Air America flight crews, hired as civilians, but castigated as mercenaries, malcontents, and psychopaths, operated military aircraft and performed yeoman service for twenty-five years until the war in Southeast Asia ended on a rooftop in downtown Saigon. They have never been recognized for their sacrifices. Author and former Air America pilot Allen Cates cuts through the myths and subterfuge surrounding this elite stealth Air Force used by the United States to fight a secret war in Honor Denied. The culmination of Cates's years as a pilot and his in-depth research into Air America's murky past, this intense study follows his escape from rural, small-town America to the US Marines, as well as his time as an officer and pilot flying combat operations in Vietnam and rescue missions for Air America. Peppering the narrative with vivid personal details, Cates describes the background and purpose of this unique organization and then discloses the startling casualties-both those killed in action and those wounded and injured with permanent disability. He shines the light on their cause, long hidden from the general public, and reveals how these brave men and women were denied recognition and benefits by those who knew the truth, including the US President, secretaries of state and defense, and even the director of the CIA. Proud, yet never boastful, Honor Denied tells a story that needs to be told-and heard.
I could not put the book down. Of the many tales relating to Air America, this one compiles them all in this one book. If you ever wondered what Air America and their mission was all about, this book will tell you. Great writing. You feel like you are there. January 13, 2012 – Bill
The author has written a detailed and accurate history of CIA and Air America operations in SE Asia, debunking many myths and falsehoods in the process. I strongly recommend reading this book. March 18, 2012 – Viet62
I recently found and read this book. Not only was it a great read, it was very interesting from a historical perspective. Alllen Cates provides valuable and accurate insight into the story of Air America and It's crews who did so much to support the US effort in Laos and Southeast Asia during the 1960s and early 1970s. The purpose of Air America was to pose as a civilian airline and to provide services that the US government needed but was unwilling to use the US Military to provide. What was so noticeable about this effort was that it was so effective and so clandestine that many US forces who were fighting in the area at the time were unaware that Air America even existed. One heart breaking part of the story that Allen outlines is the uncaring manner in which the US Government treated the former Air America employees and their families. The government failed to provide any recognition or government employee status for their years of faithful service. March 24, 2015 – Tom Young