The Rescue of Boxer 22 by Jeffrey A Chunglo
The Rescue of Boxer 22 was a highly secret operation. It occurred in a forgotten country, Laos, during the Vietnam War. An international agreement had banned military operations in Laos, yet some of the most vicious battles of the Vietnam War occurred in that region. The rescue of Boxer 22, and its details, were classified as SECRET until documents surrounding this mission were declassified in 2001. This mission remains the largest Combat Search and Air Rescue mission in U.S. Air Force history.
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Official Review: The Rescue of Boxer 22
Post by Elvis Best: 01 Nov 2020, 10:17
The Rescue of Boxer 22, written by Jeffrey A. Chunglo, is a true account of an out-of-this-world rescue mission by the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. On 5th December 1969, an F-4C Phantom jet was shot down during a bombing run, forcing its pilots to abruptly eject in enemy territory.
What followed was a long and arduous Combat Search and Air rescue mission that lasted for three days and that has been declared the largest of its kind in U.S. Air Force history. In this book, Chunglo reveals all the gory details of the rescue mission, including the conversations, interactions, feelings, and actions of all involved in the mission. Indeed, Chunglo has left no stone unturned in rendering this epic tale of courage, camaraderie, and unflinching loyalty.
All in all, reading The Rescue of Boxer 22 felt like a real and intense experience for me, as the author included pictures from the actual mission. These pictures brought to life what I was reading and helped me to connect deeply with the book. Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words, but in my case, it was worth more than a thousand.
Furthermore, it was inspiring to see the immense effort, time, and dedication that the U.S. Air Force put into the rescue attempt. For several moments while reading, I was awed by their bravery, their sense of camaraderie, and their love for a fellow soldier. The following quote from the book sums up their inspiring mindset: “We’re Americans! That’s why we do this! We’ll never leave a man behind!”
Further, as I was reading, I kept telling myself that the book ought to be made into a movie. The intense action, prolonged battle, indefatigable enemy troops, all these made The Rescue of Boxer 22 a thrilling and exciting read. Made into a movie, I believe this book would be a blockbuster, and the American audience would appreciate the bravery of their soldiers.
Nevertheless, because this book was written in a nonfiction format, there were a few parts that were a bit boring to read. That was the only thing I disliked about the book. Apart from that, however, I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Rescue of Boxer 22.
Considering the above points, I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. The minor issue I had with it was not enough for me to deduct a star from the rating. Further, I believe it was exceptionally edited, as I found only one error in it. I also found some vulgar words in it, and so I would not recommend it to anyone below eighteen. The best audience for this book would be fellow Air Force personnel and anyone who enjoys reading exceptional true-life stories.
I’m writing this morning to tell you how much I loved reading your book. I received it late last week and I couldn’t put it down, finishing it yesterday.
The story of the rescue is truly extraordinary and inspiring. The amount of bravery and persistence exhibited by those leading and conducting the rescue is truly astounding. I also really appreciate how you balanced the clear bravery of those involved while also highlighting the perils of war.
Thank you for writing this book and thank you for sharing it with me. I truly appreciate it.
I just finished reading a book written by a close friend and fellow Brother of the CPO Mess, Senior Chief Jeffrey “Doc” Chunglo. The book’s title is “The Rescue of Boxer 22” an actual event of a the rescue of an Air Force Pilot during Vietnam. My very first thought was “Jeff wrote a book…he hated writing evaluations, how did he write this book?” My next thought was “How the hell does a Navy SCPO know anything about an Air Force operation during Vietnam?” The only thing I know about the Air Force was that they had great food and better living quarters than anything the Navy had in place…” Then I remembered some past comments of his interest in the heroic events that took place in this rescue. Then I started thinking about what I knew of Jeff, his keen interest of all that is military and what it stands for “Honor, Courage, and Commitment.” The thought of “not of self but of others” fits Jeff’s persona. The fact that he is a Veteran’s Service Officer is more example of what makes up Jeff. The more I thought about Jeff and who he is the more I began to realize why he had to write a book about this event.
I ordered the book and couldn’t wait to read it. I got the book shipped to me and I started to read it and had to stop, two times. It isn’t a novel that has characters that pages are devoted to developing their back ground and how they fit into the theme of the novel. It wasn’t a rash view of military life filled with some facts and military humor. It wasn’t anything I thought it would be, it was real, as real as war can get. I started twice and twice I had to stop because it wasn’t a story of fiction, where everyone gets out okay. It was raw, detailed, true, sad, frustrating in the events that took place. It was real. I felt I was there either in the cockpit of an A-1 Skyraider or as a member of the aircrew of the Jolly Greens or as Woody or Ben. I felt frustration with the inability to simply rescue the downed pilots. I had to put it down twice. It made me think of all that was sacrificed by anyone that served in Nam and how they were treated when they returned. I guess it just brought up old bad memories. The third time I started to read it I couldn’t stop. I found myself re-reading certain parts slowly to allow all that Jeff had written to sink in, to fully understand. I finished the book. You need to get this book, read it, and share it.
Jeff captured the phrase “no one left behind” and certainly he captured the motto that Air Force Pararescuemen and those of the Jolly Green’s live by “These things we do that others may live.” I found the book captivating for sure. It made me feel that I was there…I could remember what the smell of stale cigarettes smelt like and lukewarm military coffee tasted like and I got that feeling every time I walk into a military establishment…yeah this is the military…it made me feel like I was in the place I belonged…the military.
Jeff has done an excellent job in capturing the realism that took place over those three days back on the morning of December 5th, 1969, to rescue a downed pilot and what it took.
I highly recommend you read this book. If you are a veteran, well you’ll understand what I’ve said and if you aren’t I sincerely hope you walk away with an understanding of the bond between all veterans…or as I learned from an instructor at the Senior Enlisted Academy….”well, you all now have the same frame of reference!” I sincerely hope you will also. Get the book…and never forget what it means to serve others…
Senior Chief Dan Clark
Great story! With 24 years of service with the Air Force I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know about this rescue mission until I read this book. I can understand why this mission was initially deemed classified but I’m shocked it isn’t widely known. The way the story is told makes you feel like you are part of the action – the highs and lows and suspense. This is a must read for anyone interested in military history. Thanks for telling this story.
The details brought the story to
life. It’s more than a classified story… it’s the smell of cigarettes, the way the briefing room was decorated, the shape of the tree where he took shelter, the emotion in the voice on the radio, the way a parachute moves… Bravo Zulu to a well-told story!