Saturday, June 02, 2007

Summer reading suggestions about the Vietnam Air War

The number of books published about the Vietnam air war is enormous.
For example, Southfarm Press ( recently published a
second edition of its popular
Vietnam War Facts Quiz (ISBN: 978-
0913337585) because of increased interest in the war. The
book has man
questions and illustrations concerning the air war.

Personal accounts of Vietnam service in the air abound. One of the best of the
airwar is Colonel Jack Broughton’s classic
Thud Ridge: F-105 Thunderchief

over Vietnam, originally published in 1969 (ISBN: 978-
0859791168; 2006 ed.). Colonel Broughton carried a tape recorder in his
cockpit on missions over North Vietnam, and the dialogue in his book is
dramatic and real.

The flying stories are riveting in Marshall Harrison’s 1989 book,
A Lonely
of War: Forward Air Controller Vietnam (ISBN: 978-
0891416388; 1997 ed.). He describes what he faced as one of the “Bringers
of Death,” a special cadre of air force pilots responsible for directing jet
fighter-bomber strikes against the enemy.

Masters of the Art: A Fighting Marine’s Memoir of Vietnam
(ISBN: 978-0891418795; 2005 ed.) is written by Ronald E.
Winter, a highly
ated helicopter door gunner who flew over 300 missions in Vietnam.
It’s a thrilling account of US Marines aggressively counter-punching off the
Tet offensive and the siege of Khe Sanh.

Naked in Da Nang (ISBN: 978-0760320761; 2004), by Mike Jackson and
Tara Dixon-Engel is stories of Jackson’s days in Vietnam as a forward air
controller dire
cting air strikes, observing troop movements and
choreographing search-and-rescue missions. The stories are told with pride
and a dash of irreverence.

Kregg P. J. Jorge
nson has written
Acceptable Loss: Point Man Vietnam
(ISBN: 0-8041-0792-0), published in 1991. As part of a Ranger/LRRP team
patrolling the jungles of Vietnam, Jorgenson had seen more combat in four
months than most soldiers see in a decade. His wounds and his Silver Star
guaranteed him safety at the LRRP base camp. Not interested in that, he joined
the Air Cavalry and as part of the Air Cav’s fast reaction team, answered alarms
that would send him scrambling into choppers for nerve-racking flights to
reach surrounded comrades.

Squadron/Signal Publishers have many “In Action Books” richly illustrated with
photos and drawings of aircraft, ships, armored vehicles and weapons used in
Vietnam. In 1982-84 they published Lou Drendel’s 3-volume set in one book,
Air War Over Southeast Asia: A Pictorial Record, 1962-1975—Three
Volumes in One.

The “Men-At-Arms” and “Elite” series published by British publisher Osprey
portray the equipment and uniforms used during the Vietnam War. An anthology
of impressions of Vietnam service by many authors appears in
Touring Nam:
The Vietnam War Reader
. Originally published in 1985, the book is edited
by Martin Greenberg and Augustus Norton. A reprint paperback edition
(ISBN: 978-0553279177) was published in 1989.

Chopper Pilot Frank Anton took off to fly another routine mission over Vietnam
on January 5, 1968. Shot down and taken captive, he was marched into hell for
a five-year journey. He tells his story (with Tommy Denton) in
Why Didn’t You
Get Me Out? A
POW’s Nightmare in Vietnam (ISBN: 978-0312974886;
2000 ed.).

In Ronald J. Glasser M.D.’s honored book,
365 Days (1971), the doctor tells
how as a pediatrician, he was sent to Japan to serve the dependent children
in the military population there. He soon realized that the troopers they were
pulling off those med evac choppers in Vietnam were only children themselves.
Of special interest to those interested in the Vietnam Air War, is chapter 13 in
365 Days, “Choppers” (ISBN: 978-0807615270; 2003 Reissue ed.).

Check with your local booksellers (preferably independent bookstores) ,
online booksellers and local libraries for copies of these books.
--Walter Haan,


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