"Hognose Silent Warrior: The USAF's Airborne Intelligence War in the Final Air Campaigns of Vietnam"

December, 1972 – Operation Linebacker II. It was the official designation given by American military strategists. The North Vietnamese government called it Dien Bien Phu of the Air. But most of us who were there simply called it the Christmas Bombings, or the 11-Day War. Whatever history wants to call it now, it was America’s final air battle of the Vietnam War. The Silent Warriors of the U.S. Air Force Security Service, the “back-enders” on Strategic Air Command’s Hognose RC-135 reconnaissance planes, were orbiting there throughout this historical air battle. But it wasn’t just this one. They had quietly been in all the USAF air campaigns of the Vietnam War. Little is known about the critical role that hundreds and hundreds of these unheralded flyboys played in America’s air war against communist aggression in Southeast Asia during that era. These Silent Warriors were merely one of the many integral pieces of the great puzzle that history knows as the Vietnam Conflict. They performed their top secret role in a most spectacular fashion by intercepting enemy communications about troop and materiel movements on the ground, surface-to-air launches and anti-aircraft targeting, and MiG fighter pilot communications. The author was one among many of those generational American kids of the 60’s who were selected to join the privileged ranks of the Air Force’s elite. And who, by circumstance, ended up flying more than a hundred dangerous combat support missions over the skies of Southeast Asia in the final air battle campaigns of the war and beyond. This is yet another untold story about Vietnam, one you may not have heard about before. It is America’s involvement in Vietnam as seen through a much different lens. It is a story about those who fought this war using intellect as their only weapon.

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