From October 1967 to March 1968, the United States operated a top-secret radar system in Laos near that country's border with North Vietnam. This was a provocative move: Laos was a neutral country. Yet the air force desperately needed all-weather bombing capability in the region, and so the Pentagon decided to take a chance. When Communist troops learned of Site 85, they hit it hard. The result: "The largest single ground combat loss of U.S. Air Force personnel in the history of the Vietnam War."
The public still does not know what happened to nine of the men posted at Site 85. They may have been killed or captured, or perhaps fell victim to "some atrocity" perpetrated by the Communists. The military establishment isn't talking, and neither are knowledgeable sources in Laos and Vietnam. One Day Too Long combines scholarship, journalism, and detective work to learn all that can be known. Apparently there is plenty to hide. "It was criminal to leave the technicians and the other Americans and their security forces stranded [at Site 85]," writes Castle. Yet one conclusion is certain, he says: there is "an unseemly pattern of U.S. government duplicity" surrounding this forgotten incident. --John J. Miller
From Library Journal
Castle, who served two tours of duty in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, teaches national security studies at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama and is a frequent MIA investigator for the Department of Defense. His book concerns the deployment of a radar site (code-named "Heavy Green") in the supposedly neutral country of Laos. In theory, the site was to provide round-the-clock bombing capability to planes attacking North Vietnam. In fact, the site had hardly been operational before the North Vietnam forces knew of it and took steps to eliminate it. It thus became "bait" to lure the enemy forces where they could be attackedAalbeit in a neutral country. The men who volunteered to man the site gave up their military commissions, becoming employees of a private military contractor, and were exposed to great dangerAall for a mission that could not even be acknowledged. Castle does an excellent job of telling the stories of the doomed radar personnel, using interviews with their widows and with surviving servicemen. This is a story that has waited 30 years to be told. Recommended for public and academic libraries.AMark E. Ellis, Albany State Univ., GA
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