Firebirds

( 7 )

Overview

Chuck Carlock volunteered to become a helicopter pilot in August 1966, convinced that by the time he finished training, the Vietnam War would be over. Little did he know that he would see some of the war's most intense action, including the Tet offensives. Carlock portrays countless dangers, from an elusive enemy and treacherous terrain to blinding weather, faulty equipment, and friendly fire. He rides the pendulum between fear and fearlessness during his many brushes with death. Along with the danger and ...

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Overview

Chuck Carlock volunteered to become a helicopter pilot in August 1966, convinced that by the time he finished training, the Vietnam War would be over. Little did he know that he would see some of the war's most intense action, including the Tet offensives. Carlock portrays countless dangers, from an elusive enemy and treacherous terrain to blinding weather, faulty equipment, and friendly fire. He rides the pendulum between fear and fearlessness during his many brushes with death. Along with the danger and tension, Carlock tells us about the camaraderie and humor shared by men who lived on the edge. Carlock's stories will sometimes shock you, sometimes bring a smile to your face, and sometimes make you angry. Learn about "secret" missions into a neutral country. Discover how the Walker spy ring cost American lives. Most of all, find out what it was like for a twenty-one-year-old farm boy to find himself suddenly immersed in vicious daily combat, making decisions that determined the fate of hundreds of lives.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
'One rocket had hit dead center between the shoulder blades of a VC, and as it exploded, his commie soul was left in a geyser of mud, blood, and human debris.' With remarks like these, Carlock brings to gruesome life his stint in Vietnam, 1967-1968, flying gunships and 'slicks,' or troop-carrying choppers, for the Army. A 19-year-old volunteer who expected adventure with a spice of danger, Carlock instead found horror and learned fear. He flew fragile machines without parachutes, with no limit on the number of missions, in a war whose purpose was opaque. He is brutally frank about his feelings and actions. To Carlock, Vietnamese on the ground were targets, and he describes his kills in the tone of a big-game hunter. But if his enemies were faceless, they were human as well: eager to shoot him down, to burn him alive in the wreckage of his ship or to execute him should he try to surrender. This grim narrative is a compelling reminder that the essence of war is killing from fear of being killed, and that killing is never a remote process, even when done from the air.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"One rocket had hit dead center between the shoulder blades of a VC, and as it exploded, his commie soul was left in a geyser of mud, blood, and human debris." With remarks like these, Carlock brings to gruesome life his stint in Vietnam, 1967-1968, flying gunships and "slicks," or troop-carrying choppers, for the Army. A 19-year-old volunteer who expected adventure with a spice of danger, Carlock instead found horror and learned fear. He flew fragile machines without parachutes, with no limit on the number of missions, in a war whose purpose was opaque. He is brutally frank about his feelings and actions. To Carlock, Vietnamese on the ground were targets, and he describes his kills in the tone of a big-game hunter. But if his enemies were faceless, they were human as well: eager to shoot him down, to burn him alive in the wreckage of his ship or to execute him should he try to surrender. This grim narrative is a compelling reminder that the essence of war is killing from fear of being killed, and that killing is never a remote process, even when done from the air. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553577051
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 952,754
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.84 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2011

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  • Posted November 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A good book, but I would not call it one of my favorites.

    Chuck Carlock does his friends and future historians a great service with "Firebirds." Being both an author as well as a veteran of the Vietnam War who flew in the back seat a Huey Gunship during my tour, I read ¿FIREBIRDS¿ with a different outlook than most other readers. I am also the author of "EMPTY TUBES AND BACK SEAT MEMORIES." Although, ¿FIREBIRDS¿ is a good book, I would not call it one of my favorites. However, with that said, it pulled me into the action both in the air and behind the scenes. The use of real names and photos gave me confidence in the basic accuracy of the stories, something often missing in other books. In my opinion, this book could be improved if it concentrated more on first person accounts. In addition, some of the stories tended to jump around and lacked content, thus affecting the continuity and comprehension as a whole.

    Nevertheless, Chuck Carlock not only uses his memories, but also gives access to memories of those buddies he served with. I feel this give the story that little extra that this type of book needs. On many missions, I had the vicarious experience that I was right there in the aircraft on the mission. I did not fly in the "Slick." This was a nickname given to the "D & H model" Huey that strictly ferried the troops minus carrying any external mounted weapons. However, my unit flew cover for the "Slick" on many missions. Captured by Carlock are the human emotions, machines, strategy, tactics, operations, as well as the excitement, dangers and the combat scenes, which are all excellent.

    Finally, the book was made interesting by the author's return to Vietnam in 1993. He toured several of the battle sites he fought on and interacted with the Vietnamese tour guides. The author saluted many of his fellow pilots and crew members at the end of the book and showed that many Vietnam vets are now successful men of stature and success in their communities. What he failed to mention is that many still suffer from the effects of their combat experiences, exhibiting health issues caused by the stress of dealing with their experiences and exposure to Agent Orange.

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  • Posted December 26, 2010

    Amazing!!

    This book really too me by surprise. i really liked it alot. Chuck Carlock is a true hero in my book. This book had alot of detail and really grabbed my attention. The detail of the combat and his time in Vietnam.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2002

    Simply Amazing

    Very interesting and gripping. You simply can't put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2000

    Exceptional Details of an Army Aviator in Combat

    Could not put it down. As an Army Aviator myself (two 'Nam Tours '67-'68, '71-'72) I know where he's coming from and he's on the money. A superbly written, realistic story of what Viet Nam was really like. Must read this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2000

    One of the best helicopter combat books published.

    This is one of the better memoirs about helicopter combat during the Viet Nam War. Mr. Carlock takes the reader through basic training and his tour of duty 'in country'. An active member of an association of helicopter pilots, he lets others tell their stories as well. And what a telling it is. This is one of those books that puts you right in the pilot's seat, peering over the slabs of body armour you've wedged against the door, flying fast and low over rice paddies as children throw mud up on your plexiglass nose. It took me 3 days to finish - and its a pretty thick book! Once I got started, I got hooked. And even better - a portion of the proceeds goes to help the pilot's association. A good read, and a good cause.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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