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The Saigon Guns: A True Story of Aerial Combat in the Fall of 1972

by John Thomas Hoffman

Few Americans know the facts about the final year of US combat operations in South Vietnam. As political will to sustain the fight in South Vietnam shrank and the US withdrew most of their ground forces, the Soviets and North Vietnamese sought battlefield success to strengthen their negotiating position at the Paris Peace talks. In March of 1972, North Vietnam invaded the south with five armored divisions, massive artillery support, and modern Soviet anti-aircraft weapons, intended to sweep any remaining US military aviation support to South Vietnam from the skies. But the Soviets and their North Vietnamese proteges had miscalculated. The remaining US Army aviation forces still supporting the South Vietnamese, along with US Air Force and US Navy and Marine aviation assets, would not be easily removed from the battle. For the US forces still in-country, this is an untold story of heroism, dedication, and refusal to yield the battlefield despite being largely considered by US political leaders as “expendable.”

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