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Discovery Channel Wings – Beyond the Wild Blue: A History of the USAF (1997) 3of5 Vietnam: The Endless Abyss

DC Wings Beyond the Wild Blue A History of the USAF 3of5 Vietnam The Endless Abyss
Beyond the Wild Blue is the most accurate rendition of the history of the United States Air Force that has ever been seen on the television or video. By a brilliant combination of archival film research and intensely personal interviews with many of the most important figures in the history of the Air Force, John Honey and Walter Boyne have produced a vivid and fast moving portrait of service which went from the ruins of World War II demobilization to become the principal weapon of the world’s only Superpower.
Beyond the Wild Blue presents a comprehensive survey of all the great aircraft and missiles of the United States, as flown by the great aces, and as led into battle by a series of first rate leaders. The quality of their effort was underlined by the powerful air war plan executed against Iraq by the United States Air Force and its coalition allies. Even as the entire world watched in real time as Air Force Lockheed F-117s Stealth Fighters streaked through the flak filled skies of Baghdad to destroy Iraq’s command system, the Strategic Air Command was poised to combat any threat of intervention by the still powerful Soviet Union. Beyond the Wild Blue tells the exciting almost unbelievable story of how the USAF reached the pinnacle of power through the bravery of its air crews and merit of its research and development programs.

Based on book “Beyond the Wild Blue” by Walter Boyne ; Networks USA Production

Part 1: Disintegration and Rebirth
Over the objections of the Navy, the USAF is created out of the remnants of the WWII Army Air Forces. American military leaders came back from World War II convinced of the importance of air power and the need for expansion in the future. On September 18th, 1947 the Air Force was split off from the Army and a new branch of the military was born. Within a year, the new service conducts the Berlin Airlift in its first Cold War test.

Part 2: Korea, SAC, and the ICBMs
The Strategic Air Command is established and Gen. Curtis LeMay is named as its commander. The tension of the Cold War was immediately felt as the Air Force took the lead role int he Berlin airlift and also created the Strategic Air Command for the delivery of nuclear weapons. The Korean War begins in 1950, and the Air Force flies its first combat missions. Also: the development of intercontinental missiles begins in the mid-’50s.

Part 3: Vietnam: the Endless Abyss
The Korean Conflict took the USAF in a different direction, but provided no roadmap for winning the new war in Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, the Air Force faces a “politicized command structure” and micro-management of its operations from the White House. Ill-defined war goals and micro-management from Washington offered little hope of success in Southeast Asia.

Part 4: Rebuilding for Space
In the 1970s and ’80s, space becomes the new military frontier, and advances in electronics lead to a new generation of fighters and bombers. Also: Air Force personnel see an improvement in their quality of life as a result of improved training.

Part 5: Desert Storm to the Future
With the end of the Cold War, several major commands are dismantled; the Air Force helps guarantee an Allied victory in the Persian Gulf War. New leaders and new lessons did arise from the war and this built the foundation for stunning air victory in Iraq and a strong future for the US Air Force.

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