crew.

Parks and Blewett are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. As
Laos was never part of the negotiating process which ended American
involvement in the Vietnam war in 1973, no prisoners held by the Lao were
ever released. No agreement has been struck since that time to release the
"tens of tens" of American prisoners the Pathet Lao stated they held.

Whether Parks or Blewett survived is unknown. But experts now say hundreds
did and are still waiting for their country to bring them home.