Midair is a true account of one of the most remarkable tales of survival in the history of aviation – a midair collision at 30,000 feet by two bomb-laden B-52s over a category 5 super typhoon above the South China Sea during the outset of the Vietnam War. Authored by Craig K. Collins, the nephew of B-52 pilot Maj. Don Harten, Midair is an historically important work that is about more than survival. Interwoven through Harten’s dramatic story of his million-to-one struggle against near-certain death is a previously unexamined look at how America had developed an aerial battle plan that would likely have ended the Vietnam conflict in under a month during the late winter of 1965. Instead, the country’s war planners and politicians veered off course and into a bloody eight-year quagmire. Harten was on the February 1965 top-secret mission – a massive B-52 bombing raid of railways, supply depots, and airfields in and around Hanoi – that was called off in mid-flight. That mission and battle plan was mothballed until Dec. 18, 1972, when it was dusted off and dubbed Linebacker II, effectively ending the war within a week. Over 120 B-52s bombed Hanoi-area military installations for eight consecutive days. As a result of the heavy bombing, the North Vietnamese declared a truce, attended peace talks in Paris in early January and signed the Paris Peace Accords, ending hostilities in Vietnam on Jan. 27, 1973.It is the gripping tale of a young Air Force officer’s first combat mission that instantly pulls the reader in and never lets up.
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