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"Chickenhawk" The book


dlo22
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I know a few of you have read this book, I talked to a vietnam pilot tonight and he said it was almost standard issued equiptment for an Army helicopter pilot in vietnam??? So give me a few opinions??

 

 

1. did you like the book ???? why or why not... what did you like or dislike??

 

2 Was the book a real depiction of a helicopter pilot in vietnam???

 

If the book was a real depiction, what differed in your opinion and what did they leave out...

 

I know a few of you were there in vietnam, and just wondering how good and real the book was to you guys???

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He compiled stories from other pilots and wrote the book using the stories as his own.

I heard the same thing 15 years ago when I first read the book. I actually brought the same copy I originally read in Korea over to Afghanistan with me this trip. I'm not really into reading about history and wars, but I got sucked in and just couldnt put the book down. Anyone that knows me, knows that it must be a pretty interesting book if I liked it lol.

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I borrowed a copy from my local library and I finished it yesterday. I am going to buy a copy of my own.

 

Be prepared to get completey sucked into the story as Scottie said. You feel like you are in the seat next to Mason during the missions.

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I read it a few months ago (compliements of Tracy from Tomlinson Aviation). Really good book. The only sad part is the way it ends.. (I don't want to spoil it any more than that for new readers).

 

Paul

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This is a book that needs to be read by almost anyone that is interested in the use of helicopters in the Vietnam War.

 

Bob Mason was in Vietnam a year or 2 before my first tour. As a member of the 1st Cav. (Air Mobile) he lived in conditions that were, because of their mission, far more primative than what I experienced. His comments of the scarcity of equipment were much more, and probably true, than anything that we had to experience. Everyone who was there brought back different feelings of how things were. His decriptions of the places that he was at while there were spot on. "Cheo Reo" was "Cheo Reo"

 

His descriptions of the places and especially learning how to fly one of these beasts is as close to real life as you can get on the printed page. Discription is definately this author's forte.

 

My only down point of the entire book was the last chapter (when I read it the first time) was his blame of what happened was the cause and effect of how he went wrong. Subsequent readings, I read it once every 5 years or so, have given me an unstanding into his personal battle with PTSS and to realize that this book was a catharsus for him. We all handled the journey home in different ways.

 

I first read the book when I was working in the jungles of Indonesia. It held my attention then as it still does. I have bought 5 or 6 copies through the years and have given them to people that I cared about to let them know "What makes me tick". Although it is biased to a certain extent, it is still a work that tells it like it is.

 

It might interest a few of you to know that his wife has also written a book about dealing with a loved one that goes throught what Mason in particular and the rest of us in general, go through emotionally in times of combat stress. This is a book that can be a blessing today with the reports of soldiers coming back from another "Unpopular war".

 

Enough preaching. I'm not ordained.

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I know a few of you have read this book, I talked to a vietnam pilot tonight and he said it was almost standard issued equiptment for an Army helicopter pilot in vietnam??? So give me a few opinions??

1. did you like the book ???? why or why not... what did you like or dislike??

 

2 Was the book a real depiction of a helicopter pilot in vietnam???

 

If the book was a real depiction, what differed in your opinion and what did they leave out...

 

I know a few of you were there in vietnam, and just wondering how good and real the book was to you guys???

 

Another good book was called "Low level hell" I forget who the author was. Great story about a Loach pilot in Vietnam.

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  • 1 month later...

I just re-read the book. First reading was at least 10 years ago.

 

Mason's description of learning to fly at Army flight school was very good. All of us must have laughed at the story of the IP putting 1 finger on top of the cyclic and stopping all the gyrations in a moment.

 

Like a earlier poster, my tour in RVN was several years after Mason was there. All the O clubs, bunkers and showers had already been built. I will attest that the Helo pilots of the early years were very innovative. It is amazing what was built using rocket boxes and beer cans. Our living and maintenance facilities were much better. Our equipment was better, we had C model gunships and mostly H model slicks. Of course the increased power of the L-13 engine was canceled by the the fact that the powers to be, insisted on heavier loads.

 

The flying in RVN? Hours of boredom, interrupted by moments of, stark raving terror. His description of this, is as good as I have read. In my unit we were limited to 130 hrs. in a running 30 day period. However anyone on the food chain above a platoon leader could declare a combat emergency and extend the limits. I'm sure that many things varied from unit to unit but in my battalion, the AC (aircraft commander) was god. Our battalion commander was not a AC. if you were flying with him, he commanded the battalion, but you commanded the aircraft. Formation flying with overlapped rotors occurred on a regular basis. There was no reason to do it other than being macho pilots. Weight and balance? If it would hover and the cyclic was not at the forward or rear stops, you were good to go. I still can hear the low RPM audio horn and see that annoying flashing light on the panel.

 

Stupid stuff, like the Maintenance officer killing a entire crew trying to sling load a rotor blade that Mason wrote about, happened. Using helicopters for non military stuff (hauling ice and visiting friends) did occur. If you want to understand the horror of war, read the part about hauling bodies carefully. Most missions were discussed at length afterward. You could tell which crews had just transported bodies by their sullen, quiet presence and rapid consumption of alcohol.

 

Mason's description about being short (60 days or less remaining in country) and scared, was right on.

After the first couple of weeks of combat missions, most of us just figured we were not going to make it home. However, when you get down to 2 months left, the attitude changed. Preflights took longer, questionable aircraft were refused. The mail, beer or toilet paper delivery missions were put off until the weather got better and yes, it was common for a pilot to go the the flight surgeon with a cold to see if he could get grounded.

 

Several posters mentioned what a downer the last chapter was. You should remember that there were thousands of Helicopter pilots in that conflict and that most returned to a normal life with no ill effects. Mason did suffer and most likely made some poor choices after his tour. He however did his job admirably while in country and I proudly consider him a comrade.

 

Read his book. I think that many of you will feel his pain, as well as see the pride he had in knowing he did a dirty job, well.

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