A War Too Long: The USAF in Southeast Asia, 1961-1975
AIR FORCE HISTORY SUPPORT OFFICE BOLLING AFB DC
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The Air Force instinctively disliked the slow, gradual way the United States prosecuted its war against the Vietnamese communists. While Americans undoubtedly delayed a communist victory in South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia long enough to spare Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries a similar fate, the American public grew very tired of this war years before its dismal conclusion. Due to questionable political policies and decision-making, only sporadic and relatively ineffective use had been made of air powers ability to bring great force to bear quickly and decisively. The United States and its Air Force experienced a decade of frustration made more painful by the losses of its personnel killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. Fighting resolutely and courageously, the Air Force played the decisive role in forcing North Vietnam to the peace table in 1973. The demands of the Vietnam War forced new developments such as laser-guided-bombs that would eventually radically transform the shape of air warfare.
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