Vietnam Air Losses: United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps Fixed-Wing Aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973

By Fuller, Ron | Air & Space Power Journal, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

Vietnam Air Losses: United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps Fixed-Wing Aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973


Fuller, Ron, Air & Space Power Journal


Vietnam Air Losses: United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps Fixed-Wing Aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973 by Chris Hobson. Midland Publishing, available from Specialty Press (http://www.specialtypress.com), 39966 Grand Avenue, North Branch, Minnesota 55056, 2001, 192 pages, $29.95 (softcover).

The headline of a front-page story in the New York Times on 21 March 1961 read, "U.S. Ready to Face All Risks to Bar Red Rule of Laos/Decision Made as Kennedy Meets with Top Military Advisors/ Growing Crisis Seen." Two days later, Pathet Lao ground fire downed a C-47B out of Vientiane, thus marking the loss of the first US fixed-wing aircraft operating in the fledgling conflict in Southeast Asia. Seven crew members died. Maj Lawrence Robert Bailey, "who always wore a parachute when he flew," survived to spend nearly 17 months as a prisoner of war (p. 5).

In Vietnam Air Losses, Chris Hobson offers a running calendar that chronicles the air war and provides capsule accounts of aircraft lost and the fate of their crews, addressing the when, where, how, and why of these incidents. The book's stories of aviators connected by a common thread describe accounts of bravery, misfortune, and occasional misadventure. On another level, they provide a clinical record, both historical and statistical, of air warfare in Southeast Asia.

The author, a British librarian with over 20 years' service with the Ministry of Defence, ties together 3,322 aircraft losses with insightful background information about participating units, aircraft types, and the operational history of the war. …

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