Air Mobility: The Development of a Doctrine

Air Mobility: The Development of a Doctrine

Air Mobility: The Development of a Doctrine

Air Mobility: The Development of a Doctrine

Synopsis

In the immediate post-World War II period, Army aviation began to evolve from an observatory role to a mobility role. Helicopter air mobility began to develop in the Army from 1949 onwards. The outbreak of the Korean war assisted and accelerated the acceptance of greater helicopter air mobility within the Army. The Eisenhower period was a golden age for Army aviation, with rapid and extensive developments in air mobility doctrine and tactics. There was also a strong research and development effort to overcome the initial technological lag. These developments allowed the formation of the first air mobile division in 1965 to meet the growing demands of the Vietnam war. This work gives a new understanding of the process of military innovation. Moreover, this case study has important general implications for future military policy-making.

Excerpt

Historians generally agree on the birth of American air power and its evolution is very well documented. However, very little scholarly work has been accomplished on the birth of Army Aviation. Most recognize the birth was not without difficulty and indeed the maturation of Army Aviation as a full-fledged combat arms branch continues today. This book completes a rather detailed survey of events, issues and key players that shaped Army Aviation and air mobility from its beginning in 1942 through 1965.

The author is to be commended for a very accurate accounting of our early history. It was developed from a blend of detailed research into the archives for documentation followed up by interviews relating to the documentation and finally a detailed analysis of what was discovered and collected. This approach enabled Dr Cheng to produce a descriptive piece of work with an analytical flavor not always present when we review our history lessons.

The book is not without limitations. Time and resource constraints prevented research into the National Archives and the Center for Military History. and as already mentioned, it does not proceed beyond 1965. Hopefully, Dr Cheng or someone else with his diligence and style will continue the saga, for the men and women of Army Aviation are making history every day.

The value of the book is twofold: First, Dr Cheng provides a wealth of detail on aircraft developments, including the years of work to form efficient organizations with capabilities for the full gamut of military operations. Second, he presents a comprehensive portrait of dedicated, visionary people struggling to provide the America's Army . . .

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