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Book Review

One Day Too Long

Top Secret Site 85

and the Bombing of North Vietnam

[Dr.] Timothy N. Castle

Columbia University Press, New York

ISBN 0-231-10316-6

Copyright © 1999 Columbia University Press

A riveting tale of heroism and patriotism, One Day Too Long tells the full story of a covert military operation in Laos that resulted in the largest ground combat loss of US Air Force personnel during the Vietnam War.

If you want to know what the term plausible deniability means, this book educates you succinctly. USAF personnel being "sheep dipped" and suddenly working for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation at a top secret location in Laos where they directed the bombing of North Vietnam. How the Vietnamese were so determined at taking this mountaintop TACAN site that they even attempted to toss bombs from a bi-plane and finally scaled almost 2,000 feet straight up to overtake the mountaintop.

This was a radar station like none other manned by supposed civilians who were contracted out to Lockheed by the Air Force. They directed the bombing of North Vietnam from this perch in Laos. The book details how the indecisive US Ambassador to Laos made the decision to wait to evacuate even while communist forces were building a road up the mountain. Hence the name, One Day Too Long.

The heroism of the Americans trapped on the mountaintop; the Air America helicopter pilot who pulled his unarmed helicopter dangerously close to the side of the mountain to rescue as many Americans as he could. The ensuing coverup and the plight of the families involved who had to file suit in order to force the USAF to acknowledge that the sheep dipped men were in fact Air Force personnel and the treatment of the families by the Courts.

How the USG immediately declared that there were no survivors despite evidence that some men were captured. The battle was furious and the USAF bombed the top of the mountain within days of the seige. Dr. Castle takes us through an oddysey that one can only imagine, much less experience and yet these American patriots, these hero's did experience it. Tom Clancy could not come up with a scenario that these people lived and died through. This book illustrates the depth that the US government will go to for plausible deniability.

Castle is a former analyst at Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office and his expertise is SEA. Not only does he take you back to 1968 when the hill fell to enemy forces, he takes you back to the bomb craters left by US Forces after the fall. Castle tells you what the government does not want you to know and he backs up his narrative with documentation and pictures.

A must read book!

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