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Includes over 100 maps, plans and illustrations
The United States Air Force reached its nadir during the opening two years of the Rolling Thunder air campaign in North Vietnam. Never had the Air Force operated with so many restraints and to so little effect. These pages are painful but necessary reading for all who care about the nation’s military power.
Jacob Van Staaveren wrote this book in the 1970s near the end of his distinguished government service, which began during the occupation of Japan; the University of Washington Press published his book on that experience in 1995. He was an Air Force historian in Korea during the Korean War, and he began to write about the Vietnam War while it was still being fought. His volume on the air war in Laos was declassified and published in 1993. Now this volume on the air war in North Vietnam has also been declassified and is being published for the first time. Although he retired to McMinnville, Oregon, a number of years ago, we asked him to review the manuscript and make any changes that seemed warranted. For the most part, this is the book he wrote soon after the war.
Readers of this volume will also want to read the sequel, Wayne Thompson’s To Hanoi and Back: The U.S. Air Force and North Vietnam, 1966-1973, which tells the more encouraging story of how the Air Force employed airpower to far greater effect using a combination of better doctrine, tactics, technology, and training.