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On top of the food drops (known as "rice drops") came the logistical demands for the war itself, and Air America pilots flew thousands of flights transporting and air-dropping ammunition and weapons (referred to as "hard rice" to friendly forces.

Forced draft urbanization policies, such as the widespread application of Agent Orange to Vietnamese farmland created a disruption in local food production, so thousands of tons of food had to be flown in, including live chickens, pigs, water buffalo, and cattle.

The principal continental US maintenance base was at Pinal Airpark, Marana, Arizona.

From 1959 to 1962 the airline provided direct and indirect support to US Special Forces "Ambidextrous", "Hotfoot", and "White Star", which trained the regular Royal Laotian armed forces.

Air America aircraft, including the Curtiss C-46 Commando, Pilatus PC-6 Porter, de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou, C-130, and Fairchild C-123 Provider, along with UH34D, Bell 204B, 205, and CH47C helicopters, flew many types of cargo to countries such as the Republic of Vietnam, the Kingdom of Laos, and Cambodia.

It operated from bases in those countries and also from bases in Thailand and as far afield as Taiwan and Japan.

Airdale formed a subsidiary corporation named CAT, Inc. also formed Asiatic Aeronautical Company Ltd, a Republic of China company. Civil Air Transport remained in existence throughout the tenure of Air America from 1950 through 1976, and for several years was the flag carrier for the Republic of China.

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