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Maharajah Vietnam 56 SOW Water Pump Khmer Laos T-28 party suit - info help

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I was excited to score this from a London vintage clothing store a couple of weeks ago, mixed up with a load of kid's Top Gun flight suits and other bits of fancy dress. After a bit of research, my conclusion is that this might be a Water Pump pilot / advisor / FAC / Raven outfit.


Some interesting patches, that I had never seen, or knew existed, until finding this suit:


'T.L.D.' is Thailand Liaison Detachment, set up in 1973 and reporting direct to the Pentagon to coordinate activities in Cambodia, formed from personnel of Water Pump / 56th SOW.


The 'Every Man a Tiger' patch seems to be an update of the Detachment 1, 56 SOW patch, and now has 'T.L.D.' along the top scroll. The leaping Tiger patch seems to be the patch for Water Pump.


To the shoulders are US flag, Thai-Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia flags, and a Washington State flag, presumably 'Larry's' home state.


The reverse is direct embroidered with a T-28, laden with bombs and firing missiles - seems to be one pilot, no-one in the rear seat so to me this does not suggest a 'training mission' (?)


I don't know exactly what the pilot wings are supposed to represent - seems to be US wings but with a pair of crossed telephones (?) above, and a joystick (?) below - maybe FAC ?

I also don't know what 'Tiger Ops' is.


There is no rank or official USAF insignia on the suit - from what I have read it seems these Water Pump pilots were ex-USAF now dressed as 'civilians' in order to appear compliant with US (non-military) foreign policy in Laos / Cambodia.


I'd be interested to know what any other members think of this, and also if anyone has any further insight or understanding of this pilot and the 'T.L.D.', as most info that I can find on these units seems pretty secretive.


Also, would 'Larry' have been a trainer for the Laos / Khmer forces, or was he likely to be FAC ?


Suit is made by Maharajah Udornthani Thailand, printed label, suit is dark green poly-cotton, with impossibly gigantic Elvis kick-flares of yellow cotton...


It's just interesting to find a garment that gets your curiosity going - if anyone other members have any thoughts or opinions, please do share..


all the best..







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River Patrol

Those MACTHAI patches are super rare. Looks like a great party suite. I'm not sure what the wings represent but I'd love to know.

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Those MACTHAI patches are super rare. Looks like a great party suite. I'm not sure what the wings represent but I'd love to know.

Looks like crossed telephones over a phone cradle. Makes sense if he was in Ops. He would be doing a lot of phone calls coordinating things.



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