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During the early years of the Vietnam War, several small cadres of men served their country and their fellow comrades-in-arms from a remote airbase cut out of the jungles of northeast Thailand. The base was named Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, but the men assigned there had a special name for it: “Naked Fanny.”
Initially they were assigned to rescue military pilots shot down over Laos or forced to leave their aircraft over Thailand. But as the war expanded, their mission changed and they were asked to fly into hostile situations in North Vietnam, making numerous rescues―detailed here by the pilots who flew them and those who were rescued.
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December 1967: Richard Burns had just arrived in Vietnam as part of the fourteen-man 101st Pathfinder Detachment. Within just one month, during a holiday called Tet, the Communists would launch the largest single attack of the war–and he would be right in the thick of it. . . .
In Vietnam, Richard Burns operated in live-or-die situations, risking his life so that other men could keep theirs. As a Pathfinder–all too often alone in the middle of a hot LZ–he guided in helicopters disembarking troops, directed medevacs to retrieve the wounded, and organized extractions. As well as parachuting into areas and supervising the clearing of landing zones, Pathfinders acted as air-traffic controllers, keeping call signs, frequencies, and aircraft locations in their heads as they orchestrated takeoffs and landings, often under heavy enemy fire.
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Reviews of Price of Exit: A True Story of Helicopter Pilots in Vietnam. Price of Exit: A True Story of Helicopter Pilots in Vietnam (9780804117159): Tom Marshall: Books. Buy online at Aviation Bookstore.
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"The risk of a fatal catastrophe was constant. The NVA was the enemy, but the ultimate opponent was, quite simply, death. . . ."
For assault helicopter crews flying in and around the NVA-infested DMZ, the U.S. pullout from Vietnam in 1970-71 was a desperate time of selfless courage. Now former army warrant officer Tom Marshall of the Phoenix, C Company, 158th Aviation Battalion, 101st Airborne, captures the deadly mountain terrain, the long hours flown under enormous stress, the grim determination of hardened pilots combat-assaulting through walls of antiaircraft fire, the pickups amid exploding mortar shells and hails of AK fire, the nerve-racking string extractions of SOG teams from North Vietnam. . . . And, through it all, the rising tension as helicopter pilots and crews are lost at an accelerating pace.
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From World War II to high above the Earth to Vietnam, this memoir tells the story of fighter pilot Howard C. "Scrappy" Johnson. Beginning with his early years in Knoxville, Tennessee, the book follows Johnson through his career at the University of Louisville and his enlistment as an Air Force cadet at the onset of World War II. After World War II, Johnson served a tour of duty in the skies over Korea and in 1958 broke the world's altitude record by over 14,000 feet, soaring at 91,249 feet in his F-104A Starfighter. For this remarkable feat he was awarded the Collier Trophy, aviation's highest honor. In Vietnam, he was director of operations for the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing and was instrumental in founding the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots, a group dedicated to the remembrance of fallen and captured airmen. Written with panache, this work records the bigger-than-life adventures of one of America's finest.
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Viet Nam may be the only war we ever fought, or perhaps that was ever fought, in which the heroism of the American soldier was accompanied by humanitarianism unmatched in the annals of warfare. And the humanitarianism took place during the heat of the battle. The GI fixed as he fought, he cured and educated and built in the middle of the battle. He truly cared for, and about, those people. What other Army has ever done that? Humanitarianism was America's great victory in Viet Nam. Spearheading the humanitarian efforts were the air ambulance operations, call-sign Dust Off, the most dangerous of all aviation operations, which rescued some one million souls in Viet Nam. Dead Men Flying is the story of Charles Kelly, the father of Dust Off, who gave his life to save Dust Off – the greatest life-saver ever. His dying words – When I have your wounded – set the standard for combat medicine to this day. It is also the story of the author, Medal of Honor recipient General Patrick Brady, who learned from Charles Kelly and struggled to meet his standard. Brady led the 54th Medical Detachment as it rescued over 21,000 wounded – enemy and friendly – in 10 months, while sustaining 26 Purple Hearts. Finally, Dead Men Flying is the story of salvation in the midst of horror, courage in the face of adversity, and the miracle of faith in the heat of combat. A riveting tale from America's most decorated living soldier, this is a book that no American can afford to ignore.