Recommended Reading  

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Book Description:
This highly readable text follows the development and service use of this globe-trotting aircraft. It takes the reader through the wide range of tasks it has performed, including transport, tanker, weather recce, reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, special operations, airborne command post and test-bed.

Every variant and sub-variant is charted and the histories of each aircraft are found within. Includes details of the hundreds of units, past and present, that have flown Stratotanker. For military and aviation enthusiasts.

Robert S. Hopkins III is a former U.S. Air Force pilot. He commanded an RC-135 Rivet Joint Crew during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

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The "Blind Man's Bluff" of aerial espionage.

Unknown to the public and cloaked in the utmost secrecy, the United States flew missions against the Communist bloc almost continuously during the Cold War in a desperate effort to collect intelligence and find targets for all-out nuclear war. The only hint of the relentless, clandestine operations came when one of the planes was shot down. Many of the air force and navy flyers were killed on the top secret missions. But now, for the first time, award-winning historian William E. Burrows shows that others were captured by the Russians, Chinese, and North Koreans, and were tortured, imprisoned, and killed, while their loved ones grieved and their government looked the other way. In an effort to improve relations with Russia, Washington is still looking the other way, though it pretends otherwise.

Burrows has interviewed scores of men who flew these "black" missions, as well as the widows and children of those who never returned, all of whom want the full story finally told. He has done so with an eye to this story's immensely human dimension. By Any Means Necessary is not about airplanes, but about the people who've sacrificed their lives in the interests of national security.

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The recent forced landing of a U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance aircraft on Hainan Island after aerial harassment by Chinese fighters underscores that the dangers of the Cold War are not behind us. Reconnaissance-intelligence gathering-has always been one of the most highly secretive operations in the military. Men risk their lives with no recognition for themselves, flying missions that were almost always unarmed and typically pose as weather survey or training flights. Now the true stories of these brave young men can at last be told. Larry Tart and Robert Keefe, former USAF airborne recon men themselves, provide a gripping, unprecedented history of American surveillance planes shot down by China and Russia-from the opening salvoes of the Cold War to the most recent international standoff with China.

Appearing here for the first time are many crucial documents, ranging from formerly highly classified U.S. files to conversations with Khrushchev and top secret reports from the Russian presidential archives. Along with previously unreleased military details, this meticulously researched book includes MiG fighter pilot transcripts and interviews with participants from both sides-including survivors of downed American planes. From the Baltic to the Bering Seas, from Armenia and Azerbaijan to China, Korea, and the Sea of Japan, these gripping accounts reveal the drama of what really happened to Americans shot down in hostile skies.
The Price of Vigilance brings to life the harrowing ordeals faced by the steel-nerved crews, the diplomatic furor that erupts after shootdowns, and the grief and frustration of the families waiting at home-families who, most often, were never told what their loved ones were doing. Armed with the results of recent crash-site excavations, advanced DNA testing, and the reports of local witnesses who can finally reveal what they saw, Tart and Keefe have written a real-life thriller of the deadly cat-and-mouse game of intelligence gathering in the air and across enemy borders.

The centerpiece of the book is the fate of USAF C-130 60528 and its crew of seventeen, shot down over Armenia on September 2, 1958, with no known survivors. Tart and Keefe also vividly describe other shootdowns, including the tense stand off between the U.S. and China after an American reconnaissance aircraft was forced to land on Hainan Island in April 2001.

The Price of Vigilance pays moving tribute to the courage and patriotism of all the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy crews, including those captured and the more than two hundred who never returned. Larry Tart and Robert Keefe wish to publicly acknowledge to the families, and to the nation, that we will never forget their sacrifice.

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From Library Journal
In his fourth book, Clancy uses nuclear strategies to probe the ambiguities of fighting the good fightthe Americans vs. the Soviets. By the time familiar hero Jack Ryan steps in to investigate mysterious structures on the Soviet-Afghan border, the Soviets have struck again by zapping a satellite with a free electron laser. The title's cardinal, an elite, well-placed source in the Kremlin, leaks details of this secret activity to the United States. In the backdrop of technological bravura, spiced by artful espionage and all-too-human mistakes, intelligence is transferred back and forth and there are attacks and counterattacks. It is a mark of Clancy's growing maturity as a writer that he can bring these subtleties into highly entertaining form.

Literary Guild Main. Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Chapter 5:
Eye of the Snake / Face of the Dragon

"The converted Boeing 767 had two names. Originally known as the Airborne Optical Adjunct, it was now called Cobra Belle, which at least sounded better. The aircraft was little more than a platform for as large an infrared telescope as could be made to fit in the wide-bodied airliner.The engineers had cheated somewhat, of course, giving the fuselage an ungainly humpback immediately aft of the flight deck that extended half it's length, and the 767 did look rather like a snake that had just swallowed something large enough to choke on.

What was even more remarkable about the aircraft, however, was the lettering on its vertical tail: U.S. Army. This fact, which infuriated the Air Force, resulted from unusual prescience or obstinacy on the part of the Army, which even in the 1970s had never shut down its research into ballistic-missile defense, and whose "hobby shop" (as such places were known) had invented the infrared sensors on the AOA.

But it was now part of the Air Force program whose cover-all name was Cobra. It worked in coordination with the Cobra Dane radar at Shemya, and often flew in conjunction with an aircraft called Cobra Ball_a converted 707_because Cobra was the code name for a family of systems aimed at tracking Soviet missiles...."

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Book Description:
Cold War Warrior is the memoir of a boy who grew to manhood in the service of his country during the height of the Cold War. As a Russian linguist in the United States Air Force Security Service, Warren Knight bore witness to the construction of the Berlin Wall, the U-2 incident, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and an adversary's Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile test. While manning a high-tech listening post on a remote Far Eastern island, or on a jungle survival course in the Philippines, the author's stories are both compelling and informative and document a chapter in the American saga that was as fraught with genuine peril as any in our history.

Kingdon R. Hawes (Webmaster)

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