Hornet 33

Memoir of a Combat Helicopter Pilot in Vietnam

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SKU: 9781476666099 Categories: , , , , Tag:

About the Book

Combat helicopter pilots in the Vietnam War flew each mission facing the possibility of imminent death. Begun as a series of attempted letters to the Department of Veterans Affairs, this compelling memoir of an aircraft commander in the 116th Assault Helicopter Company—“The Hornets”—relates his experience of the war in frank detail.

From supporting the 25th Infantry Division’s invasion of Cambodia, to flying the lead aircraft in the 101st Airmobile Division’s pivotal Operation Lam Son 719 invasion of Laos to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail at LZ Hope, the author recounts the traumatic events of his service from March 1970 to March 1971.

About the Author(s)

Retired architect Ed Denny lives in Denton, Texas.

Bibliographic Details

Ed Denny
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 296
Bibliographic Info: 15 photos & illustrations, maps, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6609-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2571-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Maps x & xi
Preface 1
1. Whiskey Shots, Playing Slots, Coin Toss 5
2. Getting Shot At: Just Take It 10
3. White-Knuckle Formation Flying 16
4.  Mental Degeneration into Looney Land 21
5. New Guy Extra Duties 27
6. Helicopters on the Moon, Nixon’s Cambodia, First Day 33
7. More New Guy Extra Duties 41
8. The Guard Towers, Being Insane 50
9. Dead, First Day, First Minutes 56
10. Flight Hours Clerk 60
11. ACs Flew Left Seat: Hello, Americal Division 64
12. Shoot at a Hornet, You Die 72
13. New Platoon Leader Temporary 77
14. Kham Duc Briefing, Letters Home 80
15. AC Transition, Final Ride, Dennis Plumber 88
16. Sappers at Kham Duc 92
17. The Jeep and Larry Hood’s First Day as AC 94
18. Death, Don’t Come Knocking: Serna and Larraga 103
19. Leon Richards, the ­Snake-Eater, Was Gone Like Smoke 107
20. IP School 109
21. First Check Rides 114
22. Death Comes to the Hornets Again: Koch 119
23. R&R Was Coming Soon, Concussion Grenade 123
24. Flying Graves Registration 127
25. Attempted Murder: The Fragging 130
26. R&R Hawaii: Hot Sun Outside, Freezing Inside 134
27. Flares All Night 140
28. Cut Me, Cut Me, Go Ahead 145
29. Hood’s Check Ride, Screaming Woman 149
30. Aviation Safety Officer School—Captain Salmond 155
31. Medals for All the Wrong Reasons 162
32. Gunship Body Count: Like a Deer Tied to the Fender 166
33. NVA Marching Down the Open Road 171
34. Good Vibrations, South Vietnamese Pilot 176
35. Out at Hawk Hill, After Midnight 185
36. Stealing Food Over the Holidays 191
37. The Khe Sanh Series: Quang Tri Rockets 194
38. CO Office, CW2 Denny 203
39. The Khe Sanh Series: Largest Armada 205
40. Watching the ­Fly-By from the Deck 227
41. Nurse in White Satin 232
42. The Khe Sanh Series: ­Machete-Man 238
43. Jet Airliner: Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, to Fort Lewis, Washington, USA 260
44. Jet Airliner: Denver Airport, I’ll Be Home Tonight, Baby 265
45. My Wife, Our Apartment, Back in the World 269
Index 279

Book Reviews & Awards

“[Denny] did and saw things that far exceeded normal levels of fighting, suffering, and killing, and describes many gory scenes…. Ed Denny has a way with words, using fresh similes and metaphors, few clichés, and conveying a sense of awe and wonder. The book tightly held my attention from start to finish.”—VVA Veteran;

“Pulls no punches…a well-organized series of memoirs of both combat operations and base camp incidents both humorous and tragic…a significant contribution to the written history of America’s Vietnam experience…the specifics of combat flying are incredibly detailed.”—On Point: The Journal of Army History.