Operation Kingpin - Success or Failure
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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One of the more controversial operations during the Vietnam War did not involve defoliants or bombing remote hamlets rather it was an attempt to rescue 54 Americans held captive in the north. Operation Kingpin was the raid to retrieve prisoners of war POWs from a camp located near Hanoi at a place called Son Tay. This effort is best remembered because the captives had been moved prior to the raid and the camp was found to be empty. But despite failing to accomplish the objective, this mission offers some valuable lessons in jointness. Kingpin proved that a joint mission could be well planned, trained, and executed--lessons forgotten ten years later in Eagle Claw, the aborted mission to rescue American captives from Iran. The raid on Son Tay demonstrated that service rivalries could be effectively overcome to organize an appropriate force, sort out equipment interoperability problems, conduct proper training, and complete contingency planning to execute a mission despite the inevitable friction of war.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics