DRAGON ROUGE: The Rescue of Hostages in the Congo
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC RESEARCH DIRECTORATE
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From a purely military standpoint the DRAGON operations were a resounding success. Military assessments were made, entailing the acceptance of considerable risk by people who would be staking their lives and reputations on the accuracy of these assessments. These judgments led to the seizing of two cities in the heart of Africa and the rescue and evacuation of over 2,000 hostages by a force of barely 600 men, with only 3 soldiers killed and 7 wounded. The decision in the DRAGON ROUGE operation to await the arrival of the armored jeeps before proceeding into the city in search of hostages was the only questionable military judgment--unfortunate, but understandable. In DRAGON NOIR the judgment was corrected. President Johnson had inherited Kennedys crisis management team, a team that, because of the failure of bold initiative in the Bay of Pigs operation, was generally predisposed against boldness in all fields. The 111 days of the 1964 Stanleyville crisis revealed to the President his inheritance, perhaps for the first time. During his next big crisis, in April 1965 in the Dominican Republic, in another rescue operation, once he moved, he moved with power and decisiveness to assure the outcome. Then there was Vietnam.
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- Unconventional Warfare