[January 1962 – Vientiane, Laos] Lao communist forces, known as the Pathet Lao (PL), were challenging the government’s Royal Lao Army (FAR) throughout the country. Although badly organized and poorly trained and equipped, the PL was bolstered by support from North Vietnam, whose units were called the VC (Vietnamese Communists).
The opposing forces in Laos at the time also included a renegade FAR captain, Kong Le, who commanded an elite battalion of parachutists. Angered by corruption in the FAR, he had staged a coup in Vientiane in 1960. When the coup failed, he had broken away from the FAR to form what he called neutralist forces. This group, known as the KL, fought the FAR, but not the PL or the VC.