The perils of combat airlift

One final word, for now, on battlefield airlift. The Defense Science Board report contains this August 1967 photograph of a US Air Force de Havilland Canada C-7A Caribou disintegrating after flying into the line of fire of a US Army 155mm Howitzer while trying to land at a US special forces camp in Vietnam.

Caribou_Ha_Thahn.jpg

The DSB uses the picture to illustrate that the battlefield enclave into which JHL or AJACS will operate will be a dangerous place. It also serves to illustrate the problems of communication between the services that still exist today. The Army is furious at the Air Force’s politicing over the Joint Cargo Aircraft, and while it got the aircraft it wanted the Army could lose control of the programme to the Air Force. JHL vs AJACS is certain to spark a similar “roles and missions” struggle.

[Credit note - the DSB report credits the photograph to "Bettman/Corbis". The picture can be found on the C-7A Carbou Association website, which says the picture, called "Friendly fire", is by Hiromichi Mine and appears in Requiem, a book by photographers who died in Vietnam.]

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