By Bernard C Nalty
Bargains with the function of the USA Air strength in advising the South Vietnamese Air strength and waging struggle in South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos from 1968 via 1975.
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Extra resources for Air War Over South Vietnam, 1968-1975
Gibson, a Lockheed C–130 pilot, took off from Cam Ranh Bay on January 30 to carry men and cargo to several airfields. He arrived over Ban Me Thuot, site of the earliest Tet attack, as enemy fire was scourging 30 The Enemy Repulsed the runway. The control tower operator warned him not to descend below 6,000 feet, an altitude safely beyond the effective range of Viet Cong heavy machineguns. Unable to complete the scheduled mission, Gibson returned to the quiet of Cam Ranh Bay and unloaded. For the next few days, he flew from Cam Ranh Bay, easily the most secure of South Vietnamese air bases, to Qui Nhon, Da Nang, and Chu Lai.
By the outbreak of the Tet offensive in 1968, however, he had begun to doubt reports of steady progress, and the house-by-house fighting that he saw at Hue further disillusioned him. He came away convinced not only that the enemy was far more tenacious than American officials had been willing to admit, but also that the conflict was destroying, rather than building, a South Vietnamese nation. S. forces continued to observe rules of engagement prescribing the circumstances in which various weapons could be used.
The absence of a continuing program reflected the policy of short tours in Southeast Asia, which usually lasted only one year. Base commanders changed frequently and each had to learn for himself the danger on the ground. 42 Besides demonstrating weaknesses in air base defense, the Tet offensive dramatized the importance of local intelligence, such as that provided by the area source program, administered since 1964 by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Within an eighteen-mile radius of each base used by the Air Force, the local program director recruited South Vietnamese agents to report suspicious occurrences, such as the sudden appearance of crude aiming stakes that might herald a nighttime rocket or mortar attack.
Air War Over South Vietnam, 1968-1975 by Bernard C Nalty