Eagle Eye Challenge

This exercise is designed to give you an appreciation for some of the challenges Forward Air Controllers and ground-based photo interpreters faced in identifying potential targets in Southeast Asia.   You will be using an actual photo taken by a FAC over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos during 1970 to identify as many possible targets or suspicious areas as possible.


1. Download the exercise worksheet (MS Word document).

Click here to download worksheet.

2. Open the document Exercise.doc in MS Word.   Enter your name at the indicated place at the top of the document and print the page.   IT DOES NOT NEED TO BE IN COLOR!   Black and white is OK.

3. Go to the page on Choke Points in the AirOps Web site:

Click here to open the page in a new browser

4. On this new page, click on the image of "The Falls" at the top of the page to open a larger version of this photo.   This larger image is the one you should use for the exercise.

5. Examine the scene in the photo very carefully and try to identify signs of enemy activity.   You are looking for anti-aircraft gun emplacements, vehicle hiding places, openings in the sides of hills, trails that disappear, camouflaged areas, holes that look different from other bomb craters and anything else that does not look like it belongs.   When you identify something that you think would qualify as a potential target or highly suspicious area, circle it on the worksheet.   Use a "Sharpie" or other wide tipped marker.   After you have circled all the areas of interest that you can find in the photo, select the four that you think are the most likely to contain something of value (vehicles, supplies, guns) and number them in descending order of priority, one to four.   On the back of the worksheet (or a separate sheet of paper with your name on it), number one to four and beside each number give a brief description of the corresponding "target" and what you think might be there.

6. Turn in your worksheet at the next class.

This is an optional exercise, but I hope as many of you as possible will give it a try and have some fun with it.   There will be appropriate recognition for those with the most legitimate targets, best selection of your four "counters," and original analysis.   "Shotgunning" (indiscriminate circling of anything and everything) may count against you.   Remember, you have limited resources to cover legitimate targets!


    • Look for things that do not seem to belong.

    • Remember that straight lines do not normally occur in nature.

    • Study the characteristics of the bomb craters.   Notice any that look different?   How are they different?

A word of caution.   There is graininess in the image that presents a waffle appearance in some areas of the photo.   Take that into account as you do your analysis.

You're cleared in hot!

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