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Rolling Thunder and Linebacker Campaigns: The North Vietnamese View

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North Vietnam has the dubious distinction of having more combat experience against U.S. air power than any other nation in the world. Rolling Thunder, the first U.S. bombing campaign against North Vietnam (1965–68), lasted longer than U.S. air operations in Europe during World War II. When one adds the 1972 Linebacker air campaign against North Vietnam and the almost nine-year bombing campaign against the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos, only Iraq, with the air campaigns of Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom book-ending a twelve-year (1991–2003), low-intensity confrontation against U.S. aircraft over the no fly zones, faced U.S. air attacks longer. The air battles over Iraq, however, cannot be compared with the battles fought in the skies over North Vietnam. During the course of the war, more than 1,100 U.S. fixed wing aircraft were lost in combat operations.


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