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Saving Bravo: The Greatest Rescue Mission in Navy SEAL History

Saving Bravo: The Greatest Rescue Mission in Navy SEAL History

by Stephan Talty


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From the author of A Captain's Duty, the New York Times best-selling account of Captain Phillips, comes the untold story of the most important rescue mission not just of the Vietnam War, but the entire Cold War.

One American aviator, who knew our most important secrets, crashed behind enemy lines and risked capture by both the North Vietnamese and the Soviets. One Navy SEAL and his Vietnamese partner had to sneak past them all to save him.

At the height of the Vietnam War, few American airmen are more valuable than Lieutenant Colonel Gene Hambleton. His memory is filled with highly classified information that the Soviets and North Vietnamese badly want. When Hambleton is shot down in the midst of North Vietnam’s Easter Offensive, US forces place the entire war on hold to save a single man hiding among 30,000 enemy troops and tanks. Airborne rescue missions fail, killing eleven Americans. Finally, Navy SEAL Thomas Norris and his Vietnamese guide, Nguyen Van Kiet, volunteer to go after him on foot. Gliding past hundreds of enemy soldiers, it takes them days to reach Hambleton, who, guided toward his rescuers via improvised radio code, is barely alive, deeply malnourished, and hallucinating after eleven days on the run.

In this deeply researched, untold story, award-winning author Stephan Talty describes the extraordinary mission that led Hambleton to safety. Drawing from dozens of interviews and access to unpublished papers, Saving Bravo is the riveting story of one of the greatest rescue missions in the history of the Special Forces.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328866721
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/30/2018
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 670,749
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

STEPHAN TALTY is the award-winning author of Agent Garbo,Empire of Blue Water, and other best-selling works of narrative nonfiction. His books have been made into two films, the Oscar-winning Captain Phillips and Only the Brave. He is also the author of two psychological thrillers, including the New York Times bestseller Black Irish, set in his hometown of Buffalo. He has written for the New York Times Magazine,GQ, and many other publications. Talty now lives outside New York City with his family.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Prologue: The River xiii

Part I Gene

1 Midwestern 3

2 Rocket Man 12

3 Korat 21

4 The Boys in the Back 29

5 The Time of Useful Consciousness 36

6 Ernie Banks 43

7 Blueghost 39 48

8 Tucson 62

9 Blowtorch Jockeys 68

Part II Dark Knights

10 Joker 77

11 Yesterday's Frat Boy 86

12 "Their Glowing Trajectories" 93

13 Tiny Tim 100

14 Futility 106

15 "I Know We're Going to Die" 111

16 Low Bird 117

17 The Division 124

Part III The Swanee

18 The Real John Wayne 129

19 The Hurricane Lover 135

20 When the Moon Goes over the Mountain 140

21 The First at Tucson National 152

22 Dark Encounter 159

23 The Grove 165

24 Clark 173

25 Places Like the Moon 179

26 Zeroed In 183

27 Esther Williams 188

28 "Some Kind of Rescue" 200

29 The Sampan 207

30 Journey's End 214

31 "Lay That Man Down" 222

32 Beyond a Normal Call of Duty 232

33 The Returns 242

34 "As Comrades" 247

Acknowledgments 258

Appendix A Chronology 259

Appendix B Walker and Potts 262

Notes 273

Index 298

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