Into the World’s Hot Zones

Wherever there was a hot spot in the world, Evergreen’s helicopters and later airplanes were never far behind. Evergreen’s hardware was so inextricably linked with political intrigue that rumors swirled that the company was owned by, or a front for, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Indeed, several of the company’s senior executives either worked for the agency or had close ties to it.

(((((( Spraying )))))))

Evergreen’s airplanes and helicopters supported United Nations peacekeeping operations in 30 countries, flew insect-eradication missions throughout Africa, were used for illegal-drug abatement spraying in Mexico and South America, helped build the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline and developed and serviced the offshore energy market worldwide. All told, Smith said his company flew in 168 countries over the years. “We were all over the world. Everywhere they needed a helicopter, they needed an airplane as well,” Smith noticed. “That encouraged us to buy an airplane fleet.”

Evergreen did buy assets during the 1970s that were previously linked to CIA operations, including Montana’s Johnson Flying Service and the CIA’s aviation “skunk works” in Marana, Ariz., which under Evergreen did special aircraft modifications ''