The Rescue of Bat 21

The Rescue of Bat 21

4.5 2
by Darrel D. Whitcomb
     
 

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When his electronic warfare plane—call sign Bat 21—was shot down on 2 April 1972, fifty-three-year-old Air Force navigator Iceal “Gene” Hambleton parachuted into the middle of a North Vietnamese invasion force and set off the biggest and most controversial air rescue effort of the Vietnam War. Now, after twenty-five years of official secrecy,

Overview

When his electronic warfare plane—call sign Bat 21—was shot down on 2 April 1972, fifty-three-year-old Air Force navigator Iceal “Gene” Hambleton parachuted into the middle of a North Vietnamese invasion force and set off the biggest and most controversial air rescue effort of the Vietnam War. Now, after twenty-five years of official secrecy, the story of that dangerous and costly rescue is revealed for the first time by a decorated Air Force pilot and Vietnam veteran. Involving personnel from all services, including the Coast Guard, the unorthodox rescue operation claimed the lives of eleven soldiers and airmen, destroyed or damaged several aircraft, and put hundreds of airmen, a secret commando unit, and a South Vietnamese infantry division at risk. The book also examines the thorny debates arising from an operation that balanced one man’s life against mounting U.S. and South Vietnamese casualties and material losses, the operation’s impact on one of the most critical battles of the war, and the role played by search and rescue as America disengaged from that war.

Editorial Reviews

Marc Leepson
You should read Darrell D. Whitcomb's amazingly thorough The Rescue of Bat 21. . . He also examines the larger picture and sheds light on a period of the war that, underservedly, has not received much attention. -- VVA Veteran
Booknews
A decorated Air Force pilot and Vietnam veteran tells the previously secret story of the most controversial air rescue of the Vietnam War. The unorthodox operation involved personnel from all services, claimed the lives of 11 soldiers and airmen, destroyed or damaged several aircraft, and put hundreds of personnel at risk. Draws on recently unclassified records, first-time interviews with participants, and the author's direct experience with similar rescues. Includes b&w photos and maps, many previously unpublished. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781612515847
Publisher:
Naval Institute Press
Publication date:
07/15/2014
Pages:
248
Sales rank:
376,493
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

What People are saying about this

Larry Bond
A great story with good history...Whitcomb has the storyteller's gift.

Meet the Author

Darrel D. Whitcomb graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1969 and went on to serve three tours in Southeast Asia as a cargo pilot and air controller. He flew combat missions over Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia until the final days of conflict in 1973. Whitcomb was awarded a Silver Star and two Distinguished Flying Crosses for his service. He retired from the Air Force Reserve as a colonel in 1999. Following retirement from the Air Force, he spent four years as a pilot for Delta Airlines.

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4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book really helps you to experience what it was like to be down and behind enemy lines and fighting for your life. This book is a roller costar ride of fun and excitement and suspense!! With some homer thrown in to bring it all together. and once you start reading it you won't be able to stop. The thing that I liked best about this book is that when you read it you will feel as if your really there in Vietnam suffering hungering laughing and running every step of the way with the people who where there!!