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Dragon operations : hostage rescues in the Congo, 1964-1965

The Dragon operations in the Congo―Dragon Rouge and Dragon Noir―were the first, and in many ways the most complex, hostage rescue missions of the cold war. Aimed at securing the release of nearly 2,000 European residents taken hostage during the Simba Rebellion in 1964, American aircraft projected a Belgian airborne unit thousands of miles into the heart of Africa. The planning and execution of this mission required the operational cooperation of three nations and their military forces in order to synchronize the arrival of airborne and ground forces to assault a hostile objective. At stake―as usual, and unfortunately―were the lives of innocent men, women, and children.

The Dragon operations were by no means perfect operations. Time, chance, and human frailty worked their usual influence upon affairs. Major Thomas P. Odom's study demonstrates, in unprecedented detail and analysis, the actual workings of these dramatic and complex operations, drawing upon sources heretofore unavailable. The result is a new Leavenworth Paper that is worthy of any military professional's attention.


Republic of Congo (89)