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Book The RAVENS by Christopher Robbins (1989-07-01)


The RAVENS by Christopher Robbins (1989-07-01)

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Review Text

  • By George E. Nolly on July 22, 2012

    As the author of Hamfist Over The Trail: The Air Combat Adventures of Hamilton "Hamfist" Hancock (The Adventures of Hamilton "Hamfist" Hancock), I really appreciate reading a great book about FACs and the air war in Laos. This book is extensively researched, and tells the real story, in great detail, of the Ravens. When I was a FAC I used to hear almost-mythical stories of the Ravens, and when I flew F-4s I had a few Raven-controlled airstrikes, and discovered that all the stories were true!A really well-written account.

  • By Kindle Customer on April 4, 2016

    This is one of those books that I want to thank the author for writing. My men friends served in Vietnam & this book filled in a lot of the blanks. It was a long read but the knowledge I got was worth it. I was NEVER bored & just the 'fact' as the author put it that there were something like 5 'bureaucrats' for every fighting soldier in the field made me furious & I thought, damn, even back then! I came away understanding why we loose our wars. When the enemy has NO 'Rules of Engagement' and 'our side does, you simply can't win. WHY CAN'T WE LEARN?? Funny to read over and over the assessment way back then that you can NOT just bomb the enemy & win. You must have troops on the ground. Apparently NO one in our military or Government, including Obama has read much or understands this. I came away after reading this book with a much deeper understanding of our failures today & a deep deep respect for those who tried so hard in the past, only to be told to go home, it's over because we gave up. Very very sad. Bless the men who tired.

  • By Wray R. Johnson, PhD on August 19, 2016

    This book has been around a while but still reads as if it were written today. A mentor of mine when I was in the US Air Force was a Raven and everything this book says about the Ravens in terms of their flying skill, courage, outlook on the war, relationship with indigenous peoples, dislike of the "system," etc., all rings true. When one thinks of brave aviators, one thinks of the iconic fighter pilots. But even the fighter pilots flying over Viet-Nam, Laos, etc., knew that the really extraordinary pilots were the Ravens, especially the ones flying in northern Laos. Today's Air Force special operators should know about Project 404 and "Waterpump," etc., but, as a retired special operations Airman myself, I can tell you that most of today's AFSOF personnel have never heard of the Ravens.There are other books on the Ravens available, but this one remains the best all-around and the best place to start to learn about these amazing Americans.

  • By Guest on August 26, 2017

    I read this while in Laos and this book opened my eyes. I had basic knowledge of Vietnam War but no idea what was going on in Laos. I could not put this book down, because not only of the great content but the narration was expertly written. It's clear that the author did a huge amount of research and felt passionate about the subject. After reading this book, I felt great compassion for the Lao people and the suffering they endured. Also the Ravens were quite a group. I did not fancy some of the methods used but they did believe in what they were doing and most seemed like good people.

  • By James S. Ford on May 5, 2014

    I first learned about the Ravens in 1969 while I was a civilian flight instructor training U.S. Army helicopter pilots to transition into fixed wing certification. I was very interested in Air America and similar flying opportunities in South East Asia, but was never able to get enough real information to pursue the idea. Everyone I knew with DIA connections said it was not a place for a married man with two small children and mentioned attrition rates of 50%. Chris Robbins' book details the constant danger faced in daily lives of the Ravens during the secret war in Laos with many interesting personal stories. He describes heroic actions by American and Laotian pilots flying WWII vintage aircraft in support of badly outnumbered Laotian ground troops in their fight against massive, better equipped and trained, North Vietnam Army invaders seeking to control their country. Robbins goes into great detail about the deceptions practiced by The U.S. to work around the constraints of the 1962 Treaty that was supposed to guarantee the neutrality of Laos. He points out that while the U.S. pulled all of its uniformed military assistance forces out of Laos leaving only a few hundred CIA support personnel, the North Vietnamese Army maintained troop numbers between 26,000-100,000 while denying having any in Laos. In 1970, when U.S. involvement in support of Laos became known to the U.S. mainstream media, anti-war politicians such as Senators Fulbright and Symington expressed outrage although they had been continuously briefed for a decade. Such is the hypocrisy of so many of our elected representatives ---too bad they don't have the guts of our fighting men.

  • By BDWJ on April 28, 2017

    Like all Christopher Robbins books, this is excellent. If you like military history like I do, this is a must read. However, for those faint at heart or who can't take an occasional curse word, I don't recommend it. It does have some raw words from time to time. For all those who served during the Vietnam era, you will still learn a bit you might not have known about.

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