Academic journal article Military Review

From A Dark Sky: The Story of U.S. Air Force Special Operations

Academic journal article Military Review

From A Dark Sky: The Story of U.S. Air Force Special Operations

Article excerpt

FROM A DARK SKY: The Story of U. Air For Special Operations by Orr Kelly. 340 pages. Presidio Press, Novato, CA 1996. $24.95.

Orr Kelly provides a highly readable account of Air Force special operations (SO) from the beginning of World War II through Operation Desert Storm. SO practitioners are well aware their missions are inherently joint. To succeed, such missions must include each military service's unique capabilities. The Air Force currently provides aerial fire support, long-range fixed-wing transport and some helicopter support to Navy SEALs and Army SO forces. While Army and Navy SO may have the greatest mystique because of publicized accounts and movies about men who conduct these missions, many such exploits would not be possible without Air Force fire support and transportation. This is the role Kelly examines.

Because Kelly's research was hampered by the lack of World War II documents and the classification of recent documents, he used oral histories, personal interviews and firsthand narratives to present his history. While this approach leaves open the question of scholarly research, it enables Kelly to present an exciting story about a seldom-discussed SO aspect Focusing on individuals and real-life exploits gives the book a vividness that, were the stories not true, would only be equaled by a novel. …

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