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A Historical Snapshot of US Aerial Reconnaissance
By Charles E. Cabler

A historical snapshot of the development and evolution of US aerial reconnaissance as a vital part of our national security and combat support operations. Many illustrations in color.


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Aerial reconnaissance, an invaluable part of US military warfare for intelligence gathering and support of ground troops, was referred to in its developmental years as overhead espionage. Although overhead espionage is most often associated with the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, its origin dates back to Napoleon Bonaparte’s French Balloon Corps in 1799. A little-known fact is that US aerial reconnaissance was effectively used by both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War at the battles of Bull Run, Yorktown, and Vicksburg. Many people are familiar with the U-2 or the Blackbird as significant US spy planes. However, from its beginnings in this country in October, 1861, reconnaissance work has grown exponentially using many different types of aircraft. The United States Army Air Corps, formed in 1941 partially for reconnaissance work, was followed in 1947 with the creation of a separate branch of service, the US Air Force, for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance purposes, in addition to aerial combat. This book is a snapshot of significant first planes in the progression of overhead espionage, and a way to remember the men and women, past and present, who bravely help to provide the freedom we enjoy in our great country through their dedicated work in overhead espionage.

Charles E. Cabler is a US Air Force veteran who served for six years during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. He was stationed at the 3800 Air Base Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama; the 1094 Support Squadron, Manzano Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico; and the Air Force Reserve, Denver, Colorado. He is also an amateur historian and an aviation enthusiast with a great appreciation for the work accomplished in aerial reconnaissance. He is a member of the American Legion, Post 11 in Florence, Alabama, and uses his forty-three-year banking background as a volunteer adviser for the American Corporate Partners Organization, providing career guidance to military personnel as they transition into civilian life.


6 x 9
ISBN: 978-1-63293-497-0
204 pp.,$39.95

6 x 9
ISBN: 978-1-63293-321-8
204 pp.,$24.95

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