A Very Short War: The Mayaguez and the Battle of Koh Tang by John Francis Guilmartin, John Keegan

By John Francis Guilmartin, John Keegan

On could 12, 1975, lower than weeks after the autumn of Saigon, Khmer Rouge naval forces seized the S.S. Mayaguez, an American box send, off the Cambodian coast within the Gulf of Siam. The rapid army reaction ordered by way of President Gerald Ford was once designed to recapture the Mayaguez, held at anchor off the island of Koh Tang, to disencumber her workforce, and to illustrate U.S. power and get to the bottom of within the rapid aftermath of America's such a lot humiliating defeat.Guilmartin, a former air rescue helicopter pilot stationed in Thailand, offers a special and compelling account of the Mayaguez–Koh Tang challenge, laying off new gentle at the politics, the strategies, the orders, the high-level determination makers, and the scuffling with males entangled in a very important army motion that just about resulted in catastrophe for U.S. forces.". . . a super and particularly transparent tactical research that provides some extent of departure for broader reflections at the nature of contingency and uncertainty in all army operations."--Foreign Affairs"This is an outstanding publication. . . [Guilmartin's] paintings transcends the occasions themselves, illustrating quite a few points of fellows in battle. His insights and observations are compelling."--Journal of army History". . . written with the aptitude and pleasure of an experience novel. Even those that understand the end result and the teachings of the Mayaguez incident will locate this ebook tough to place down until eventually finished."--Proceedings

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13 Measured by the parameters established by air force standardization and training directives, the aircrews were extremely competent. To cite two examples, standards of aircraft systems knowledge were very high, an important consideration with a machine as complex as the H-53. So were standards of instrument flying. Using formal readiness criteria, both squadrons were mission capable,14 but the statistics concealed weaknesses. 15 In the case of the 40th, this included training with Korat-based A-7 fighter-bombers designated for the RESCORT (rescue escort) role, but this instruction was not required and was conducted only sporadically.

If there was a central tendency, it was frank openness in venting frustration and bitterness with no pretense at "objectivity," combined with a painstaking effort to be factually accurate. I did not intend to rely on word of mouth in isolation. My archival instincts kicked in, and I assembled such unclassified documentation relating to the operation as I could lay hands on, much of it transient material that would shortly disappear. At that point, I had no long-range plan. Instead I was driven by the simple awareness that whatever I did not preserve would be permanently lost.

The fatal air force mishaps differed from those suffered by other H-53 users, notably the navy and marines, in that there was no evidence of enemy action, adverse weather, or aircrew error. 26 The air force H-53 safety record was otherwise excellent, but the two unexplained losses left a gnawing doubt. Then, on 24 January 1975, an H-53 assigned to the 21st squadron crashed near Nakhon Phanom while on a maintenance check flight, killing all four aboard.

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