Bad weather has been hampering United States helicopter operations in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, near the Laotian border.
HELICOPTERS FLYING IN OVERCAST, CLOUDS GETTING THICKER, AND HELICOPTERS GROUNDED BY BAD WEATHER
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Background: Bad weather has been hampering United States helicopter operations in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, near the Laotian border.
In good weather, American helicopters fly as many as 1,000 stories a day over Laos, in support of South Vietnamese troops there. But in the last week the weather has been tricky and unpredictable.
The wind direction is changing in Quang Tri. The monsoon rains no longer fall, but it will be another month before the dry season arrives. In the meantime, the weather changes frequently. Sometimes it is clear for a few hours, and then thick clouds roll in over the mountains, and it is impossible for the helicopters to fly.
On some days in the past week, only a few hundred stories could be flown. It's a nightmare for American commanders, because sometimes the low-hanging clouds drift in without warning.
To cope with the unpredictable conditions, American forces have stockpile large amounts of arms and supplies near the Laotian border. Whenever the weather is good enough, swarms of helicopters deliver the supplies to the South Vietnamese.
American ground forces have remained out of Laos, leaving the fighting there to the South Vietnamese, but the South Vietnamese operations would have difficult if not impossible without American air support.