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.