Ravens and friends go to the News page for reunion Information


It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of Tom Palmer, Raven 40, who served at LS20A and L11 from Oct ’69 thru Oct ’70.  Tom passed away on 12 May 2024.  He was a frequent attendee of our reunions until the last few years and will be greatly missed by all Ravens.


Thomas Palmer Obituary

Major Thomas H. Palmer Raven 40′. USAF (Ret.) passed away peacefully on May 12, 2024 in Atascadero CA where he had spent the last couple of years at his daughter’s home.
Tom was born 11/2/34 in Clarkston Michigan. Tom’s whole life was airplanes and in 1956 he entered the Air Force to be a pilot. His 20 years of distinguished service in the US Air Force included multiple combat tours to Vietnam and Southeast Asia, for which he was twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Tom retired from the US Military in 1975 and continued to work with aircraft at TRW as a test pilot. After retiring he continued to fly, piloting for Placer County Sheriff’s office, CalFire, Los Medicos Voladores (Flying Doctors) and various charities that needed people moved around. When not flying he was usually in his hanger fixing planes and tinkering with his own.
Tom was also involved in the Lao Hmong Coalition of CA Sacramento. His relationship with and respect for the Hmong he worked with during the “Secret War” as a FAC was very important to him and he often reflected that the time in Laos was the best, most meaningful thing he had ever done.
Tom is survived by his son Glenn Palmer (Dinah), his daughter Suzanne Livingston (Peter), six grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, and a brother Donald Palmer.
As Tom wished, he will be buried in Arlington at a time still to be determined.
If you knew our dad you know he loved a good party. So raise a glass and toast a great guy who loved his country, was always ready to help those in need, happy to share his vast knowledge and experience with airplanes, and probably found a way to fly to the next Place.

Published by Auburn Journal on Jun. 22, 2024.

The following is Tom Palmer’s bio,  maintained as part of the National Air and Space Museum’s Wall of Honor archives for the F-100 Super Sabre Society:

Graduated from Aviation Cadet program October 1956, assigned to F84F training Luke AFB. On completion, assigned to 92nd FBS, RAF Manston, England. Port call cancelled to attend first training course in F-100A, Nellis AFB in early 1957. On completion, continued to assignment at RAF Manston about April 1957 in the F84F. Subsequently reassigned to 81st FBW RAF Bentwaters where I served in 81st Field Maintenance SQ and other wing assignments including a tour at the Norwitch Wash bombing range.

In mid 1958 I was reassigned to 79th FBS, 20th FBW at Woodbridge flying the F100D until rotating stateside in 1961 to attend AFIT at University of Michigan receiving a BS in Aero Engineering.

After a couple years in the space program (Titan III and X-20 programs), I was “returned to flying duties”
as a ground FAC in Japan that included about 6 months attached to the ROK Blue Dragon Marine Brigade, that soon evolved into a more realistic O-1 FAC operation.

I requested and received a slot for F4 upgrade training and served a tour in Thailand, 100 Missions over North Viet Nam with the 555th TFS. A year as a RAVEN FAC and a year on CRICKET ABCC finished my combat career.

Wall of Honor profiles are provided by the honoree or the donor who added their name to the Wall of Honor. The Museum cannot validate all facts contained in the profiles.

Folks, we had lost contact with Tom over the last couple of years.  When Craig Duehring was told by one of our Hmong friends at a Hmong gathering in Minnesota that he had passed away, we started to track down the information.  Six Ravens and two wives searched for info over the next four days.  Please think of all of your friends and consider reaching out for a wellness check.  Also, please try to make the Raven Reunion, 17-20 Oct 2024.

Nevermore…until October!!!

Lew Hatch

Raven 44




It is with great sadness that I inform you that Karl Polifka has informed us that Mike Byers, Raven 47, LS-20A, Jun 69-Dec 69, has taken his last flight.  Karl was calling to check on Mike, as he had not heard from him in a while, and Pam informed him that he had passed away earlier this week.  Mike’s obituary can be found at:  https://www.jconline.com/obituaries/psbn0834317 .


It is with great sadness that I inform you that Karl Polifka has informed us that Mike Byers, Raven 47, LS-20A, Jun 69-Dec 69, has taken his last flight.  Karl was calling to check on Mike, as he had not heard from him in a while, and Pam informed him that he had passed away earlier this week.  Mike’s obituary can be found at:  https://www.jconline.com/obituaries/psbn0834317 .


John Michael (Mike) Byers passed away on May 27, 2024 with his family by his side. He was a Renaissance Man that will be missed by many.

Mike was born December 17, 1943 to the late E. John Byers and Anne McMillan Byers in Danville, Illinois. He is survived by his wife of almost 58 years, Pam.He is also survived by his much loved son Rob (wife Karen) and grandson Davis. Surviving siblings are John Byers and Anne Byers.

Mike was a man with a wide range of talents and interests. He graduated from Purdue university in 1965 with a major in Psychology and English. While he was there as a member of ROTC he received his private pilots license. After graduation from Purdue he went on to serve in the United States Air Force for 11 years. He flew a wide range of planes from B-52 Bombers to O-2 observation planes while stationed in Vietnam, Thailand and Laos. While in Laos he served as a member of the Raven Squadron as a Forward Air Controller with the CIA.

He was celebrated during his Air Force career with both the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. After returning to the states, he served as a flight instructor with the Tactical Air Command where he specialized in safety and survival equipment. After leaving the Air Force Mike continued working as an Aircraft Engineer where he met the needs of military, commercial and private aircraft by providing ejection seats, lap/shoulder harnesses, and other aviation safety equipment.

Mike had always had an artistic flair, which he showed in many different ways. He started at an early age painting with his grandmother. He later took up stained glass as a hobby which grew into a full-fledged art studio – Raven Glass Studio. Music had always been a big part of Mike’s life. He played guitar during college, and later went on to play with a number of bands, including Bailiff’s Hollow, and Liath Macha. He hosted the Acoustic Blend show on WBAA for a number of years, where he also read an assortment of his Social Commentary essays. He composed many songs and lyrics that were performed and recorded by his fellow musicians. His song, The Parting Tide, was played in a pub in Ireland and fooled the locals, thinking it was an undiscovered traditional song.

The family would like to extend special thanks to the amazing staff at Creasy Springs for giving Mike so much care and love during his last few months.

Franciscan Hospice made his transition so peaceful.

A Celebration of Life will take place later this summer. Mike would like any

donations directed to Food Finders, Planned Parenthood or ACLU.


Please, friends, check on your friends.  And remember…”I’d have been a better friend, but I trusted Time.”


Nevermore…until October,

Lew Hatch

Raven 44

Pepsi received the following very nice note and photos from Luna XIONG, a 2020 Scholarship Winner of $1,500.  It is rare that we hear from past winners when they graduate.  You have to love her creativity and humor with the Burger King theme on her graduate cap (mortarboard).  Pepsi obtained her permission to post the note and photos on our site. Her parents are Kor and Seng.

Pepsi also worked to get her $2,000 from The Forty and Eight (40&8).


Hello Larry,
I hope you have been well and staying healthy! Guess what? I graduated yesterday!!!! Yay! I just wanted to send you this picture to show you and whoever donated the scholarship money that I made!!! I am forever grateful for the scholarship and without it, I couldn’t have accomplished finishing Nursing School.
Luna Xiong
P.S. Do you like my grad hat? Haha, I made it Burger King theme because my mom’s first job when she came to the United States was Burger King! Also, I love Burger King and every time I got an A on an exam, I went to get Burger King!

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2024 Raven Scholarships Winners

It is our distinct pleasure to announce the winners of the 2024 Distinguished Raven Scholarships. Without exception, these young men & women are truly outstanding.

Edgar Allen Poe Literary Society
Raven FACs
April 9, 2024
It is our distinct pleasure to announce the winners of the
2024 Distinguished Raven Scholarships. Without exception, these young men & women are truly outstanding.
Mark T. Diebolt Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)
Hana Yang
Sacramento, CA

John J . Bach, III Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)
Evelina Cheng
Sacramento, CA

Daniel Richard Davis Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)
Jaelynn Xiong
Sacramento, CA


Henry L. Allen Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)
Robert Yang
Elk Grove, CA

Richard G. Elzinga Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)
Abigail Xiong
Onalaska, WI

Gomer David Reese, III Memorial Scholarship ($1,500)
Fena Phengmany
Shelbyville, TN

James E. Cross Memorial Scholarship ($1,500)
Zongshai Vivian Lo
Schofield, WI

Joseph L. Chestnut Memorial Scholarship ($1,500)
Jennifer Sia Lor
Saint Paul, MN

Park George Bunker Memorial Scholarship ($1,500)
Mai Na Lee
Sacramento, CA


Charles E. Engle Memorial Scholarship ($1,000)
Christina Keoborakot
Joliet, IL

Dennis Edward Morgan Memorial Scholarship ($1,000)
Malachi Sky Thao
Paris, AR

Richard H. Defer Raven Memorial Scholarship ($1,000)
Sean Chue Vang
Saint Paul, MN

To: the Ravens

Greetings from the Distinguished Flying Cross Society (http://www.dfcsociety.org).

The DFC Society is pleased to announce its 2023 Reunion in Tucson AZ October 19 – 23. Our theme is “Vietnam War – 50 Years Later. Thank You For Your Service.” 

The Reunion hotel is the Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites: https://www.marriott.com/events/start.mi?id=1660838585208&key=GRP

For information on Reunion activities: http://www.events.afr-reg.com/e/DFC2023/

It is our distinct pleasure to announce the winners of the 2023 Distinguished Raven Scholarships. Without exception, these young men & women are truly outstanding.


Donald R. Moody Memorial Scholarship ($2,500)

Sheng Vang

Minneapolis, MN

George S, Wilson Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)

Madaline D. Her

Sacramento, CA

Frank M. Kricker Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)

Maisee Lor

Sacramento, CA

Jeffery E. Thompson Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)

Savannah Kajsiab Johnson

Winder, GA

David W, Saunders Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)

Thomas Y. Moua

Clovis, CA

Anthony P. Mahoney Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)

Ascher B. Bouskila

McKinney, TX


Max N. Hottell Memorial Scholarship ($1,500)

Nicholas L. Xiong

Milwaukee, WI

Samuel L Deichelmann Memorial Scholarship ($1,500)

Douachee Xiong

Eau Claire, WI


 Marlin L Siegwalt Memorial Scholarship ($1,500)

Philip Her

Hydesville, CA


 Charles D Ballou Memorial Scholarship ($1,000)

Adisouk Nhouyvanisvong

Wayzata, MN


Edward E “Hoss” McBride Memorial Scholarship ($1,000)

Nadia Chanthaphuang

Provo, UT


Larry Ratts just informed me that long-time Friend of the Ravens and duty driver for many years at our reunions, Jim Kellogg, has passed away.  Jim has been experiencing many health challenges over the last two years, since he passed out at our reunion in 2021.  He chose not to share his health issues with anyone outside his immediate circle of friends.  We will miss him.  If I hear any further information, I will pass it along.

“I’d have been a better friend, but I trusted Time.”  Nevermore!


Dr. Paul Carter, a historian living in Thailand, has just published a YouTube video covering the “Steve Canyon Program” or Raven FACs.  This is Part I of what is planned to be a two part series.  Several Ravens gave interviews and participated in Paul’s research.  Part two is expected to be produced next summer after the other projects that Paul currently has underway are released.  Paul has produced two other videos that I highly recommend, one on the secret war in Laos and one on our Missing in Action in the Vietnam war.

This is an excellent video for anyone interested in Raven FACs’ operations in Laos.  It can be found at: : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jt1NJV1qU2A

Feel free to share this link.


Annual meeting minutes are on the Ravens only page now. 



Ravens, go to the News page to read Toby Hughes Obit.  He was a long time friend of the ravens.


Raven FAC Descendant Scholarship             

The Edgar Allen Poe Literary Society (EALPS), i.e., Raven Forward Air Controllers (FACs) is proud to announce the first winner of the Raven FAC Descendant Scholarship.  This program was a trial approved by the membership and first awarded in 2020.

The winner, Robert Downing Abbott, is the grandson of Major Robert Louis Abbott Jr., (USAFA Class of 1964) who survived the Vietnam War, but was lost in an RF-4C training accident near Nellis AFB on May 10th 1979 during a Red Flag exercise.  Robert graduated from Missouri Military Academy in 2020 where he lettered in both soccer (3 years) and lacrosse (2 years). He is now enrolled at the University of Missouri studying mechanical engineering.  Inspired by stories of his grandfather, whom he never knew, Robert joined the University of Missouri AFROTC, Detachment 440, with the goal of becoming a USAF pilot. 



A private Facebook page named   Raven FAC’s/E.A.P.L.S  has been created by Lew and Ed.  Info from Ed follows:

Here is another link to the page:   https://www.facebook.com/groups/601112210770318

Ravens & Friends:

Not wanting to lose the entire Raven Reunion experience this year, Lew Hatch & I have been looking at ways to keep some of it alive during this crazy, mixed up time. Thanks to Lew’s hard work & tech savvy, I believe we have a way to keep our cherished Memorial Ceremony alive.

Last week, we met in the Auger Inn (which was closed) and made several videos of our ceremony.

We will be running it on a dedicated private Face book page,<< Raven FAC’s/E.A.P.L.S >>

This is a private FB page & Lew & I will be approving all members. It will have private rooms if you want to chat/renew old friendships.


Hello, Ravens. About 25 years ago I published a photo book called OUT OF LAOS: A Story of War and Exodus, for the children of Hmong refugees.  I am now working on a longer full-color version, bringing the story up to date and adding more coverage of notable Hmong, especially Lee Lue the T-28 pilot.


There’s a photo of Lee Lue that shows up in various places, including on the Ravens website. Usually the guy on the left is cropped out to just show Lee Lue, sometimes it’s both guys. But I have only seen it as a TINY digital file (under 20 kb), not much bigger than a postcard stamp. I’m trying to find either the original photograph or a much bigger and more detailed scan (5 mb or larger), so I can publish it, and so Hmong-American kids can get a better idea of one of their heroes.


Can you help? Do you know where the original photo can be found, or do you know someone who has a much bigger digital version of it?


Thanks so much,

Roger Warner

Out of Laos book project

18 Proctor Street 

Manchester MA 01938

(978) 821-8655


Here’s the photo in the version with both men:

P.S. Wrote a story about the Hmong T-28 pilots for Air & Space magazine long ago.  And a book on the Laos war. Got to know Heinie Aderholt a bit through Bill Lair. And so on.






Health for Every Veteran Study

This program was briefed at the Reunion business meeting.  It is a study sponsored by the VA that could benefit all veterans. It was checked out by Moose & he sees no downside to participation. 

We invite you to participate in a study focusing on your health behaviors and life experiences as a Veteran.

The goal of the Health for Every Veteran Study is to better understand the experiences of Veterans from all backgrounds and promote their health and well-being. We are interested in hearing the diverse voices within our communities.The study is being conducted by researchers at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. It consists of completing a confidential, web-based questionnaire every 9 months for approximately 2 years (for a total of 4 questionnaires). All research activities are completed online, with no in-person visits required. For more information, please go to https://healthforeveryvet.questionpro.com.

Merry Christmas


Edgar Allan Poe Literary Society, Inc. Home of the RAVEN FACS A non-profit veterans organization