Leavenworth Paper No. 14, Dragon Operations: Hostage Rescues in the Congo, 1964-1965 is a useful historical analysis of a cold war crisis, the resolution of which depended upon the planning and execution of joint and combined military ...
Leavenworth Paper No. 14, Dragon Operations: Hostage Rescues in the
Congo, 1964-1965 is a useful historical analysis of a cold war crisis, the
resolution of which depended upon the planning and execution of joint and
combined military operations. It shows how combatants react to the pressures
and uncertainties associated with a rapidly changing situation in a
highly politicized arena.
Major Thomas P. Odom examines the Congo rescue missions at each
level of United States military involvement. As a working group of diplomats,
intelligence personnel, and military officers' managed the crisis from
Washington, their representatives in the field planned and executed the
airborne operations. Odom traces the evolution of planning from what was
to have been a joint United States Army-Air Force operation to a combined
venture in which the major American cotntribution was to airlift Belgian
paratroopers into the Congo and to evacuate the surviving hostages. Based
on recently declassified documents and interviews with key American,
Belgian, and French participants, Dragon Operations combines detailed
analysis and a narrative to provide fresh insight into one of the first hostage
rescue missions of the cold war. Odom's account shows how the fluidity of
an extremely complex situation can defy even the most comprehensive plans.
Where planning was defective or the plans proved outdated, the combined
team taking part in the mission relied on flexibility and adaptability to see
Dragon Operations, besides chronicling a successful operation, clearly
demonstrates the relevance of military history for today's professional soldier.
Although the circumstances and considerations of the Congo crisis are unique
to that situation, the case study reveals broader interoperability patterns
that continually must be addressed in joint and combined operations.