ChickenhawkBook - 1983
A true story from the battlefield that faithfully portrays the horror, the madness, and the trauma of the Vietnam War
More than half a million copies of Chickenhawk have been sold since it was first published in 1983. Now with a new afterword by the author and photographs taken by him during the conflict, this straight-from-the-shoulder account tells the electrifying truth about the helicopter war in Vietnam. This is Robert Mason’s astounding personal story of men at war. A veteran of more than one thousand combat missions, Mason gives staggering descriptions that cut to the heart of the combat experience: the fear and belligerence, the quiet insights and raging madness, the lasting friendships and sudden death—the extreme emotions of a "chickenhawk" in constant danger.
Baker & Taylor
A former Army helicopter pilot describes his experiences during a year's tour in Vietnam, offering an extraordinary portrait of the terror, banality, stupidity, and waste of war
From the critics
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In the version I read, Robert Mason described piloting a helicopter, often in combat situations. He recalls: __Nearly landing in a mine field, after being misdirected by a grunt, and the subsequent struggle to get away -- WITHOUT BEING BLOWN UP!. __Seeing a fellow helicopter loose its passengers, have to auto-rotate, after having its tail shot off. __A particularly interesting incident of seeing NVA or VC herding villages around a (37mm?) mounted machine gun, as it opened up on his flight. Presumably to present the resultant as an American massacre - AFTER they had removed their 37mm. It's probably too late to ask now, but was this opportunistic, or had the NVA known the flight would be flying by, in time to have the 37mm in place?! Also the American response, which was to return fire, despite the obvious set up! I would have broken contact myself, gone back some hours latter to look for the herders! But I don't know what imperatives the flight had, none were mentioned. __They were ferrying troops into a restricted LZ, 3 copters at a time, they got out ok, only to see the other 2 hadn't, causing him some dismay as he could see the rotors still going. The other members began calling them lucky, after this escape. __One of their fellow Lads bought a mongoose off one of the locals and christened it 'Mo' Fuck'. __He was given the day off, because a commander wanted to give his own pilot some flying time. Bob got to sit it out, hearing where the copters went & figured how the NVA always knew where they were. __Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina (Stackpole Military History Series) By Fall, Bernard B., earned a mention! A fellow trooper had read it, told them all it showed the US was going to loose this war. Bob and another doubted this severely, Bob adding "(fellow trooper) is a flake"!
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