22 November 2010

87. Chariots of the Damned: Helicopter Special Operations from Vietnam to Kosovo

Chariots of the Damned: Helicopter Special Operations from Vietnam to Kosovo - Maj. Mike McKinney and Mike Ryan

It is my duty, as a member of the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service, to save lives and to aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform my assigned duties quickly and efficiently, placing these duties before personal desires and comforts. These things I do-that others may live. ARRS Code (Originally written as the ParaRescueman's Code and adapted for all of Rescue.)
Any Time - Any Place (Special Operations motto)
This book was awesome. I will admit that I am surely biased in that opinion. I spent 21 years in the US Air Force in Helicopter Special Operations and Rescue Squadrons. I was there for many of the events discussed in this book. I know some of the pilots and other crew members spoken of in these pages. I could see thier faces, hear there voices, recall their mannerisms. All that has definately put a bias in my opinion of this book.
Was the writing amazing? Definately not. Was the story a nail-biter that wouldn't let the reader off the hook? Definately not. But, it is the truth, even when the truth hurts to tell. Special Operations by their very nature are high risk ventures and they are not always a complete success. This book not only covered the heroic exploits of these men, but aslo covered some of the massive catastrophies.
This book covered many events. Some of them were the SS Mayaguez incident in 1975, The raid on the Son Tay POW camp in North Vietnam, the disater at Desert One during the Iranian hostage crisis, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Desert Storm, Bosnia, etc.
The book wrote about many units I know of and some I was a member of. The pilots on some of these missions were men I know personally. I was surprised to learn that Col. Comer was a pilot on the raid on Son Tay in Vietnam. I did not know that when I was serving under the man. I wish I had.
I loved this book. I recommend it to anyone who was part of these missions or a member of the units. It brought backa a lot of memories.

Hurlburt Field and all the Air Force Special Operations Squadrons. Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) units. Fort Campbell, Kentucky and the Army Special Operations guys. Fort Bragg and Delta Force. Navy SEAL teams. The endless exercises and practising for missions at so many places. The people I served with.
I miss so much of those days sometimes. Those days when there was a real reason to want to go to work and job satisfaction was HUGE when a mission was completed. HUGE! This book brought back a lot of those memories.

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