Don

Jun 252019
 
Interview With Commander of 559 division Ho Chi Minh trail and Don Duvall, AKA Midnitemapper

Don Duvall, Midnite Mapper, 2016 in an interview with Dong Sy, during the filming of the Blood Road. Dong Sy Nguyen, “shares Secrets of the Trail” that would later be used in the film, from this interview we learned many previously unknown facts about the trail, Tunnels Caves and transportation routes, that can be seen today.

On of the most memorable parts of this meeting was getting a copy of the Detailed official military map of the trail. Never before seen in public we use this historical artifact for our Tours of the Ho Chi Minh Trail today.

The truck convoy was strong on Truong Son road in the historic Ho Chi Minh campaign

“Since 1967, the 559 Division was assigned anti-aircraft artillery, missiles to deal with enemy bombing, forming a protective fire net on the top of the transport squad, not to drive alone on the road; below, the soldiers were standing by the road, when the enemy hit the shelter, stopped fighting to repair the road, while the infantry continued to open the enemy campaign far away, “said the former Political Commissar of Truong Son Corps. In early 1967, during the Vietnam War, he was appointed commander in chief of Group 559, the transportation and logistical unit of the People’s Army of Vietnam.

The group was established in 1959 to move troops, weapons, and material from North Vietnam to paramilitary units in southern Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which ran along the central region across Truong Son, or the Annamite Mountain Range, and through Laos and Cambodia.

During eight years as commander of the trail until the war ended in 1975, he transformed it from an old low-key covert supply line into a modern, strategic, overt battlefield.

Much of his success is owed to the fact that he converted most of his force, which had previously used foot power or bicycles to carry loads, into vehicle transportation units.

Oct 072014
 

Ho Chi Minh Trail gun found on the Ho Chi Minh trail

Ho Chi Minh Trail gun found on the Ho Chi Minh trail

Don Duvall has motorcycled the length and breadth of Laos while mapping it for LaosGPSmaps. Now he invites you to join the adventure. Come and ride the Ho Chi Minh Trail, or any other part of Laos that captures your imagination. There’s so much exploring to be done.

 

Ho Chi Minh trail Bomb craters

Ho Chi Minh trail Bomb craters, B-52 Strike on the Ho Chi Minh trail, during the secret war.

 

Arclight strike on the Ho Chi Minh trail

Arclight strike on the Ho Chi Minh trail

F-4- D Over the Dogs Head, Ban Laboy Ford.

F-4- D Over the Dogs Head, Ban Laboy Ford: that was then. Want to see what it looks like on the ground today? Join a motorcycle tour of the Ho Chi Minh Trail and get driven by adventure.

Aug 142014
 

Petrol pump

Typical rural Petrol pump

fuel-lady

fuel-lady

Xam Nea Fuel Station

Xam Nea Fuel Station

fuel-pump Vietnamese style

fuel-pump Vietnamese style

Smiley fuel full

Smiley fuel full

Xam Tai fuel station

Xam Tai fuel station

Cleaning fuel pump

Cleaning fuel pump

Bike rental Laos

Bike rental Laos

gasstationlaos

gasstationlaos

gasoline

gasoline

Sleeping on the job

Sleeping on the job

hmong-fuel

hmong-fuel

Star-fuel-oil

Star-fuel-oil

Stick-made-station

Stick-made-station

colorful-drums

colorful-drums

fuel-pump

kuluem

kuluem

petrotrade erector set

petrotrade erector set

Old Station Old Russian Lada

Old Station Old Russian Lada

Lots of fuel bottles

Lots of fuel bottles

Night station

Night station

PP pump

PP pump

kuleum-pump

kuleum-pump

First station on Road 18 A

First station on Road 18 A

Vietnamese fuel seller

Vietnamese fuel seller

Bouasavanh power

Star fuel oil

Star fuel oil

24 hour pump Luang prabang

24 hour pump Luang prabang

Bouasavanh

Bouasavanh

Mauang Nan Pump

Mauang Nan Pump

Petrotrade

Petrotrade

Petrolimex Vietnam

Petrolimex Vietnam

Ptt fuel station

Ptt fuel station

Ptt Thailand with all the trimmings

Ptt Thailand with all the trimmings

fuel-fill-village

fuel-fill-village

Phousey Petrol

Phousey Petrol

fuel-and-a-smile

fuel-and-a-smile

cold-drink-mister

cold-drink-mister

Tarieng-Fuel-stop

Tarieng-Fuel-stop

fuel-and-haircut

fuel-and-haircut

Jul 132014
 

Arclight strike on the Ho Chi Minh trail

Arclight strike on the Ho Chi Minh trail

Ho Chi Minh Trail Ban Laboy Ford by Drone

Ho Chi Minh Trail Ban Laboy Ford. note bomb craters on Eastern bank.

Ho Chi Minh trail Ban Nomai, coblestones laid by the Vietnamese during the war

Ban Laboy, Ho Chi Minh trail Ban Nomai, coblestones laid by the Vietnamese during the war

Ban Laboy ford Ho Chi Minh Trail, Xe Bangfie river

Ban Laboy ford Ho Chi Minh Trail, Xe Bangfie river

Vietnamese truck leftover from the War days Ho Chi Minh trail

Vietnamese truck leftover from the War days Ho Chi Minh trail

Bomb-shardstor

Ban Nomai, scrap metal collector, the pile of rusting metal are bomb shards sold by the Kilo.

F-4- D Over the Dogs Head, Ban Laboy Ford.

F-4- D Over the Dogs Head, Ban Laboy Ford. Submitted by Lt Col Lance DeYoung (USAF, Ret) This fantastic shot clearly shows the shape of the Nam Te Le river in the shape of the Dogs head. The alternative ford and the scarred earth from incessant ordinance strikes. The F-4 has an unusual configuration, carrying an Pave Knife laser designator pod on the left inboard station (the only station wired for this pod), which normally carried weapons (it was not plumbed for fuel tanks). In order to carry its mission load of two, 2,000 pound laser-guided GBU-10s, one went on the other inboard pylon and one went on an outboard pylon. This left the two remaining stations for fuel – a 600 gallon tank on the belly (centerline) and one 370 gallon tank on the other outboard station. Operationally, then, when the inboard bomb is dropped, there is asymmetric weight and drag on the inboard pylon (not as big a problem as the outboard pylon since it’s closer to the fuselage). When the outboard bomb is dropped, the same situation happens but it’s more pronounced than the inboard situation because it’s farther from the centerline. I suspect that outboard 370 gallon tank was used up first so that when the outboard GBU-10 was dropped, there was no longer much if an asymmetric weight issue (but there was asymmetric drag). However, this was somewhat offset by the Pave Knife pod providing drag on the opposite side.

Ho Chi Minh trial

Coblestone road the real Ho Chi Minh trail, a discarded bombie casing lying along the road, Ban Laboy

Scrap metal hunters on the Ho Chi Minh trail, Ban Laboy Ford

Scrap metal hunters on the Ho Chi Minh trail, Ban Laboy Ford

Customs officer Ho Chi Minh trail border crossing

Customs officer Ho Chi Minh trail border crossing

Jun 272014
 
May 112014
 

Long Cheng Airstrip

Long Cheng Airstrip

long cheng pano

Long Cheng Panorama

Long Cheng airstrip

Lone umbrella, Long Cheng airstrip

Sam Thong war scrap is used for houseing and to mount the TV satalite dish

Sam Thong war scrap is used for houseing and to mount the TV satalite dish

Airplane door being used on a shed in Xam Thong village a relic from the secret war

Airplane door being used on a shed in Xam Thong village a relic from the secret war

Cliff road on the Karst mountains surrounding Long Cheng

Cliff road on the Karst mountains surrounding Long Cheng

ls-20-Xam-Thong 1966

ls-20-Xam-Thong 1966

Miltary Map of Sam Thong valley and LS 20

Miltary Map of Sam Thong valley and LS 20

Xam Thong Valley and airstrip Ls 20

Xam Thong Valley and airstrip Ls 20

Air America, C 47, taking of from LS20 Sam Thong, 1966 (File Photo)

Air America, C 47, taking of from LS20 Sam Thong, 1966 (File Photo)

Fuel drums LS 20 Air strip

Fuel drums LS 20 Air strip

Cbu bomb container from the secret war era

Cbu bomb container from the secret war era

Truck convoy Long Cheng loaded with CBU containers

Truck convoy Long Cheng loaded with CBU containers

Road to Long Cheng

Road to Long Cheng

rare find, zippo-lighter-long-tieng

rare find, zippo-lighter-long-tieng

Minerals Patina copper ore, on the Karst mountains

Minerals Patina copper ore, on the Karst mountains, this rock is 2 meters tall!

Phou Kham Copper Gold mine, new to the neigborhood

Phou Kham Copper Gold mine, new to the neigborhood

Copper concentrate going 24/7

Copper concentrate going 24/7

Pou Bia mining truck

Pou Bia mining truck

Pou Bia Mine site

Pou Bia Mine site

Road Marker on the way to the Secret War road

Road Marker on the way to the Secret War road

airstrip-fuel-drums

Rusty fuel drum on the site of the old LS 20 Airstrip

Re-Fueling XAm Thong Ls 20 (File Photo)

Re-Fueling XAm Thong Ls 20 (File Photo)

Xam Thong house with memories of the War days

Xam Thong house with memories of the War days

Hmong Villagers Long Cheng

Hmong Villagers Long Cheng

Traditional grist mill ,man powered in Hmong village on the Secret war road

Traditional grist mill ,man powered in Hmong village on the Secret war road

Hmong villagers in the jungle with lunch!

Hmong villagers in the jungle with lunch!

Secret war road passing through jungles

Secret war road passing through jungles

Russian Kamaz River ford

Russian Kamaz River ford

Digging out the pressure tunnel

Digging out the pressure tunnel

dam-site1

Dam Site excavation

New boys in the nieghborhood, development taking off in Xiasombone

New boys in the neighborhood, development taking off in Xiasombone

Jan 272014
 

Southern Houaphan province is a hive of activity with a new  district center under construction.

 

Xam Tai road marker

Xam Tai road marker

 

Giant water wheels

Giant water wheels

 

Wood bridge

Wood bridge

 

Selling produce

Selling produce

 

Happy fuel seller Xam Tai

Happy fuel seller Xam Tai

 

Muang Kuan arial photo

Muang Kuan arial photo

 

Main street of new district center

Main street of new district center

 

Kids at local market after receiving some lollies

Kids at local market after receiving some lollies

 

Ethnic Villagers Deep in Southern Houaphan Province

Ethnic Villagers Deep in Southern Houaphan Province

 

Fog rain and slippery tracks

Fog rain and slippery tracks

 

 

Cool Night in the mountains

Cool Night in the mountains

 

Lao Hai ceremony in a remote village Houaphan Province

Lao Hai ceremony in a remote village Houaphan Province

 

Old stupa near new town

Old stupa near new town

 

School sign

School sign

 

new-gov

 

Bamboo bridge crossing a river Southern Houaphan province

Bamboo bridge crossing a river Southern Houaphan province

 

Tree on main street being cut for new power lines

Tree on main street being cut for new power lines

 

Remote village Houaphan

Remote village Houaphan

 

Red Road Rain and Fog

Red Road Rain and Fog

 

Fuel full in a remote village

Fuel full in a remote village

 

lonely border guard at remote crossing to Vietnam

lonely border guard at remote crossing to Vietnam

 

Weaving village along the Vietnamese border

Weaving village along the Vietnamese border

 

Inescapable memories of war Huaphan Province

Inescapable memories of war Huaphan Province

 

Friendly villagers helping repair a bike

Friendly villagers helping repair a bike

 

Border Post Vietnam

Border Post Vietnam

 

Main street fogging morning

Main street fogging morning

 

Doi Mai Lak Muang, Xam Neua

Doi Mai Lak Muang, Xam Neua

 

Rains clearing and setting sun, Houaphan province

Rains clearing and setting sun, Houaphan province

Oct 202013
 

Well it has been an incredible season for LaosGPSmap as we have surveyed cities, villages jungle trails and, of course, our favorite area for exploring, the Ho Chi Minh trail, which comprises the border areas of the southern third of Laos, often referred to during the war days as the “Dragons Tail”.

Ho-chi-minh-trail-missile

Don Duvall and Sam Missile on the Ho Chi Minh trail

Our research on the Ho Chi Minh trail has taken us to the National Archives in Washington DC, Defence Mapping Agency, and the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally for Vietnam Vets. We interviewed fighter pilots who got shot down in Laos. And we worked with the JPAC team on recovering lost crash sites of fighter planes from the Vietnam war near Dak Cheung Southern Laos.

 

Ho Chi Minh trail Mission card

Ho Chi Minh trail Mission card

Roads

We have added an incredible 6,300 km of new roads, jungle tracks and trails in our quest to produce the most complete and accurate map of Laos in existence today.

 

 

Houay Xai Red Roads LaosGPSmap

Houay Xai Red Roads LaosGPSmap

 

Vientiane Boom, Rapid development

Vientiane Boom, Rapid development

Points of Interest

Thousands of new businesses, schools, shopping centers, restaurants, factories, gold and coal mines, plantations… The list is endless as Laos continues to grow and develop.

 Surveys

 

Road 4 At Thadua on the Mekong river

Road 4 At Thadua on the Mekong river

 Bridges

Bridges: The 4 new bridges spanning the Mekong river: Xiengkok, Houay Xai, Pakbeng, Paklay, and Don Khong bridges.

 

 

 

 

Phou Kham mine articulated dump truck

Phou Kham mine articulated dump truck

Mining

Mining sites, Phou Kham, Houay Xia gold and copper, Phonsak Gold mine, Xekong power coal mine, MMG “Xepon” gold and copper mine.

 

LaosGPSmap Nam Khan damsite

LaosGPSmap Nam Khan damsite

Hydroelectric Projects

Hydroelectric projects, Nam Ngiap 1 and 2, Xekaman 1, 2, and 3, Nam Khan 1 and 2 Nam Kong 1,2, and 3. Sayabury “Mekong” dam, Nam Ou 1 and 2 damsites. Xepian, Houay Lamphang Yai, Nam Ngum 5 and 3 damsites.

 

Tunnel Headquarters Lamson, 559 Transport division

Tunnel Headquarters Lamson, 559 Transport division

 Ho Chi Minh Trail, War Sites

 

Ho Chi Minh Tail, more exciting discoveries as we managed to find the amazing caves of the 559 Transport division headquarters and its associated fuel bunkers built inside a karst mountain! In addition, an intact riverboat that was bound for the Xekong river was discovered in a hidden area of the trail.