The Criminal History of Ron Launius, Part Two


This is a post from James that I did not want any readers to miss… re-posted!

Furthermore, Ron served 6 months detention in the Air Force brig after he was busted. It is easy to see how so many servicemen got hooked on drugs while in SE Asia. A brown pill of heroin taken orally would take away the pain and boredom of duty, and only cost about 10 cents. Soldiers could buy them from street kids. For a new customer, 20 pills was a fatal dose…so they packed a punch and were not as addictive as the needle, nor were the withdrawals as brutal.

From the Val Kilmer Wonderland Art Project, I believe.

From the Val Kilmer Wonderland Art Project, I believe.

James had this info to share:

Ron Launius was caught smuggling heroin from Thailand, but this was not so unusual. So many GI’s were caught doing this. You would be shocked to hear high ranking officials were caught doing the same thing. BTW Ron received an Honorable Discharge. The movie states he received a dishonorable discharge. Misinformation for dramatic effect happens in US movies and news. Check your sources. American bullshit is pretty nefarious.

“Drugs did not only affect the lower ranks. In 1970 an Air Force major was apprehended at Tan Son Nhut air base near Saigon with $8 million dollars worth of heroin in his aircraft. In 1971 a colonel was court-martialed for leading marijuana parties in his squadron. Nor were U.S. security forces immune: that year 43 military policemen at Cam Ranh Air Force Base were arrested in narcotics raids. At Pleiku, a newly arrived lieutenant was gunned down in front of his entire platoon by four Army drug dealers. The company and battalion commanders were relieved of their commands; the feeling was both should have known about the drug dealing in their command. In 1971 U.S. customs at an Army post in New Jersey seized about 15 pounds of heroin from Bangkok in a package mailed through the U.S. military postal system. In March and April 1971 248 pieces of mail containing drugs were detected by customs in the Army and Air Force postal systems.”

I found this news article and it pretty much sums up the issue. Many guys got hooked on heroin in Vietnam. They even had a program to treat users (14 days? c’mon!)

AP Article. October 1971.

AP Article. October 1971.

Robert D. Heinl, Jr., “The Collapse of the Armed Forces,”

Marvin E. Gettleman et. al., Vietnam and America, (New York: Grove Press), 1995, p. 329;

James Kittfield, Prodigal Soldiers, (New York: Simon & Schuster), 1995, p. 189, 190; McCoy, p. 259.

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