Jerrold B. Daniels
Nickname Hog
Born (1941-06-11)June 11, 1941
Palo Alto, California
Died April 29, 1982(1982-04-29) (aged 40)
Bangkok, Thailand
Allegiance United States
Service/branch Central Intelligence Agency (U.S.)
Years of service 1960–1982
Relations Bob (father), Louise (mother), Ronald, Jack, and Kent (brothers)

Jerrold B. Daniels or Jerry Daniels (June 11, 1941 - April 29, 1982) was a CIA officer who worked in Laos and Thailand from the early 1960s to the early 1980s. He was known as his self-chosen call-sign "Hog" to other people.[1] In the early 1960s, he was recruited by the CIA as a liaison officer between Vang Pao and the CIA.[2][3] For twenty years, he worked closely with the Hmong people for the CIA's operations in Laos which is known as the "Secret War", and became "the most beloved of all the Americans by the Hmong".[4] When the communists took over Laos in 1975 and United States pulled out, thousands of Hmong fled across the Mekong river to Thailand where they lived in refugee camps and Daniels organized and helped their evacuation.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Daniels was born on June 11, 1941 in Palo Alto, California. His parents were Bob and Louise Daniels. He had three brothers: Ronald, Jack, and Kent. The family moved to Helmville, Montana in 1951, where he graduated from Missoula County High School in 1959.[5] When he was 17 years old, Daniels became one of the youngest smokejumpers in Missoula's history. He attended fires in Montana, New Mexico, and California.[6]

CIA and Laotian Civil War[edit | edit source]

In 1960, while he was a smokejumper, the CIA asked him to be a "cargo kicker" based out of Thailand. Cargo kickers were often smokejumpers as they had such familiarity with parachutes and jumping and surviving in rough terrain. Planes were loaded with cargo, flown into areas accessible only by plane, and cargo was then "kicked" out the door, and parachuted to drop off points on ground.[5]

In 1963, when he was enrolled as a college student at the University of Montana, Daniels required for his job in Laos. He divided time between classes and job duties as a CIA Junior Case Officer in Laos for the Hmong people. He graduated the college in 1969, and then was promoted to a full Case Officer in Laos upon graduation.[5]

In 1970, Daniels became a Personal Case Officer for General Vang Pao and worked closely with him on front-line military operations: battle plans, support of troops, equipment needs, finance needs, etc. The area had intense fighting. The Long Cheng airstrip was the stronghold for General Vang Pao and one of the busiest airport in the world at that time, moving troops and equipment. The only access to this area was via this airstrip. The airstrip was a mile long and handled C130, C47, and C46 planes. This airstrip was a top secret joint operation between Laos and the United States. CIA worked directly with the Hmong without government interference.[2][3]

From 1973 on, with the funding from the U.S. government, one of Daniels' tasks was to aid in the post war reconstruction projects and job development for the thousands of Hmong soldiers living in the Long Cheng area.[4]

But in May 1973, the United States rapidly began airlifting people and troops out of Vietnam prior to the fall of Saigon to Communist forces. Daniels was left to orchestrate secret air evacuations of Hmong from Laos to Thailand. He single-handedly was responsible for saving 2500 Hmong leaders and their families. The Hmong did not have a written language so screening was done visually and verbally to determine a person's loyalty to the United States. Daniels' position in the Hmong community gave him great insight in this area. Then, he returned to Thailand and worked for the Department of State as an Ethnic Affairs Officer until 1982. He sent many Hmong refugees to the Missoula area in Montana which was his hometown to be near General Vang Pao's farm in the Bitterroot during this time period.[4]

Death and rumors[edit | edit source]

On April 29, 1982, when his age was 40, he died in Bangkok mysteriously. The official report tells that he died of asphyxiation from propane water heater in his apartment. A disfigured body was found in his apartment, said to be dead a few days. Without visual or DNA testing, the body was declared by the U. S. Embassy to be that of Jerry Daniels. The casket was sealed with explicit instructions and security to guarantee it not be opened. The family was told Jerry was in the casket but no verifiable proof has ever been submitted. Upon the casket arriving in Missoula, the Hmong were allowed to honor him with a full formal three day traditional Hmong funeral celebration. Never has any non-Hmong been paid such tribute.[5]

To this day, Hmong around the world claim to have seen Jerry in Laos, the United States, and Europe since the time of his proclaimed death. Many of the Hmong believe Jerry was placed into protection and continues his work to this day.[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Parker Jr., James E. (1995). Codename Mule: Fighting the Secret War in Laos for the CIA. Naval Institute Press. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Robbins, Christopher (1987). The Ravens: The Men Who Flew In America's Secret War In Laos. Crown. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Warner, Roger (1995). Back Fire: The CIA's Secret War in Laos and Its Link to the War in Vietnam. Simon & Schuster. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Conboy, Kenneth (1995). The CIA's Secret War in Laos - Shadow War. Paladin Press. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 City of Missoula Government, Montana. "Jerrold "Hog" Daniels". Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  6. Donner, Fred (July 2003). "Jerry Daniels (Missoula 58-60) Remembered". Smokejumper Magazing. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 

Further reading[edit | edit source]

Jane Hamilton-Merritt (1999), Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos, 1942-1992, Indiana University Press.
Gayle L. Morrison (1998), Sky Is Falling: An Oral History of the CIA's Evacuation of the Hmong from Laos, McFarland & Company.
Christopher Robbins (1987), The Ravens: The Men Who Flew In America's Secret War In Laos, Crown.
Roger Warner (1995), Back Fire: The CIA's Secret War in Laos and Its Link to the War in Vietnam, Simon & Schuster.
Roger Warner (1998), Shooting at the Moon: The Story of America's Clandestine War in Laos, Steerforth.
James E. Parker, Jr. (1995), Codename Mule: Fighting the Secret War in Laos for the CIA, Naval Institute Press.
James E. Parker, Jr. (1997), Covert Ops: The CIA's Secret War in Laos, St. Martin's Paperbacks.
Kenneth Conboy (1995), The CIA's Secret War in Laos - Shadow War, Paladin Press.
Timothy N. Castle (1999), One Day Too Long: Top Secret Site 85 and the Bombing of North Vietnam, Columbia University Press.
Keith Quincy (2000), Harvesting Pa Chay's Wheat: The Hmong and America's Secret War in Laos, University of Washington Press.
William M. Leary and Leonard A. LeSchack (1996), Project Coldfeet: Secret Mission to a Soviet Ice Station, Naval Institute Press.


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