Note from Mike Sloniker to Jim McDaniel, Oct 2003:
Jim, Frank Stipech from the 282d has given permission for use of the picture below on our website. The 282d Blackcats were among the units that flew into Laos. This is the first time I have seen a picture of LZ Sophia inside Laos (see the map at http://www.174ahc.org/map4a.htm). Sophia was the last LZ before LZ Hope, which was Tchepone.
Once the ARVN got troops on the ground at Hope, President Thieu decided he had had enough and directed the troops to start pulling back to South Vietnam. This was the start point of the really big ARVN losses from 06-24 Mar 71 and they got picked apart as they withdrew to the east.
By time the ARVN got to Hope, the NVA had massed huge quantities of troops from Hope all the way back to the border.
This is an amazing picture.