Sept. 1, 2000


One way to simplify the F2T2EA [“Find, Fix, Track, Target, Engage, Assess,” July, p. 24] problem is to put more emphasis on managing the tactical employment of surveillance and attack assets from onboard the theater [Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance] team of AWACS, Rivet Joint, and Joint STARS [aircraft], rather than from an air operations center.

Thanks to the cross-cuing of their own wide-area, real-time sensors and the sensors of other systems like [unmanned aerial vehicles], the theater C2ISR team will almost always have the most current and, therefore, accurate information on mobile targets, and it is movement that usually makes targets time critical. The team will also have the most reliable connectivity with shooters operating deep in enemy airspace, and this connectivity makes a significant contribution to the team’s enhanced situational awareness. Still another advantage of increased emphasis on airborne surveillance and battle management is that it makes our command and control of aerospace forces more deployable and survivable.

A second way to simplify the F2T2EA problem is to recognize that usually the desired “effect” will be functional when fighting fielded land forces, e.g., the effect of stopping an enemy from being able or willing to operate machines that are needed to perform militarily significant functions. In this case, attacking and destroying machines that are being operated (moving) and, therefore, occupied becomes a means for changing the behavior of enemy personnel not yet attacked, making them unwilling to risk operating their machines because of their perception of the great danger if they do so. Exploiting the enemy’s perception of danger allows desired effects to be achieved faster and with less resources than could be explained solely by the amount of destruction caused by attacks. And when stopping the enemy’s operation of his machines is the desired effect, the theater C2ISR team’s wide-area, real-time sensors make it easy to quickly and reliably assess the effectiveness of air operations.

Lt. Col. Price T. Bingham,

USAF (Ret.)

Melbourne, Fla.

It Was Earlier

The USAAF established a presence at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in 1946. It was closed out in either 1958 or 1959. [See “The Long Deployment,” July, p. 30.]

I was a first lieutenant weather forecaster there from June 1956 to June 1957. The base organization was the 2nd Air Division. About 800 people were there. This unit provided various kinds of support to US interests in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and Ethiopia. Three C-54s [and] three C-47s flew regular missions within Saudi Arabia and to Beirut, Baghdad, Tehran, and Asmara (Eri-trea). Two H-19s provided air rescue, if needed. One of the H-19s went down 100+ miles offshore in late 1956 while on a mission to provide assistance to an injured seaman.

During the first few years the base was open, the tour was only six months because the “Dallas” huts used for billeting had no air-conditioning. When I was there, cinder-block [bachelor officer quarters] and dormitories had been built. Two large chilled water plants later provided [air-conditioning] for all buildings on base. The tour then became 12 months. Base housing was very limited—key people only. The officers club served milk shakes in the bar. Drinking was a deportation offense.

Most people arrived with little knowledge of the climate except a vague idea it was “hot.” July and August [temperatures] were 109 [degrees]—with 119 the absolute max and 42 the lowest the year I was there. The Persian Gulf was only three miles away and provided a shallow layer of very moist air. During my year, we had an official measurement of an 88 [degrees] F dew point and once zero/zero fog at a [temperature] of 85 [degrees] F. Dust was the worst. High winds are prevalent March to June. The club had a big box where you could dump the sand from your shoes.

Considering the supply problems, food was good. Eggs and fresh produce were flown in from Beirut or Asmara as available. Mail came twice a week via TWA, which had a great deal with the APO in New York. Airmail was usually only two or three days old when received; I understand it was not that good during Desert Storm.

We had a 10,000-foot runway and a 6,000-foot cross runway. The base was built to be a recovery base for B-36 missions over the Soviet Union. Three “nose docks” had been built to service the B-36s, but the B-36 was gone for all practical purposes by 1956, as the B-47s were common and the B-52 was into full production.

There were no fences around the base. Before each aircraft arrival/departure, the airdrome officer was required to check the runways for wandering Bedouins, loose donkeys, etc. TWA and KLM used the base a couple of times a week each way, and Swissair started up in 1957. MATS’ Atlantic Division and Pacific Division both terminated at Dhahran and reversed their routes. The Pacific Division was operated by the Navy; the run was called the Embassy Run. I rode it on a Christmas leave to Bangkok with stops in Karachi and New Delhi. Those were the days!

Lt. Col. W.P. Cramer,

USAF (Ret.)

San Antonio

Understanding that the article was about the Gulf War time frame, there was an omission. The Air Force has had a military presence in the Gulf as early as the late 1970s or early 1980s [when] the Air Force was involved in Elf One.

I was stationed in Dhahran for two 60-day cycles in November–December 1981 and the June–August 1983 time frame.

John Mason

Nashua, N.H.

Loved It, But

While I thoroughly enjoyed Walter J. Boyne’s article “Air Force Aircraft of the Korean War” [July, p. 64], I was disappointed and saddened that my old bird, the Douglas C-124 Globe-master II (affectionately known as “Ol’ Shaky”) was omitted. She continues to be the Forgotten Warrior of the Forgotten War. I am genuinely amazed that someone as infinitely qualified as Boyne would have committed such an oversight.

For the record, even though Ol’ Shaky arrived late in the war and, at first, the engineers feared that her great weight would not be supported by the runway surfaces of Korean airstrips, she distinguished herself well, not only ferrying troops and supplies to the battle zone but transporting thousands of war-weary soldiers and airmen to well-deserved R & R in Japan and bringing back many of the sick and wounded POWs during Operation Little Switch. She also has her image engraved on the wall (the medical panel) of the national Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

After the war, Ol’ Shaky continued to distinguish herself by becoming the first heavy aircraft to land on ice (in the Canadian Arctic during the construction of the [Distant Early Warning] Line), using the techniques learned in Canada to land on the Ross Ice Shelf at McMurdo Sound in Antarctica (Operation Deep Freeze), and making the first parachute drop on the South Pole, making the first intercontinental combat strength and combat ready troop movement entirely by air (Operation Gyroscope), and countless humanitarian missions to South America, Asia, and Africa (including Operation New Tape to the former Belgian Congo).

She was not glamorous, but she was great. She was perhaps the most historic cargo carrier of the 20th century. Let’s not slight her!

James L. Seay

Ex-staff sergeant, USAF

Rantoul, Ill.

Retired CMSgt. Laddie Ondracek from Tulsa, Okla., retired MSgt. Robert B. Walker of Lynden, Wash., and retired Lt. Col. Melvin C. Elliott from Glendale, Ariz., also wrote to credit Ol’ Shaky.—the editors

I was surprised to read Boyne’s claim that Korea marked the end of the line for prop-driven combat aircraft in USAF. This statement is in error. Many propeller-driven Air Force combat aircraft served with distinction during the Vietnam War. Among these were the A-1, AC-47, AC-119, B-26K, C-7, C-123, O-1, O-2, T-28, as well as several helicopters and small liaison types.

In addition, Vietnam also saw wide usage of the AC-130 and OV-10. These aircraft, though turbo-engined, can be technically classified as propeller-driven.

MSgt. James B. Walker,

USAF (Ret.)

Dayton, Ohio

I was a 431 type (reciprocating engine aircraft mechanic) who served two tours in Vietnam because my [Air Force Specialty Code] was so critical. USAF had hundreds of prop-driven aircraft in Vietnam, including but not limited to C-47s, AC-47s, C-123s, AC-119s, O-1Es, O-2As, and A-1Es. And don’t tell me they weren’t combat aircraft.

MSgt. Stephen L. Childers,

USAF (Ret.)

Camden-Wyoming, Del.

Having spent a good portion of two years flying SA-16 aircraft out of K-16 in the early 1950s with North Korea as the destination, I feel that a great injustice is being done by not including the air rescue mission, along with the three aircraft that did such a great job during the Forgotten War, namely the Grumman Albatross or SA-16 and the H-5 helicopter.

According to some of the pilots who flew them, the H-5 left a lot to be desired, but when one remembers that the H-5 was in its early stages of development for the air rescue role, it comes as no surprise that, initially, it had lots of bugs. I recall seeing some Bell choppers during that period, but so far as I know, the H-5 and the H-19 were the workhorses of rescue helicopters during the hostilities in Korea. The rescue helicopters were pioneering chopper rescue activities during that crucial period because it was the first time under combat conditions the whirly bird had been given a chance to prove its worth as a rescue aircraft.

I feel that I am speaking for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dedicated and past rescuemen and women who have literally adhered to and lived by the code “That others may live.” I also feel it is most important that the rescue mission never be given short shrift and that it, along with the rescue aircraft, truly deserve their hallowed place alongside all the other aircraft of the Korean War.

Col. Marcus C. West,

USAF (Ret.)

Yankeetown, Fla.

I was most pleased by your mention of the RB-50 on p. 70. I do believe [yours] was the only publication that acknowledged the RB-50 contribution.

The participating aircraft were RB-50G. Boeing modified about 29 RB-50s to various reconnaissance versions as RB-50E–RB-50G. [There were] about 12 RB-50Gs assigned to the 343rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) Electronic. The 343rd was stationed at Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico. The B-50’s bomb bays were modified into [electronic countermeasure] compartments. RB-50Gs were always on [temporary duty]. Two at a time were detached to the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron stationed at Yokota AB, Japan.

The RB-50G shot down by the Russians on July 29, 1953, was another 343rd aircraft. I was angry when I learned of this incident as it happened two days after the Korean armistice went into effect.

J.M. Slade

Memphis, Tenn.

In his narrative about the North American F-82 Twin Mustang,the first aircraft to operate over Korea, he said they were powered by two 1,600-hp Allison engines. Hardly! The airplane would have been lucky to get off the ground with those engines. Even the vaunted Rolls Royce Merlin power plant could not satisfy its requirements.

These Twin Mustangs were powered by the huge 2,200-hp Allisons originally intended for the P-51H. These engines, with their right- and left-handed props, made this airplane a dream to fly. Please give this grand lady back her power.

Col. John F. Sharp,

USAF (Ret.)

Sacramento, Calif.

The engines were two 1,600-hp Allisons per numerous sources, including Encyclopedia of US Air Force Aircraft and Missile Systems, Vol. 1, published by the Office of Air Force History in 1978.—the editors

I was amazed by what I had read: RB-36s flew recon missions during the Korean War! I was an RB-36 crew member flying out of Ellsworth AFB, S.D., from 1952 to 1956 and never [was] aware that RB-36s were engaged in the Korean War.

Al Hains

Marina del Rey, Calif.

I was assigned to the 23rd [Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron] on Okinawa and to the 91st SRS at Yokota from August 1949 to August 1952, and I never saw an RB-36 in the squadron during that time. We operated RB- and EB-29s.

R.C. Brunson

Hot Springs Village, Ark.

A primary source for the article was Air Wars and Aircraft by Victor Flintham, who lists the RB-36A as being flown out of Yokota, where it was hosted by the 91st SRS. An Association of Old Crows history says an RB-36 was operated from Okinawa during the Korean War.—the editors

The article gives only incidental coverage of the RB-26s. There is only one last sentence under the B-26 write-up. Under Reconnaissance/Observation, it is only included with a list of other reconnaissance aircraft. The RB-26 flew thousands of hours on solo night missions over Korea, identifying enemy activity. My flight made the first sighting of the massive Chinese crossing of the Yalu [River] to invade Korea. Fifth Air Force did not consider my report of this as incidental.

Lt. Col. John D. Crawford Jr.,

USAF (Ret.)

Newport, R.I.

The author could have added that the Korean War was also the first time aircraft were refueled in-flight during combat conditions. On July 6, 1951, a KB-29M hose-type tanker of the 43rd Air Refueling Squadron, Davis–Monthan AFB, Ariz., flying from Yokota AB, Japan, refueled four RF-80s flying a reconnaissance mission over North Korea.

Eight days later, the first KB-29P flying boom refueling took place over enemy territory when an RB-45C was refueled over North Korea. On Sept. 28, 1951, two KB-29Ms of the 43rd ARS refueled an RF-80 six times over Korea. This mission established a flight-endurance record for jet aircraft of 14 hours and 15 minutes. One month later, on Oct. 29, the first midair refueling of F-84s during combat conditions occurred when three KB-29Ms, temporarily deployed to Taegu, [South] Korea, refueled eight Thunderjets.

The tankers also helped rescue a downed pilot in the water near Wonsan Harbor on Nov. 3, 1951. The Strategic Air Command KB-29Ms were supporting F-84s on a bombing mission. By providing additional refuelings, the tankers kept the F-84s airborne long enough to provide air cover until the pilot was rescued.

Lt. Col. David W. Harvey

USAF (Ret.)

Naperville, Ill.

Under Thunderjet, it states the RF-84s were used for reconnaissance. I question this statement, as there were production problems with the J65 engine used in the F-84F and RF-84F, and my Form 5 shows my first flight in an F-84F was in February 1954 after the Korean War was over. When the 71st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing was formed at Larson AFB, Wash., in 1955 many of the new pilots were returnees from Korea, and I believe they were still flying RF-80s.

Donald D. Watt Sr.

Hampton, Va.

We erred. F-84 fighter–bombers, not RF-84s, were used for day and, later, night reconnaissance missions, in addition to their primary role. The RF-84F never made it to Korea, per several sources.—the editors

The first F-51 was not a Mustang; it was an Apache made for the RAF with four 20 mm cannons wing-mounted. A-36 was the Apache frame with dive brakes, bomb system, and six .50- caliber machine guns. I flew this aircraft, fired at the enemy, and dropped bombs. Then came the B and C [models] with six wing-mounted 50s, then the D model with a bubble canopy. I flew these in Korea—58 missions including the last Mustang combat mission of my squadron, 12th Fighter–Bomber Squad-ron, 18th Wing.

What is seldom recalled is that the first Medal of Honor [in the Korean War] went to [F-51 pilot] Maj. Louis Sebille, 67th FBS, posthumously. The 18th, plus the assigned and controlled South African “Cheetah” Squadron, pounded the North Koreans all over the peninsula, not just [providing] frontline support.

Ask any frontline soldier what he most liked to see—and most likely he’ll say, “Four Mustangs with bombs, rockets, and napalm.” You just can’t say we only did frontline support—it ain’t so. These are the aircraft that bore the burden: F-51, F-80, F-84, B-26, F-82, AT-6, B-29, and C-47. The rest were all right, but those actually fighting were those noted above.

Capt. John A. Hutchison,

USAF (Ret.)

Dublin, Ohio

[There is a] lack of any information given [about] the 31st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron in your story about aircraft used in the Korean War. Yes, you did mention the 91st SRS, but the true history is the fact it was the 31st there at Johnson AB, Japan, for approximately six months, from July 1950 until January 1951.

At the beginning of 1951 the number of the 31st became the 91st. The 31st while at Johnson, flew at least one RB-29 every day over North Korea, averaging at least six hours per mission, doing recon and surveillance missions. On two occasions, photomapping the Inchon area prior to Gen. [Douglas] MacArthur’s invasion there and then on Oct. 2, 1950, I and my aircrew photomapped the entire North Korean country, so that our UN forces could have accurate maps as they drove north to the Yalu River.

The 31st SRS was beefed-up by four additional aircrews, including mine, from the 23rd SRS, Fairfield–Suisun AFB, Calif., along with our aircraft (August 1950–February 1951). It was for a not-less-than-90-day TDY, which quickly turned into a six-month effort. Each [of the] four aircrews flew approximately 20 recon-type missions during our TDY in Japan. I and my aircrew flew 19 combat missions. I also want to mention [that] we flew for six hours over North Korea—each sortie without any friendly fighter cover. Our sortie averaged 10 hours in length, counting the two hours flying time over and back.

Col. William H. Cox,

USAF (Ret.)

Vacaville, Calif.

What a thrill it was to see “Air Force Aircraft of the Korean War.” I was an air traffic controller at Lang-ley AFB, Va., from June 1949 until October 1952.

The 4th Fighter Group and 334th, 335th, and 336th squadrons were based there. The Texas and Arkansas ANG arrived with about 90 P-51s. The Combat Crew Training Squadron was flying the B-26. We also had a few P(F)-80 and the F-84s. Sometime around the spring of 1951, the 84th and 85th Bomb Group arrived with their B-45s.

Needless to say, Langley was a very busy facility about this time.

Archie G. Fincher

Monroe, N.C.

I put in two years fighting the Chinese from June 1950 to April 1952 as an air [evacuation] technician with the 1453rd Medical Air Evac Squadron stationed at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, with a TDY squadron at Haneda AB, Japan. I was a staff sergeant and [noncommissioned officer in charge], flying the wounded from Korea to San Francisco in two days. The C-54 was used primarily to transport the wounded back to the US for hospitalization and ultimately release from the service.

The C-54 was the Air Force workhorse and did a fantastic job in all kinds of weather. We put the C-54 through every kind of work imaginable, and she was without a doubt fantastic. I do not understand why air evac does not receive the write-ups it deserves for the job it did in the Korean War.

James M. Rochelle

Tamarac, Fla.

Food Stamps

Maybe I’m missing something in the food stamp debate. [See “Aerospace World: Cohen Seeks Food Stamp Equity,” July, p. 11.] Seems that DoD is trying to figure out who should be eligible for food stamps when the fact is no one in the military should be eligible—period!

As I recall, when Congress ended the draft in 1973 a major component of the all-volunteer force was comparable pay. That was the deal: reasonable pay and benefits for those [who] volunteered. The political hot potato—the draft—was off the table; all Congress had to do was pass reasonable pay raises for the military.

That obviously didn’t happen if some members of the all-volunteer force are now eligible for food stamps. As for the Pentagon bean counters who are going to reduce the number of members on food stamps by counting housing allowance as income, I have only one thing to say—it’s disposable income, stupid! Unless things have changed dramatically, I never had a housing allowance that came close to covering my housing expenses.

On-base living was always cheaper; therefore there was more money for basics. It’s time Congress kept its part of the all-volunteer force bargain. We should never ask young men and women to volunteer to serve their country, only to then find themselves relying on food stamps to get by.

Bill Gorton

Park City, Utah


I was pleased to see the [Women Airforce Service Pilot], in uniform, by the P-47 in your “Pieces of History” photo [July, p. 88]. Maybe, after 55 years, more people will learn of our part in World War II military aviation history.

I served as a WASP (Class 43-7) with 2nd Air Force, 207th Air-to-Ground Tow Target Squadron, Biggs AAF, Tex. I flew 13 different types of airplanes during my service time. My two favorites were the B-25 Billy Mitchell twin-engine bomber and the P-47 Thunderbolt.

There are still over 600 living WASPs. We have a very active organization, meeting several times each year in various locations around the country. Our biannual reunion will be held in October 2000 at Sweetwater, Tex., where Avenger Field is located. This was the only all-woman Army Air Corps pilot training field in the US during World War II. It will be a nostalgic return to our beginning for those of us who are now in our upper 70s to mid-80s. And still going strong!

Kaddy Landry Steele

Gainesville, Fla.

Not Still Air Force

Two statements caught my eye as being inaccurate in the item “Gary Powers Honored” [“AFA/AEF National Report,” July, p. 82]. [You state] “Francis Gary Powers, the Air Force pilot downed May 1, 1960, … (At the time, Powers was assigned to the Central Intelligence Agency.)”

Prior to his service with the CIA, Powers had resigned his commission. Powers was not assigned (or detailed) to the CIA but, in fact, was a civilian employee of the CIA.

When Powers appeared before the Senate Committee on Armed Services in open session on March 6, 1962, he stated he was still an employee of the CIA. Having participated in the CIA review, including personally interviewing Powers upon his return, I believe the honors bestowed on him are richly deserved.

John S. Warner

Former general counsel

Central Intelligence Agency

Tucson, Ariz.

Mr. Warner is right. Powers was told he had to resign his commission but, upon completing his CIA assignment, he could return to the Air Force with no lost time and at a rank corresponding to his contemporaries. That didn’t happen.—the editors

What’s the Real Need, Part 2

Phil Weissburg decries AFA’s “irrelevant comparison between military spending as a share of Gross Domestic Product” and then concludes, “Until American children are no longer going to school in trailer classrooms … let’s cap military spending.” [See “Letters: What’s the Real Need?” August, p. 12, and June, p. 4.]

Speaking of irrelevant comparisons, public education infrastructure in the US is primarily funded at the local level and suffers or thrives based upon the individual community’s ability and willingness to pay. (Drive over to Salinas, Calif., and view their modest public schools, then cruise back through Carmel and note the striking differences.)

In other words, the US could drive defense spending down to zero without materially affecting the quality of the schools in [a] neighborhood.

The right way to size the defense budget is to base it upon known and anticipated mission requirements.

If the American people want the military establishment to keep an eye on Russia and China, keep a lid on North Korea and Iraq, keep the peace in Bosnia and Kosovo, keep the narcotics traffickers and terrorists in Latin America in check, keep productively engaging countries from Thailand to Tanzania (and a hundred places in between), and keep their fighting skills sharp enough to fight and win a couple major theater wars at the same time, it’s going to be expensive.

Very expensive.

Tim Kregel

Ramstein AB, Germany

Another Shot at “Nine Myths”

We appreciate Dr. [Rebecca] Grant’s efforts to highlight lessons learned from Operation Allied Force, but we found the description of each “myth” to be more convincing than the rebuttals. [See “Nine Myths About Kosovo,” June, p. 50.] The article’s two main points are that airpower was effective against Serb forces in Kosovo and that land power did not contribute to Allied Force. The first argument misses the point completely and the second argument is simply wrong.

The discussion of “myths” one through four, concerning airpower’s effectiveness against Yugoslav forces in Kosovo, essentially degenerated into quibbling over numbers. Regardless of recent reports that the numbers cited in the article are significantly inflated, body counts are no more valid measures of effectiveness today than they were during the Vietnam War.

The obsession with numbers obscures the larger question of whether airpower alone can be sufficient to do anything more than degrade enemy ground forces. This argument glosses over airpower’s inability to halt Yugo-slavia’s operations in Kosovo, especially ethnic cleansing. Defending the Air Force’s halt-phase concept by arguing that the conditions in Kosovo were uniquely unfavorable challenges the concept’s utility in the real world.

Kosovo cannot be seen as an exception because it was characterized by “a morass of close combat without a traditional front line.” We cannot assume, against all evidence, that our future wars will all be like the Gulf War. It is unrealistic to expect future conflicts to be free of political constraints, noncombatants, refugee flows, paramilitary forces, bad weather, and restrictive terrain. These are the defining characteristics of the 21st century battlefield.

“Myths” five through seven discount the role of land forces in Milosevic’s eventual capitulation. [Retired] Gen. [Wesley] Clark has stated that allied ground forces deserve “an awful lot of the credit for the successful outcome of the operation in Kosovo last year.” That we were “never close to preparing for a ground invasion” is simply incorrect. In fact, the Los Angeles Times reported that Strobe Talbott and two American generals briefed Russian envoy Victor Cher-nomyrdin on US invasion plans, which a shaken Chernomyrdin then related to Milosevic. National Security Advisor Sandy Berger had already drafted a memo to the President, recommending a ground invasion in case Cher-nomyrdin was unable to persuade Milosevic to back down.

The argument that ground forces played no role is further discredited by the actual presence of allied ground units in Kosovo and in theater. The arrival of Task Force Hawk and other NATO forces in Albania as well as the reinforcement of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps in Macedonia lent credibility to the threat of an allied invasion.

These “myths,” then, contain more truth than myth. As Dr. Grant states in the article, “If these myths were to be credited, one would have to conclude that aerospace power is nothing more than a flashy, unreliable tool of military force.” This conclusion is too harsh; we have the best Air Force in the world, and airpower will always play a vital role in joint and combined operations. Any student of military history knows that combined warfare is always more effective than the use of a single element of power.

Charles Lathrop and John Kreul

National Security Analysts

Association of the United States Army

From Rebecca Grant

Two guys from AUSA liked the myths better than the facts? Hardly surprising. Myths thrive in spite of facts and that is why they have to be rebutted before they morph into joint doctrine.

Despite the gossip about invasion threats, this fact remains: Ground forces were not used in combat during Operation Allied Force. The major lessons, good and bad, that come out of Allied Force centered on the planning and employment of coalition aerospace power.

That’s why it puzzles me to be accused of obsessing over numbers—especially numbers that were first briefed by an Army general, Wesley Clark. The damage assessments for fixed and mobile targets contain intriguing lessons for future joint operations. Would it really be better to ignore the numbers?

As for the inability to halt ethnic cleansing, this was an issue way beyond operational doctrine. NATO backed itself into a corner that gave Milosevic a big tactical advantage and allowed him to push out the Kosovars. Remember that many European allies had put troops on the ground to defend safe areas in Bosnia and had hundreds at a time taken hostage. All accounts tell us that NATO could barely agree to start airstrikes, much less to contemplate seizing Kosovo with ground forces. Whatever NATO did would have to be with aerospace power. My point was, let’s not confuse the issue. This was a long way from the Pentagon’s rapid-halt strategy of having the go-ahead to attack forces massed on a border and did not tell us much about whether that strategy would succeed.

As it happens, I agree with Messrs. Kreul and Lathrop that the larger question is about what aerospace power can do to an enemy ground force. How much more proof is needed

Aerospace forces are designed to reach and strike much deeper, much quicker. They have gotten to be pretty effective at targeting enemy ground forces. But for some reason, advocates of land power still like to criticize airmen for doing their job.

It’s an old problem.

As Billy Mitchell observed in 1917: “The ground troops did not yet realize that they were perfectly incapable by themselves of dealing a blow at the heart of the enemy country or its vital centers.” Of course, we know what the Army did to him.

Kreul and Lathrop suggest that we are picking an unprovoked argument in an otherwise jointly serene setting. Recent statements by their senior colleagues at the Association of the US Army call that into question. “The Army has paid a high price for the unfulfilled promises of airpower since World War II—between wars in budget battles and during wars in facing enemy capabilities with which we were unprepared to cope,” wrote Gen. Frederick J. Kroesen, USA (Ret.), in the January 1999 issue of AUSA’s Army Magazine. Kroesen is a senior fellow of AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare. He also said that “in the Persian Gulf, more than one month’s expenditure of the most proficient air campaign in history failed to achieve a single objective established for that war. … Even with the wondrous capabilities of today’s technology, airpower is still a part-time participant.”

In the August 1999 issue of Army Magazine, retired Lt. Gen. Theodore G. Stroup Jr., AUSA’s vice president for education, said this about Operation Allied Force in the Balkans: “Milo-sevic’s will was not broken by weeks of strategic bombing. Milosevic lost his nerve when ground power, in the form of the Kosovar offensive and the capabilities of [the US Army’s] Task Force Hawk, … first unlocked the full capability of airpower. … That is what brought about the negotiated settlement, not the bombing of water supplies, power grids, and Yugo factories.”

The reason that we and Dr. Grant debunk myths is that there are myths that need debunking.—the editors