Naval Air War: The Rolling Thunder Campaign

Naval Air War: The Rolling Thunder Campaign
Naval Air War: The Rolling Thunder Campaign (ePub)
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This is the sixth monograph in the series The U.S. Navy and the Vietnam War. It covers aircraft carrier activity during Operation Rolling Thunder in the war.  Operation Rolling Thunder was one of the longest sustained aerial bombing campaigns in history. And it would be a failure. The U.S. Navy proved essential to the conduct of Rolling Thunder. Exploiting the inherent flexibility and mobility of naval forces, the Seventh Fleet operated with impunity for three years off the coast of North Vietnam. The success with which the Navy executed the later Operation Linebacker campaign against North Vietnam in 1972 revealed how much the service had learned from and exploited the Rolling Thunder experience of 1965–1968.

The book includes several photographs with backgrounds of key aircraft used as part of  Operation Rolliing Thunder during the Vietnam War.

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Norman Polmar is an analyst, consultant, and author specializing in naval, aviation, and intelligence issues. Since June 2008 he has been the senior Analyst for national security programs at Gryphon Technologies where he has supported Navy ballistic missile defense, shipbuilding programs, and cyber operations.  Mr. Polmar has consulted on naval-related issues to three U.S. senators, the Speaker of the House, and the deputy councilor to the President, as well as to the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is the author or coauthor of more than 50 published books, including the two-volume Aircraft Carriers: A History of Carrier Aviation and Its Influence on World Events (2006, 2008). 

Edward J. Marolda has served as the Director of Naval History (Acting) and the Senior Historian of the Navy at the Naval Historical Center, now Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC). He has written or edited a number of books on the U.S. Navy’s experience in Southeast Asia, including From Military Assistance to Combat, 1959–1965, vol. 2 (with Oscar P. Fitzgerald) in the official series The United States Navy and the Vietnam Conflict; By Sea, Air, and Land: An Illustrated History of the U.S. Navy and the War in Southeast Asia; and Aircraft Carriers, no. 4 in the Bantam series The Illustrated History of the Vietnam War.

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Table of Contents

The Start of an Air Campaign.........5
Way Down South on Dixie Station...........19
Rescuing Downed Aviators.........23
Countering the SAMs........29
The Bombing Campaign Heats Up........35
The POL Strikes............41
Air War at Its Deadliest...........51
Tet and Rolling Thunder.............55
Learning from the Rolling Thunder Experience........61

Attack Aircraft...........10
Fighter Aircraft...........14
Tragedy Aboard Ship...........42
Frustrated Warrior: Admiral Ulysses S.G. Sharp.......47
Homer Smith and the Debut of PGMs........52
Recce Aircraft...........56
Abbreviations and Terms.............64

The Authors........65
Suggested Reading...........66


This historical reference should appeal to high school history students researching the Vietnam War, as well as students pursuing coursework in military science degree programs. Military historians, especially naval and aviation historians, political scientists, and consumers interested in naval history or Vietnam War history may be interested in this book. Additionally, Government Documents library collections should be updated to include this primary source reference work about the United States Government War and Politics history.

Product Details

U.S. Department of Defense, Naval History and Heritage Command
  • Norman Polmar and Edward J. Marolda
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