Eyes of the Fleet Over Vietnam Review: Unarmed and Unafraid

Eyes of the Fleet over Vietnam: RF-8 Crusader Fight Picture-Reconnaissance Missions

by Kenneth V. Jack, Casemate, 2021, $39.95.

The Navy and Marine Corps F-8 Crusader group was recognized for stratospheric morale regardless of the speedy Vought’s status as a pilot killer. However “Final of the Gunfighters” stays the ’sader’s lingering picture, despite the fact that the kind retired from U.S. service in 1987.

Nonetheless, the “MiG Grasp” position was solely a part of the story. Kenneth V. Jack, a former member of the sunshine photographic (VFP) group, has an intimate data of the Crusader’s reconnaissance position. His earlier e-book, Blue Moon Over Cuba, addressed his squadron’s RF-8 operations over Cuba in collaboration with the VFP-62 skipper, Capt. W.B. Ecker. On this one, Jack begins with the background of carrier-based photo-reconnaissance, together with a dip of the wing to the Marine squadron, VMCJ-1. Nonetheless, VFP-63 despatched RF-8 detachments to Tonkin Gulf carriers actually from earlier than the start of the Vietnam Struggle. The primary fight loss was a USS Kitty Hawkjet in June 1964, two months earlier than the Tonkin Gulf incident, however the pilot escaped captivity.

Thereafter photo-reconnaissance pilots and maintainers have been a continuing presence off Vietnam, together with a number of detachments of VFP-62 and VMCJ-1. Relationship from World Struggle II, photo-recon pilots prided themselves as “unarmed and unafraid” (though one pilot mentioned, “Converse for your self!”) and “first in, final out.” The North Vietnamese knew that pre- and post-strike images have been routine, and ready accordingly. About 30 RF-8s have been misplaced to all causes with 12 pilots killed and 6 captured. Jack supplies particulars and perception on every.

The one factor missing is an index, which the writer declined to offer. In any other case, the e-book has almost 170 good-quality images, many in shade. Nicely documented with notes, Eyes of the Fleet supplies not solely a close-up take a look at the RF-8 over Southeast Asia however helpful appendices overlaying the broader features of the Vietnam air marketing campaign.

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