About the Book

The Price of Vigilance is a history of airborne communications intelligence reconnaissance, with emphasis on the shootdown of Air Force C-130 #60528 over Armenia in 1958, killing 17 Americans. It traces airborne COMINT reconnaissance from the heady days of nisei Japanese linguists on RB-24 missions in the Pacific in 1945 to Cold War airborne COMINT reconnaissance—initially aboard RB-29 #44-62290 and Blue Sky RC-47s over Korea in 1952, and later in RB-50s and C-130s in Europe from 1956.

A 60-page introduction describes the Navy EP-3E and Chinese fighter air incident in April 2001, plus related Cold-War U.S.-Chinese air incidents. In addition, the book documents a dozen Cold War U.S.-Soviet air incidents with the loss of 98 American lives.

On the C-130 shootdown, the book chronicles in detail the facts about: the inadvertent overflight of enemy airspace; how the Soviets shot down the plane, yet denied complicity; how the lost crew's families were kept in the dark for four decades, and how the government tried to bring the families closure by finally honoring the crews after the Cold War. The authors—themselves former airborne intercept operators—describe for the first time how American recon crews monitored enemy communications during the Cold War.

Back to Home Page