When flying combat missions in Southeast Asia in the 1960s and ’70s, we all knew that if we had to eject from a crippled aircraft, the command authority in the war zone would pull out all the stops and allocate whatever assets were required to rescue downed airmen, if at all feasible.

It was not unusual to have 12 or 15 armed fighter bombers orbiting the scene, awaiting a chance to use their ordnance to expand the perimeter so that a helicopter could make the rescue.

How far have we slipped when a U.S. ambassador in a troubled Third World city comes under terrorist attack, and yet the national command authority sits idle, monitoring the situation and takes no rescue action? Isn’t it time for some adult leadership in Washington, before the next international crisis arrives?

Allen Massey


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