Perhaps more vexing than any part of the Vietnam War--Americas longest--was getting out. This book offers a chronicle of those last difficult years, 1972 and 1973, that is at once a detailed and thorough overview and at the same time a vividly personal account. The year 1972 found Marine Corps pilot Robert E. Stoffey beginning his third combat tour in Vietnam.
After flying 440 combat missions out of Da Nang and Marble Mountain Airfields in South Vietnam (and being shot down twice) between 1965 and 1970, Stoffey was in a unique position to judge the United States changed strategy. From the vantage point of the USS Oklahoma City, he fought--and observed--the critical and complex last two years of the war as Marine Air Officer and Assistant Amphibious Warfare Officer on the staff of the Commander, Seventh Fleet. As the South Vietnamese battled for survival against the onslaught from the Communist North Vietnamese Army, the U.S. Seventh Fleet, afloat in the Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea, was a significant supporting force.
With the U.S. Navys mining of North Vietnams waterways, concentrated shore bombardments, and air attacks, this sea power was instrumental in leading to the negotiated end of the war and return of our POWs. This is the story that Robert Stoffey tells in his firsthand account of how the Vietnam War finally ended and what it took to get our POWs home.