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Lesson Index: [ Introduction | Lesson Objective | Overview | Foundations of Doctrine | Air Corps Tactical School | WWII—Europe | WWII—Japan | WWII—Nuclear Weapons | Cold War Doctrine | Massive Retaliation | Cold War Technology | Flexible Response | The SIOP | Korea | Korean Command Structure | Korean War Aftermath | Prelude to Vietnam | Objectives in Vietnam | Vietnam War 1965–1973 | Rolling Thunder—Objectives | Rolling Thunder—Restrictions | Rolling Thunder—Outcome | Command Arrangements | Route Package System | Khe Sanh | Airpower at Khe Sanh | LINEBACKER II | Post-Vietnam Assessment | AirLand Battle | Impact of AirLand Battle | Operation EAGLE CLAW | Operation URGENT FURY | Goldwater-Nichols Act 1986 | Summary | Quiz ]

Title: Prelude to Vietnam

Voice: When the Vietnam conflict began, the Air Force was operating under the 1964 version of Air Force Manual one dash one. The manual bore the signature of nuclear protagonist, General Curtis LeMay. Air Force doctrine incorrectly stated, “the best preparation for limited war is proper preparation for general war.” Doctrine of the time stressed planning for general war and it advocated the use of atomic weapons. Airpower doctrine, having been replaced by nuclear doctrine, left the Air Force completely unprepared for the conflict that erupted in Vietnam. The Air Force went to war without a viable doctrine for theater air operations in a conventional conflict.

Action: Screen begins with ghosted images of fighter planes in background. When mentioned in the narration, the cover of Air Force Manual one dash one is shown left center screen. The following bullets are shown on the right side of the screen in support of the narration:

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