A fascinating history of the most secretive and unsung branch of the US military’s Special Forces, from World War II through Desert Storm
Very little is known about USAF Special Operations—yet their exploits have been as daring and their achievements as remarkable as anything accomplished by their brother warriors. Since World War II, these ultra-secretive “air commandos” have routinely performed the near-impossible, undertaking missions that typically carry them across enemy lines. From secretly inserting covert operatives into North Korea and participating in clandestine CIA operations in Vietnam and Cambodia to providing air support for partisans in Nazi-occupied France and rescuing dozens of downed fliers trapped deep in enemy territory, these courageous airmen have done the jobs that no one else could do, often in the most technologically advanced war machinery the Air Force has at its disposal. Sometimes called “ravens” or “carpetbaggers,” the air commandos have a history that has long been buried beneath layers of official cover stories, rumors, and deceptions—until now.
An expert in military affairs, Orr Kelly has already written what many believe to be the definitive history of the US Navy SEALs (Brave Men, Dark Waters). Now, he turns his attention to this unsung branch of the military’s Special Forces, relating a true story of courage, skill, and commitment that spans decades. With uncompromising honesty, he explores both the triumphs (Project 9 in Burma) and the disasters (the failed rescue of hostages in Iran) of these incomparable heroes of the sky, who have never sought recognition or glory.