Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Review of Chickenhawk by Robert Mason

Author:  Robert Mason.
Title:  Chickenhawk.
Publisher:  Penguin Books.
Copyright:  1983, (2005).
Pages:  492.
Price:  $17.00.

Overview and Impressions:
My uncle, a decorated Vietnam veteran, never talked about any of his combat mission while he was alive.  Author Robert Mason did.  I have a clearer idea of what the helicopter pilots went through in Vietnam after reading his book, Chickenhawk.

The books is a no bars held account of US Army pilots and their flying machines in the early part of the Vietnam War (1965-1966).  Mason wasn't wounded in combat.  The PTSD drove him to drink heavily.  My father's brother would never talk about his combat experiences.  I think he was with First Air Cavalry.  Mason gave me some insight into what my uncle went through flying combat missions in Vietnam.

Much of the time was spent transporting troops in Huey slicks into LZs or retrieving wounded out of contested LZs.  There was also mundane supply runs and transporting Army brass around when the news crews came out to film the troops.  He also commented about the unit differences between First Cav and the helicopter unit he transferred into.

Chickenhawk was an easy read.  I wish most of my military history books flowed as smoothly.  Recommended.

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