- Paperback: 490 pages
- Publisher: iUniverse; 1st Paperback Edition edition (May 14, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 147599057X
- ISBN-13: 978-1475990577
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 203 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Unlikely Warriors: The Army Security Agency's Secret War in Vietnam 1961-1973 Paperback – May 14, 2013
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This is a book I wish I'd written.
This a very honest book, well written and extensively and carefully researched. I write about spies and intelligence organizations and have been doing so for many years, starting with a number of articles for the Encylopaedia Britannica in 1981. I have read hundreds of books about military intelligence and the Vietnam War. This is one of the best, near the top of the list and certainly in the top ten. I applaud the authors for their dedication to making sure that the story is told.
About the Author
Lonnie M. Long was born in North Carolina and served with the Army Security Agency from August 1962 to November 1965. After completing ASA training at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, Lonnie served with the 76th Special Operations Unit, Shu Lin Kou Air Station, Taiwan. In 1964, he volunteered for duty in Vietnam and began a fifteen-month tour with the 3rd Radio Research Unit, Aviation Section, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon. Gary B. Blackburn is a native Iowan and served with the U.S. Air Force Security Service from April 1961 to November 1964. Gary studied Mandarin Chinese at the Institute of Far Eastern Languages, Yale University, followed by assignments to the Joint Sobe Processing Center, Torii Station, Okinawa, working for NSA, and the 6987th Security Group, Shu Lin Kou Air Station, Taiwan
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1968 thru 1970. Lonnie paints a truthful picture of what it was to be a member of the "Silent Warriors". I have told my children
that serving in a combat zone is 99% shear boredom and 1% shear terror. The men I served with were true patriots of this country and stalwart members of the ASA and sworn to secrecy for the work they did to save the lives of their comrades in arms.
I flew in the OV-! Mohawks, UH1 Left Banks, and operated and plotted with a PRD-1, as well as the senior analyst at the Field Station at Engineer Hill, so I can say Lonnie has written a very informative book that depicts service in this fine organization. The memory of my fallen comrades mentioned in this book is forever engraved in my nightmares.
As nearly as I can tell, I was the last crew chief on the last ASA RU-6 in Vietnam, and the last member of the 146th to climb on an airplane to fly out of Long Than (North) Army Airfield. That was about six or eight weeks after 7 August 1972 when we received either rocket or mortar fire. The 7th was also the night the cooks making the soup run for the guard posts were armed for the first time and failed to shoot the Hmong guards only because they hadn't taken their safeties off.
Ahh, those were the days!
This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in the history of the Vietnam War, and if you read between the lines you will come to the inescapable conclusion that the invasion of the Republic of Vietnam by the North succeeded in part through the arrogance of our own senior military who ignored what they were told by folks who knew what they were doing but didn't have enough rank to be listened to.
Conventional wisdom has long been that interception of tactical information in Vietnam/Laos was not effective, because, it was claimed, the North Vietnam Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) did not rely on Morse Code or voice transmissions, but rather used couriers to carry orders preceding battle and in battle. Unlikely Warriors clearly shows that that was not the case, and that interception of voice, Morse, and other electronic transmissions was important and sometimes the decisive factor in the outcome of battles.
Unlikely Warriors relies heavily on interviews with and records from individual servicemen in the Army, Air Force, and Navy security organizations. Although the book is not well-written from a literary standpoint, some of its stories describe the efforts of our servicemen grippingly and in sufficient detail to show the importance of their efforts. I personally carried out similar efforts as an Unlikely Warrior, and can attest to the significance of information that was intercepted. Equally important, there are cases on record in which intercepted information was disregarded by higher command authorities, and in some cases this impeded the U.S. effort, and in fact contributed to the loss of life of U.S. troops. In my opinion, the book should be required reading for U.S. military academy students, officer candidates, and senior NCO's who need to understand how enemy information is intercepted and how it can be most effectively used to win battles.