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VIETNAM: Spooky and Civil Affairs
by Larry M. Wooster
Retired Air Force Major Larry Wooster takes us behind the scenes and into the past in this memoir of his tour of duty in Vietnam from 1966-70. This little-told piece of U.S. history gives the reader a detailed look at the work of Wooster's civil affairs team of volunteers in the hamlets of Ong Huong, Cong Thanh, and Thien Tan Village. Another little-known component of the Vietnam War was "Spooky," the science-fiction-worthy hovering gunship that he navigated by night.
While his official job stationed him in the airways, his personal mission was his civil affairs team project, which culminated in successful progress in the Cong-Thanh District in 1969, affecting about 15,000 people. His forthright character and level-headedness helped him gain the people of the hamlets’ trust, as their support of the Viet Cong declined. Broken down into snippets of his experiences with the people of the Cong-Thanh District and of his nighttime aviation duties, Vietnam: Spooky and Civil Affairs really pulls the reader in and challenges him to ask pertinent questions about the limitations of combat, not only in past wars, but in those of the present and future; he proposes that we consider how civil affairs counterinsurgency strategies could have won that war, and how they can be applied to modern-day efforts like Iraq and Afghanistan.
With his contrasting duties of Spooky navigator—which he received the most recognition for—and volunteer civil affairs officer, he demonstrates how the human factor really does make a difference in wartime conflict, and how respectful and honest dealings can be the most powerful tool to winning the support of the people.
About the Author
Retired Air Force Major Larry M. Wooster wrote this book to show the power of the little people within a vast system of authority—in this case, of one First Lieutenant and one Technical Sergeant.
Wooster received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Virginia Tech, his Master of Science in Guidance and Counseling at Old Dominion University, and his cadet captain training at the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets from 1965-66. He’s lived in Norfolk, VA, for thirty years. He is currently a minor art dealer and volunteer mental health counselor. His first book, Fundamentals of Leadership, was published in 1989. He has belonged to non-denominational churches from 1982 to the present, and he is a Life Member of the Disabled American Veterans. In his spare time, he enjoys harmonizing with nature by feeding wildlife.
(2012, paperback, 150 pages)