submitted by: Alva Leon Matheson

This relief map gives the reader an appreciation of the topography of the area of operations. The southern part of Vietnam around the Mekong Delta is very flat whereas the terrain north of Phan Rang is quite mountainous. The mountains continue all the way north to China.
Although tropical thunderstorms were of concern to all FACs in all areas, those flying in the hilly northern areas had the additional worry of avoiding the high ground. Night operations over the north were difficult, especially if the aircraft suffered battle damage. An O-2 operating on only one engine could not maintain altitude and some of the stories in this book describe the crew’s anxious return to home base.
The FAC Book CD contains many maps of the areas of operation and in different scales and in much more detail that what is shown here. Attempting to please everyone with a high definition map of their particular area of operations would require many pages so the inclusion of the simple map shown opposite is deliberate. Readers not familiar with the place names in the stories will find that the names of the larger cities or bases are usually mentioned in a story, and with that information, be able to work out the general area of any story using the map. The four 100 nautical mile radius circles will give the reader an appreciation of distances involved.
In South Vietnam, some early in-country FAC training was conducted at Binh Thuy, near Can Tho in the southern Delta region. Later, Bien Hoa and places on the east coast such as Phan Rang, Cam Ranh Bay and DaNang were where we were introduced to operations specific to Vietnam. Later, we were checked out in our respective areas of operation and classified as combat ready. Safe solo.
Operations in Laos by the Raven FACs were flown from airfields in northern Laos. Both NKP and Ubon in Thailand are quite handy to the Laotian border and these bases were used for operations over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in central and southern Laos. DaNang, on the coast of South Vietnam and over the mountain ranges to the east of Laos, was also used.
Further south in Cambodia, operations were conducted from Ubon in Thailand and Bien Hoa and Saigon in South Vietnam. Some stories mention the unplanned need to land at Phnom Penh, the Capital of Cambodia. These visits were not acknowledged until late in the war.