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1964

U.S. reconnaissance jets shot down over Laos

Two U.S. Navy jets flying low-altitude target reconnaissance missions over Laos are shot down by communist Pathet Lao ground fire. Washington immediately ordered armed jets to escort the reconnaissance flights, and by June 9, escort jets were attacking Pathet Lao headquarters. The downing of the two reconnaissance aircraft and the retaliatory strikes were made public, but the full extent of the U.S. involvement in Laos was not. In fact, the U.S. fighter-bombers were flying combat missions in support of Royal Lao forces in their war against the communist Pathet Lao and would continue to do so until 1973.

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