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My Thirty Year Journey in the Shadow of Special Operation Giants

The Air Commando Association Press is pleased to offer “My Thirty Year Journey in the Shadow of Special Operation Giants” by retired Colonel Larry Ropka. The epitome of the “Quiet Professional”, Colonel Ropka shares his incredible journey from flying the globe as a young Military Air Transport navigator to planning CIA airdrops into Tibet in 1957, early operations in Laos in 1961, and planning the audacious attempt to rescue American POWs from North Vietnam in 1970. As young captain Ropka met his boss and mentor, Major Harry “Hienie” Aderholt, and became his “right-hand man” learning the ins and outs of special air operations from Aderholt’s experiences during World War II, Korea, and a tour with the CIA.
Along the way, Ropka’s adventures intersected with the likes of Dick Secord, Joe Kittinger, Erich von Marbod, Johnny Johnson, Jerry Klingaman, Richard Armitage among others, and through those experiences prepared him for his greatest challenge, working in Washington DC to collaborate, coordinate, and ultimately help create the legislation which gave us U.S. Special Operations Command. Journey also feature’s “Ropka’s Paradigm For Strategic Assessment” which highlights basic and timeless processes, actions, and functions inherent in developing and executing special operations in almost every era, with virtually no budget or manpower impact. “My Thirty Year Journey” is available for $16 and can be purchased through the ACA at All proceeds benefit the Air Commando Association, a 501(c)3 non profit organization. 

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