This guest post is an excerpt from “Across the Fence” by John Stryker Meyer.

Christmas Day 1968 was just another day for Spike Team Idaho. Early that morning ST Idaho was loaded onto Kingbees and flown to the Quang Tri launch site. The early morning rush came to a halt at Quang Tri, as there was some sort of complication with our support elements.

We finally went in for the briefing.

That day’s target was one of the MA targets west of the DMZ in Laos, along the river that ran through the DMZ. In the briefing room there was a large map and on it were all of the DMZ targets, and all of the MA targets in Laos. Maps of the target area that we carried to the field were just small sections of the larger maps, the theory being that if captured, the small map was useless to the enemy.

On the target map, there were a series of MA targets, MA- 10 through MA-16 or 18. The smaller numbers, MA- 10 and MA- 11, were the first target areas directly west of the South Vietnamese border. Our MA target was a larger number and thus, farther into Laos, near an area where NVA fuel lines were reported to be under construction. The NVA needed fuel to move its trucks and men down the Ho Chi Minh Trail Complex and it was more efficient to have a pipeline, instead of individual trucks, moving the gasoline south.

As we looked at the map, we noticed a disturbing trend: there were more anti-aircraft weapons cropping up throughout the AO.

Robert J. “Spider” Parks is running to a Jeep

Despite the rain, Robert J. “Spider” Parks is running to a Jeep to get to Phu Bai Airport, which was south of FOB 1. Parks is running because an FOB 1 recon team is in trouble in Laos. Parks was a Covey rider for several months, where he would sit in the co-pilot seat while an Air Force pilot would fly the O-2. At FOB 1 the Covey Rider was selected because he had experience on the ground in the C&C area of operations and could better relate to the SF teams or Hatchet Force elements in the target area. Note the Covey equipment Parks is carrying, including a parachute. (Photo courtesy of Stephen Bayliss)