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Code-Name Bright Light: The Untold Story of U.S. POW Rescue Efforts During the Vietnam War Mass Market Paperback – Dec 1 1998


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (Dec 1 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440226503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440226505
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.7 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #34,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

At the end of Code-Name Bright Light, former Army captain George J. Veith reports the surprising results of a straw poll he took of former military personnel involved in the effort to liberate American POWs. More than half think that when the United States evacuated Vietnam in 1973, Yanks were left behind enemy lines. Veith is no conspiracy freak. He believes strongly that the military made a sincere effort to rescue captured troops, and argues his case well, yet he also reveals a troubled operation that did not liberate a single soldier due to a combination of its own incompetence and clever Viet Cong tactics. This important chapter of the Vietnam War has been largely ignored until the late 1990s, partly because so many relevant documents took that long to be declassified. Veith makes a genuine contribution to the historical understanding of the conflict, one that ought to engage those still wondering about men whose fates remain unknown. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Popular and academic works on U.S. prisoners of war continue to play a central role in Vietnam War literature and historiography. But even as the number of such titles proliferate, the quality of the research and the political bias of the writers have long been issues. Although a definitive scholarly volume awaits the opening of Vietnam's archives, Veith's research in the U.S. records places his study on American rescue attempts in the forefront of the discussion. The author, a specialist on POWs/MIAs, presents a tightly written, challenging essay on the ill-starred rescue efforts of the Joint Personnel Recovery Center and associated units in Vietnam and Laos. The catalog of bureaucratic inertia, interservice rivalries, and incredible bad luck combined to frustrate the numerous missions of American and Vietnamese special forces. An arresting and dramatic story supported by exceptional research, this is an essential purchase for Vietnam War collections in academic and public libraries.?John R. Vallely, Siena Coll. Lib, Loudonville, N.Y.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Code Name Bright Light is a fascinating and highly revealing look into rescue operations in Vietnam performed under the auspices of the Joint Personnel Recovery Center (JPRC) during the longest war ever fought by the United States.

In a six year period, more than 125 rescue operations would be launched to recover U.S. prisoners of war. Attempts to retrieve U.S. servicemen would also be tried by ransoms and prisoner exchanges. The latter methods were minimally successful at best due to the dismal cooperation from the North Vietnamese government and their unwillingness to recognize humanitarian overtures. The actual rescue attempts themselves were outstanding examples of bravery, courage, and audacity in the most harrowing of situation but were also mired in endless problems.

Rescue teams would suffer the indignity of inter-service rivalries and competition, mediocre intelligence information, numerous bureaucratic breakdowns, compromised missions, and bad luck in many cases. Much of this would lead to slow response times to initiate raids on POW compounds which in turn produced many near misses when trying to extricate POW's. On countless occasions, rescue personnel would assault POW camps only to find that prisoners and camp cadre had relocated to new areas only hours before. Although some missions conducted were successful, they would also be bittersweet at the same time. The JPRC teams, during their tenure in Vietnam, were able to rescue hundreds of South Vietnamese POW's but were unsuccessful in ever freeing any living Americans held in confinement.

Leaving no stone unturned, geographically speaking, George J.
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Code Name Bright Light is a fascinating and highly revealing look into rescue operations in Vietnam performed under the auspices of the Joint Personnel Recovery Center (JPRC) during the longest war ever fought by the United States.
In a six year period, more than 125 rescue operations would be launched to recover U.S. prisoners of war. Attempts to retrieve U.S. servicemen would also be tried by ransoms and prisoner exchanges. The latter methods were minimally successful at best due to the dismal cooperation from the North Vietnamese government and their unwillingness to recognize humanitarian overtures. The actual rescue attempts themselves were outstanding examples of bravery, courage, and audacity in the most harrowing of situation but were also mired in endless problems.
Rescue teams would suffer the indignity of inter-service rivalries and competition, mediocre intelligence information, numerous bureaucratic breakdowns, compromised missions, and bad luck in many cases. Much of this would lead to slow response times to initiate raids on POW compounds which in turn produced many near misses when trying to extricate POW's. On countless occasions, rescue personnel would assault POW camps only to find that prisoners and camp cadre had relocated to new areas only hours before. Although some missions conducted were successful, they would also be bittersweet at the same time. The JPRC teams, during their tenure in Vietnam, were able to rescue hundreds of South Vietnamese POW's but were unsuccessful in ever freeing any living Americans held in confinement.
Leaving no stone unturned, geographically speaking, George J.
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Format: Hardcover
Ethicists have debated since time immemorial the question: how many lives is one life worth? Rather than a simple mathematical problem (1=1), this is the question which dogged the men tasked with rescuing U.S. prisoners of war during the Vietnam conflict.
There has been the nasty suspicion lingering for years that the U.S. government decided that the math didn't quite work out and so left our POWs in Southeast Asia to meet their fates alone. Congressional hearings have been held, various recovery missions have been launched, and a cottage industry in conspiracy theory has sprung up in the decades since Operation Homecoming in 1973.
George Veith blows the lid off much of the secrecy surrounding U.S. efforts to recover POWs in Vietnam and thus evaporates much of the conspiracy theories with "Codename: Bright Light." Despite assertions to the contrary, U.S. special forces made substantial and repeated efforts to free POWs during the war. The main obstacles to repatriation were: the constant relocation of prisoners, the intransigence of the North Vietnamese and their American supporters, the failure of intelligence on POW matters, bureaucratic snafus, and the extremely difficult terrain and climate which made escape a dicey proposition at best. As a result, the Bright Light operation failed to rescue a single American POW during its entire course.
Despite these failures, the men supporting Bright Light gave their all to bring our men home and had a substantive impact upon repatriation. Yet most of the surviving members of these teams believe to this day that men were left behind---specifically, those captured in Laos, none of whom returned at Homecoming.
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