Yankee Air Pirates
Yankee Air Pirates
In the winter of 1972, after many years of armed conflict in Vietnam, President Nixon ordered Operation Linebacker II, the most massive aerial bombing campaign since the end of World War II. In this successful effort to end the Vietnam War, B-52s were sent from Thailand and Guam to attack key targets in North Vietnam that would force the North Vietnamese to capitulate. The primary targets were located in Hanoi and Haiphong, North Vietnam, which were the most heavily defended cities in the history of aerial warfare.
Yankee Air Pirates tells the story of this campaign through the eyes of Spike, Bulldog, D-Kid, and the many other crewdogs (as B-52 crew members referred to themselves) who flew the massive Stratofortress on these dangerous missions. In the eleven nights of bombing, fifteen of the huge planes were shot down. Five of the aircraft made it to safety in Thailand before ejecting, and ten went down over Hanoi. Of the 61 crewdogs that went down over Hanoi, thirty-two were captured and later repatriated. The other 29 gave their lives.
Who were these crewdogs? In the air, they were serious professionals. They were wise beyond their years, educated by experiences that most will never know. On the ground, they were rowdy, undisciplined, hard-drinking misfits.
They were heroes in a time that many at home refused to recognize their heroism, and they were patriots when “patriotism” was a bad word in America. Most importantly, they were eager to do everything they could, including risking their lives, to end the war and free the prisoners so everyone could go home to their families and friends.
Yankee Air Pirates is at times hilarious, moving, thought provoking, and insightful, but it is always entertaining. Whatever you think of any of the wars this nation has fought, Yankee Air Pirates will make you proud to know the men and women who have fought those wars for the rest of us.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-9826180-5-9 | 412 pages
Also available in e-book on Kindle