FROM 1962 UNTIL EARLY1973, a handful of USAF officers and airmen directed close air support for the Vietnamese Airborne and its American advisors in MACV Advisory Team 162. This Red Marker detachment began as a single Air Liaison Officer. It grew into a combat unit of 36 personnel with a dozen aircraft before shrinking to a single officer as the United States withdrew from combat. Over the decade of its existence, less than 175 men served in the unit. Five of them died in combat. This book contains the history of these forward air controllers from the beginning to the end, based on contributions from 76 men who were there.
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By Tom Torpy
Oct 18, 2013
Red Markers is a book documenting a thin, but significant slice of the Vietnam War. The Red Markers were a little known and unfortunately, a little celebrated (though highly decorated) unit of the US Air Force. Simply, the Markers were pilots flying single engine small planes that provided close air support for the Army of South Vietnam from 1962-1975. There were less than three dozen pilots that served in that capacity. The author was number 18. The book was over a decade in the making and was published earlier this year. The strength of the book is that is personalizes and honors the men who served. Copious photographs help the reader visualize both the men and the environment. The library of pictures (black and white) were of great assistance in visualizing the both the men and the country. I have to admit that the Air Force organization, acronyms and abbreviations were foreign to me, a Navy veteran. For novice readers like me, the author included a glossary that was very helpful,... More > but couldn’t completely overcome my ignorance of Air Force jargon. Numerous maps were very helpful, informing the gaps in my knowledge. Much of the book includes administrative comings and goings inherent in the military especially in combat situations. Although mundane, these were included as a necessary part of the history and provided a record of the organizational evolutions. It also provided a context for the deserved recognition by name of those who served. The highlight of the book is the inclusion of anecdotal vignettes war brings. Some were serious, some humorous, some heroic and some just records of everyday events of men involved in a foreign war. I have to admit that at times I saw in my mind faint visions of M*A*S*H*. Like anticipating the next TV episode, I happily returned to my reading for the next one. I was also a bit saddened when the end of I the saga arrived and I wouldn’t enjoy the company of my historic friends again. The difference, of course, is that these were not actors. That’s why a “where are they now” appendix helps provide a satisfying conclusion to the narrative. I guess it inheres in any such experience that it concludes with a bit of melancholy. Red Markers is highly readable, maintains a refreshing objectivity and is a fitting tribute to those who served as Read Markers and those who supported them in their mission. I am not only better informed about the Vietnam War for having read the work, but I am also richer.< Less
As an Army Infantry Platoon Leader in Vietnam & Assistant S-4, this book brought back a lot of memories. My unit was station outside Da Nang during the NVA's Easter Invasion of South Vietnam. That was a very tense time! Based on the author's references to Air Force promotions schedules, he had to have been either in High School or College during the first years covered by this book. A lot of research had to have been done to get the detailed information contained in this book! It was well written and in an easy to read style! I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Military History!!
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