Book 14


The Gunships







Page Updated
October 10, 2011

Contact: Bill Petrie
CMSgt, USAF, Ret.

Guest Book




A Favorite from
The Book Hootch

Air War Over South Vietnam 1968-1975
by Bernard C. Nalty

ISBN: 0-16-050914-9
540 pages

Air Force History and Museums Program
United States Air Force
Washington, D.C. 2005

To order online:

E-mail address for the Air Force Historical Studies Office:

Active Duty, Retired, National Guard, Reserve, and current DOD civilians:  May receive one paperback copy free of charge by sending an e-mail to this mailbox  E-mail must contain:  name, rank, service, which category (Active Duty, Retired, National Guard, etc.), number of years of service, and complete mailing address.  This does not apply to veterans who are not retired.

Veterans who are not retired, and any others must purchase from the U.S. Government Printing Office.  Their web site address is

Air WAR over SVN cover

This volume covers the period from the Tet offensive and the opening of the road to Khe Sanh in 1968 through the final collapse of South Vietnam in 1975. It deals with the role of the Air Force in advising the South Vietnamese Air Force and waging war in South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

Until the Tet offensive of 1968, the United States hoped to compel North Vietnam, through military operations and negotiations, to call off its war against South Vietnam thus ensuring the survival of an independent South Vietnam. However, the 1973 peace agreement accepted the presence of North Vietnamese forces on territory seized from South Vietnam, and the survival of the Saigon regime depended on the forbearance of the communist leadership or the willingness of the United States to vigorously respond to a new attack. This history includes the so-called Vietnamization of the war, the withdrawal of American forces, American and South Vietnamese operations in Cambodia, the South Vietnamese attack in Laos toward Tchepone, the containment of the invading North Vietnamese forces in 1972, the provision of additional aid from the United States, the military impact of the peace settlement, and the successful communist offensive of 1975.

These events took place against the background of deepening American disenchantment with the war, initially voiced by a clamorous antiwar movement but eventually shared by a sizeable segment of the general populace. The unpopularity of the war influenced the decision of the administration of President Richard M. Nixon to minimize American casualties by increasing Vietnamese participation in the fighting and substituting air power, wielded largely by military professionals or volunteers, for American ground troops, who were mostly draftees.

This, in short, is a story of frustration, disillusionment, changing goals, and eventual disengagement that can teach an important lesson to those who would impulsively commit American might without ensuring that the nations vital interests are involved and that the populace, which supplies the troops and treasure needed for the effort, understands and supports the intervention.

Bernard C. Nalty, devoted some thirty years to the Air Force history program before retiring in 1994. He was a senior historian in the Office of Air Force History. He earned a B.A. from Creighton University and an M.A. from Catholic University and served as an officer in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955. He was chief editor and coauthor of Winged Sword, Winged Shield (1997), the Air Force’s two-volume 50th-anniversary history, and has written Air Power and the Fight for Khe Sanh (1973), an Air Force monograph on the Vietnam War; Tigers over Asia (1978), an account of the Flying Tigers during World War II; Strength for the Fight: A History of Black Americans in the Military (1986); and two pamphlets dealing with the Marine Corps in World War II — Cape Gloucester: The Green Inferno (1994) and The Right to Fight: African American Marines in World War ll (1995). He is coauthor with Henry I. Shaw, Jr., and Edwin T. Turnbladh of Central Pacific Drive (1996), a history of Marine Corps operations in World War II. With Morris I. MacGregor, Jr., he edited the thirteen-volume Blacks in the United States Armed Forces: Basic Documents and its single volume abridgement Blacks in the Military: Essential Documents (1981).

If you know of a book that would be appropriate for these pages please let us know.

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