Tom Little
"--But The Biggest Single Thought"
The Tennessean, April 6, 1961
Tom Little Collection
Vanderbilt University Special Collections
By 1961, military forces in Southeast Asia had shifted much of their attention from Vietnam to Laos. In his pre-inauguration briefing, exiting President Eisenhower warned entering President John F. Kennedy that the containment of Laos might require American military intervention. Laos was one of three states of former French Indochina, along with Cambodia and Vietnam. In March Kennedy authorized operation "Mill Pond" to send American forces to Laos to help block Soviet advancement. In early April, the first American casualties of the Laotian civil war were reported when a C-47 helicopter crashed under gunfire.