To Hanoi and Back

By: Department of the Air Force

Type: Hardcover

Product Line: Reference Books (Dept. of the Air Force)

(dust jacket Fair+)

Product Info

To Hanoi and Back
Wayne Thompson
Publish Year
NKG Part #


By the summer of 1966, the reputation of the U.S. Air Force had hit rock bottom in North Vietnam. After more than a year of ineffectual bombing, fighter aircrews still had to run a gauntlet of formidable air defenses to bomb relatively insignificant targets inaccurately. Meanwhile, President Lyndon Johnson kept the Air Force's big B-52 bombers far away from North Vietnam's major cities.

The service began reshaping itself into an instrument better suited to function under political and environmental constraints, including bad weather, darkness, and jungle. Improved technologies and tactics enabled airmen to destroy targets with lower risk both to themselves and to civilians.

In 1972 after most American ground forces had left Vietnam, the Air Force's new laser-guided bombs as well as its old B-52s with unguided bombs played important roles in stopping North Vietnam's first overt invasion of South Vietnam. When North Vietnam launched a successful offensive in 1975, the U.S. Air Force was no longer there to sustain South Vietnam.

But in years to come, the Air Force's increasingly precise capabilities would meet with greater success elsewhere, at least in part a legacy of the air war over North Vietnam.

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