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Sunday, July 14, 2024 - 05:39 PM


First Published in 1994


Eli-Chevez-GrenadeThe 11th Annual Royal Lao Airborne Banquet was held September 28, 2013, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Greenville.   The Banquet was hosted by Major General Khambang Sibounheuang, who resides in Tennessee and Brigadier General Amos Hykes from Greenville.  Members traveled in from all over the US and Canada.  Not only was it an opportunity to rekindle old friendships but to remember some of the events which occurred in Laos during the Vietnam War.

The Colors were presented by members of American Legion Post # 3, who served during the Vietnam War. The color guard also carried the Flag of Laos and the Royal Lao Airborne Flag.

The guest speaker was Mr. Eli Chevez, who recently retired from the Central Intelligence Agency. After serving as a LTC in the 82nd Airborne, Mr. Chevez was recruited by the CIA.  In 1971, Mr. Chevez was transferred to Laos and placed in command of a four Battalion Guerilla organization comprised of Lao soldiers. He and his Command were involved in significant battles at Skyline Ridge against the North Vietnamese.  Although they were outnumbered and suffered high casualties, they were successful in taking Skyline Ridge.   Many of the veterans of this action were present at the Banquet. In recognition of his leadership, Mr. Chevez was awarded the “Intelligent Star” Award for Valor in 1974.

The Royal Lao Airborne in the US was founded on September 3, 2001. From it’s beginnings in the 1950’s through today, the RLA has been, and will continue to be, a group of professionals who exhibit military bearing, hold true the core values and who put others before themselves.

It is supported by, and all Airborne Certifications are signed by, His Majesty, the Royal Lao Crown Prince. Royal Lao Parachute Wings are also on the DOD list of approved foreign awards. (FM 600-8-22, Appendix D, dated 16 NOV 2011.)

The mission of the Royal Lao Airborne is:

• Preserve the fame and glory of the Royal Lao Airborne

• Provide military training assistance to the US Armed Forces

• Provide humanitarian aid to Lao refugees

• Assist FEMA in disaster-related activities

It is also charged to maintain and strengthen the bonds of comradeship, which distinguish the members of the Royal Lao Airborne, to continue to develop the bond between current and past Airborne forces of the world, to provide for the gathering and dissemination of information concerning those members.

It also administers the Billy Ewing Raider Scholarship program for those seeking jump qualification. The Royal Lao Airborne is strictly non-political.