Published Authors

Airpower and the Airlift Evacuation of Kham Duc

by Alan L. Gropman

Illustrated with over 30 maps, diagrams and photos
THIS slender volume has value for both the general reader and the aviation specialist. For the latter there are lessons regarding command and control and combined-unit operations that need to be learned to achieve battlefield success. For the former there is a straightforward narrative about American aviators of all four services struggling in the most difficult of conditions to try to rescue more than 1,500 American and Vietnamese military and civilians. Not all the Americans moving through the events recounted in this monograph acted heroically, but most did, and it was their heroism that gave the evacuation the success it had.
Airpower and the Airlift Evacuation of Kham Duc is fully documented so that readers wishing to look deeper into this incident may do so. Those who study the battle will see that it was something of a microcosm of the entire Vietnam War in the relationship of airpower to tactical ground efforts. Kham Duc sat at the bottom of a small green mountain bowl, and during most of 12 May 1968 the sky was full of helicopters, forward air controller aircraft, transports, and fighters, all striving to succeed and to avoid running into each other in what were most trying circumstances. In the end they carried the day, though by the narrowest of margins and with heavy losses.