Weapons of war slowly rust in the moist heat within the heart of the country of Laos. An effort to clean up the country has taken over 20 years. It is said that if you put the first and second world war together and the amount of weapons that were used between these two wars, Laos completely exceeded that. Reports indicate that between 1968 and 1971, B52s carpet-bombed Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in hope of slowing the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) down. In 1971 President Nixon gave the order to send in troops into Laos to stop the supply of weapons that were being transported down the Ho Chi Minh trail. Sanctions that prohibited American boots from setting foot on Laosian soil meant that the Americans had to train the South Vietnamese Army to be combat ready.
The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and a handful of American advisers entered Laos with the intention of stopping the NVA. The mission meant that the ARVN would be in full control. Over 30,000 troops entered Laos and headed towards a town called Tchepone, about 43kms from the Vietnamese broader. Tchepone in which the Americans believe that this was a major supply depot to the North Vietnamese Army which are known as the Viet Cong (VC), the Americans sent in B52 bombers as well as attack aircrafts, tanks and many helicopters in support of the ARVN. As fierce fighting broke out against the ARVN and the NVA, Americans were forced into rescuing the South Vietnamese troops from being overrun, and due to the fact that there was a break down in high command within the ARVN. By the time that the battle concluded, over 3800 ARVN had been killed, and 253 Americans died, and over 1100 wounded in the Lam Son Operation inside Laos.
Since 1966, over 630,000 men, 100,000 tons of foodstuffs, 400,000 weapons, and 50,000 tons of ammunition had traveled through the maze of gravel and dirt roads, paths, and river transportation systems that crisscrossed alone the Ho Chi Minh trail in southeastern Laos, the estimation of the amount of bombs dropped in the Vietnam war including Laos and Cambodia is a staggering 7 million tons.