March 23

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Mar 23, 1961:

U.S. plane shot down over Laos

One of the first American casualties in Southeast Asia, an intelligence-gathering plane en route from Laos to Saigon is shot down over the Plain of Jars in central Laos. The mission was flown in an attempt to determine the extent of the Soviet support being provided to the communist Pathet Lao guerrillas in Laos. The guerrillas had been waging a war against the Royal Lao government since 1959. In a television news conference, President John F. Kennedy warned of communist expansion in Laos and said that a cease-fire must precede the start of negotiations to establish a neutral and independent nation.

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