The Vietnamese consider Linebacker II a victory. So do we. It hastened the end of the war, so I guess we were both right.

— James Albright





The Brothers Bellum, cover

The story follows three brothers during the build up, execution, and aftermath of the bombing campaign that the President said, “must be brutal.” It was.

While the brothers are fictional, the bombing missions and dysfunctional rules of engagement are portrayed exactly as they happened. The story takes you through the journey that almost ripped this family, and the nation, apart. Along the way you will learn about the actual events of how Linebacker II initially failed, and then succeeded in bringing an end to the Vietnam War.

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About the book


B-52D Cockpit

Stephen, the eldest brother, was a B-52 pilot who flew when the SAM threat was minimal. He had done well and was promoted to be a part of the SAC Operations Staff. He had complete faith in the bomber and the Strategic Air Command’s prosecution of Linebacker II, the last air campaign of the war.


B-52D 55-0100 bombing Hanoi, Dec 1972

Ernest, the middle brother, was a B-52 Electronic Warfare Officer stationed at U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Base in Thailand. He had complete faith in the technology and his skill in avoiding the Surface to Air Missile (SAM) threat. He gets to put into practice all that he has learned just as Linebacker II commences.


Vietnam War protest

Martin, the youngest brother, was a college student on draft deferment. As he neared graduation and the war continued to drag on, he realized that he would soon be conscripted into the Army. He came to believe the war was evil as were all who fought it.


North Vietnamese SA-2 Surface to Air Missile

Stephen believes the Strategic Air Command knows how to wage a conventional war and has a good plan in Operation Linebacker II. Ernest has faith in his electronic counter measures and his ability to keep his aircraft and crews safe from the SAM threat. Martin comes to believe there is no possible justification for the American involvement in Vietnam and that everything associated with it is evil. All three brothers discover they were wrong.


B-52, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam

More about the book here:

"The Brothers Bellum" is available now at in eBook ($5.99) and paperback ($14.99) versions.


A skilled writer and expert pilot intimately familiar with operating large, crewed jet aircraft, James Albright draws from his deep experience as both a U.S. Air Force aviator and storyteller to deliver well-drawn characters involved in the massive bombing campaign credited with speeding an end to America’s long and unpopular war in Vietnam.
For those curious about the in-flight responsibilities, challenges, concerns and dire confusions confronting B-52 flight crews in combat, this narrative puts you in one of the eight-engine bomber’s ejection seats – most often that of the Electronic Warfare officer. It is his responsibility to provide the aircraft’s primary defense against its greatest threat – surface-to-air missiles.
Accomplishing that requires a mix of anticipation, close calculation, nerve and the isolation of critical signals smothered in a roar of electronic audio babble.
For those intrigued by the workings of a military command bureaucracy charged to subdue immediately a resilient, well-armed and ever more knowing enemy, it’s here as well -- complete with overused, intractable tactics, selfprotection of rank and pecking order, along with the dismissal of valuable input from warriors actually doing the fighting. A disheartening look inside a puzzle palace.
And helping bring focus to the personal toll of two uniformed brothers Bellum (Latin for “war”) confronting the erred guidance directing the persistent but flawed campaign are the family members and sweethearts whose support steadily descends from encouragement to worry to devastation as nights of bombing take a terrible toll.
While most of the story focuses on the mechanics of modern war – know that the Stratofortress’s systems and roles are continually upgraded to confront 21st Century adversaries -- it also provides reflection on the true purpose and essential failings of war itself. This is done through the questioning by a third brother Bellum, whose positions on the matter are tested and evolve through unanticipated suffering at the conflict’s conclusion.
Although Linebacker II took place a half century ago, the questions, concerns, criticisms and relief arising in the narrative from that long-ago combat withdrawal are being repeated today as the U.S. military exits another controversial conflict. The Brothers Bellum reminds all that what has gone before often repeats, and that we need to take careful measure to avoid experiencing anew the errors and agonies of the past.
- Bill Garvey, former editor, Business & Commercial Aviation magazine