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The B-52 Navigator-Bombardiers of Vietnam
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781591143864
  • Binding: Paperback and eBook
  • Era: 20th Century
  • Number of Pages: 320
  • Subject: Vietnam War
  • Date Available: March 2013
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Full Description:

U.S. Air Force navigators and bombardiers have long labored under the shadow of pilots, their contributions misunderstood or simply unknown to the public. This was especially the case with the B-52 non-pilot officer aircrews in the Vietnam War. Yet without them it would have been impossible to execute nuclear war strike plans or fly conventional bombing sorties. Here, one of their own reveals who these men were and what they did down in the "Black Hole." It is the only work to detail the B-52 air war in Vietnam from the perspective of a navigator-bombardier.

The author offers a history of the development of bombing techniques and the evolution of bomber aircraft, focusing on the Vietnam-era B-52. Final chapters turn to the eleven-day "Christmas War" over Hanoi and Haiphong for an insider's view of that defining battle.
Robert O. Harder, an active-duty U.S. Air Force officer from 1966 to 1970, served in the Strategic Air Command and flew 145 combat missions during the Vietnam War as a B-52D navigator-bombardier. He later became a commercial pilot and certificated flight instructor. Now a retired chain retail executive, he lives in Chicago.

Praise for Flying from the Black Hole

“I enthusiastically recommend this enjoyable book to all individuals interested in aviation history (especially that of the Vietnam War), B-52 operations, the Air Force in general, and SAC in particular. I found Flying from the Black Hole true to the facts as I knew them and a great read.”

Air & Space Power Journal, November-December 2012

Customer Reviews
4 Reviews
Average Customer Reviews
4.75 Stars
From a non-flyer perspective
Thursday, July 2, 2009
By: Darrell Turnock
This book is well written and the information/history of SAC was very interesting and informative. The perspective from the author provides a whole new viewpoint of the life of a non-pilot air crewman. I knew the B-52 was an extremely versitale plane and this book certainly reinforces that. The details regarding his personnal experiences from his basic schools up to and including some of his own missions make this book well worth the time it took to read. I recommend it to all, especially those like me that have been only passengers.
It's tough to drop bombs! Incredible Read.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
By: Ed Sullivan
B-52 navigator-bombardiers were hard working officers working below the flight deck to get their plane over target. They told the pilots where to fly the plane and then they would drop the bombs! This book is a must read to understand the complexities and skill required to navigate and drop bombs over enemy targets. Having just visited the Air Force Academy and standing under their B-52 Bomber display, my spine tingled recalling Bob Harder's description of how that aircraft was flown and operated for so many years. Splendid research and artfully told stories will keep you turning the pages through the night. This book must be in every veteran's library and certainly for anyone who spent any time in Vietnam and experienced the impact of this big bomber. It brought the North Vietnamese to the Peace Table.
inside view of the B52's impact
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
By: Heather Miller
Required reading for non-military and non-technical types, an exceptional read for those who were there. If you ever wondered how did those guys actually fly those awesome birds this book is for you. Fascinating historical background on the art and science of aerial bombing takes the reader from dirigibles to the digital age. Harder makes the exacting science of navigation understandable to the lay reader, then makes the actual mission-sights, sounds, fears, outcomes-come alive. Especially enlightening is his analysis of military mindsets, bureaucracy, and the impact of personality on how we wage war-issues that persist into current conflicts. Harder gives a lively analysis of the role of the B-52 in the context of conflicts in which it flew, helping readers understand the complexity of modern warfare. This brat also found his discussion of the impact of repeated deployments on aircrews' families bracing and honest.
Flying from the Black Hole
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
By: David Fadness
This is an excellent history of the B52's role in the Vietnam War from the viewpoint of the navigator-bombardier. It is told from the author's first hand experience but is also well researched and draws from many people's experiences. It is told with reverence but also with humor. I thought the details of the 1972 Christmas bombing of North Vietnam were especially well done. I had no idea we almost lost this battle in Omaha! I found it a very interesting and enjoyable read.


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