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It wasnÕt rockets or artillery that came through the skies one week during the war. It was the horrific force of nature that suddenly put both sides in awe. As an unofficial truce began, questions and emotions battled inside every air crewmanÕs mind as they faced masses of Vietnamese civilians outside their protective base perimeters for the first time. Could we trust them not to shoot? Could they trust us not to drop them off in a detention camp? Truces never last, but life changes a bit for all the people involved while they are happening. Sometimes wars are suspended and fighting stops for a while. A holiday that both sides recognize might do it, as happened in the Christmas truce during World War I. Weather might do it, too, as it did in Vietnam in October 1970. The Òtyphoon truceÓ was just as real, and the war stopped for three days in northern I Corps--that area bordering the demilitarized zone separating South Vietnam from the North. The unofficial Òtyphoon truceÓ came because first, Super Typhoon Joan arrived, devastating all the coastal lowlands in I Corps and further up into North Vietnam. Then, less than a week later came Super Typhoon Kate. Kate hit the same area with renewed fury, leaving the entire countryside under water and the people there faced with both war and natural disaster at the same time. No one but the Americans, the foreign warriors fighting throughout the country, had the resources to help the people who lived in the lowlands, and so they did. For the men who took their helicopters out into the unending rain it really made little difference. Perhaps no one would shoot at them for a while, but the everyday dangers they faced remained, magnified by the low clouds and poor visibility. The crews got just as tired, maybe more so, than on normal missions. None of that really mattered. The aircrews of the 101st Airborne went out to help anyway, because rescuing people was now their mission. In this book we see how for a brief period during an otherwise vicious war, saving life took precedence over bloody conflict.
Sometimes you do everything right, but it just isnÕt your day. A part fails and your helicopter comes apart in flight, or, another aircraft runs into you and the pieces of both fall to the ground below, or the enemy gunner pulls the trigger at just the right moment and his rounds find your aircraft in exactly the right spot to take it out of the sky. Whichever way it happens, it wasnÕt your day. Which is why, after 24 years and over 5,000 flight hours with four armed services, Major Robert Curtis was so surprised at being alive when he passed his retirement physical. Starting with enlisting in the Army to fly helicopters during Vietnam, and continuing on through service with the National Guard, Marine Corps and Royal Navy, he flew eight different helicoptersÑfrom the wooden-bladed OH-13E, through the Chinook, SeaKnight and SeaKing, in war and peace around the world. During that time over 50 of his friends died in crashes, both in combat and in accidents, but somehow his skill, and not an inconsiderable amount of luck and superstition, saw him through. His flying career began with a misbegotten strategy for beating the draft by enlisting. With the Vietnam War raging full blast in 1968 the draft was inevitable, so he wanted to at least get some small measure of control of his future. Although he had no thought of flying when he walked into the recruiting office, he walked out signed up to be a helicopter pilot. What he did not know was that 43% of all the aircraft sent to Vietnam were destroyed in combat or accidents. Soon he was in the thick of the war, flying Chinooks with the 101st Airborne. After Vietnam he left the Army, but kept flying in the National Guard while going to college. He was accepted at two law schools, but flying is addictive, so he instead enlisted in the USMC to fly some more. Over the next 17 years he would fly around the world off US and British ships from Egypt to Norway and all points in between. His engaging story will be a delight to all aviation enthusiasts.
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Pham Xuan An was a brilliant journalist and an even better spy. A friend to all the legendary reporters who covered the Vietnam War, he was an invaluable source of news and a font of wisdom on all things Vietnamese. At the same time, he was a masterful double agent. An inspired shape-shifter who kept his cover in place until the day he died, Pham Xuan An ranks as one of the preeminent spies of the twentieth century. When Thomas A. Bass set out to write the story of An’s remarkable career for The New Yorker, fresh revelations arrived daily during their freewheeling conversations, which began in 1992. But a good spy is always at work, and it was not until An’s death in 2006 that Bass was able to lift the veil from his carefully guarded story to offer up this fascinating portrait of a hidden life. A masterful history that reads like a John le Carré thriller, The Spy Who Loved Us offers a vivid portrait of journalists and spies at war.
Through the Valley is the memoir of an American prisoner of war in Vietnam. It is the true story of courage, hope, and survival. The author faced combat in some of the biggest battles of the Vietnam War. After being shot down and captured, he mustered the will to survive an ordeal in jungle cages, a forced death march of several hundred miles, and months of anguish in the notorious prisons of Hanoi. His tenacity in the face of unimaginable hardship is not only a captivating story, but serves as an inspiration to us all. This is an account with lessons for those in service who continue to face the demands of combat. It is also a human story that appeals to a broad general readership across the United States and around the world, much as have other POW stories such as Undefeated and The Railway Man. William Reeder’s story is different than most published POW accounts. Unlike the majority of U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine pilots who were shot down and captured inside North Vietnam then moved quickly into established prison camps, Reeder was captured inside South Vietnam and held in jungle cages in Cambodia before enduring a grueling forced march of several hundred miles. That march took the lives of seven out of his small group of 27 POWs. He was the last U.S. Army prisoner taken in the war to have survived his captivity. The memoir begins with Reeder’s return to Vietnam on his second tour of duty. It carries through his missions as a Cobra attack helicopter pilot during the rapidly deteriorating military situation in early 1972. His writing puts the reader right in the cockpit in the churning cauldron of war. Reeder cuts to the fear and anxiety, the thrill and the horror of combat, friendships made and friends lost. The story continues through his shoot down, capture, and struggle to survive a long and arduous march up the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Reeder shares the torment and pain of his ordeal, but always in the light of the hope that he never lost. More than anything, this is a story of hope and renewal. His memoir reinforces the themes of courage and sacrifice, belief in self, undying faith, strength of family, love of country, loyalty among comrades, and how precious is this thing called freedom that we so often take for granted.
This official history recounts an ambitious attempt by the Air Force to interdict traffic on the Ho Chi Minh Trail of southern Laos, as part of a plan to support the war in South Vietnam by impending the flow of North Vietnamese troops and military supplies into South Vietnam. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara intended initially to establish a manned barrier guarding the demilitarized zone between the two Vietnams, while using electronic sensors and computers to detect and analyze movement on the Ho Chi Minh Trail so that aircraft could attack the troops and cargo bound for the battlefields of South Vietnam. Only the electronic portion went into service, and the Ho Chi Minh Trail became the object of seven successive Commando Hunt operations, beginning in the fall of 1968 and lasting until the spring of 1972, when a North Vietnamese invasion of the South changed the nature of the war. Although aircraft of the other services participated in this extended campaign of aerial interdiction, the Air Force assumed the greatest responsibility for both equipment and execution. The book begins by summarizing Secretary McNamara's reasons for substituting an interdiction campaign for the bombing of North Vietnam and then describes the early efforts at aerial interdiction, which were delayed by the need to shift resources for the defense of the Marine Corps outpost at Khe Sanh in northwestern South Vietnam, just south of the demilitarized zone.

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