Gunbird Driver: A Marine Huey Pilot's War in Vietnam

Overview


Gunbird Driver is a memoir of the Vietnam War as seen through the eyes of a young pilot flying an armed UH-1E's in Marine Observation Squadron 6. The book provides information about the missions, operations, and the living conditions at Ky Ha, and about the fellow Marines with whom he served. It also contains several chapters on shipboard operation from deployment aboard the USS Princeton. Parts of the book are deadly serious, even sad, as must be the case with any treatment of war; other parts are largely ...
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Overview


Gunbird Driver is a memoir of the Vietnam War as seen through the eyes of a young pilot flying an armed UH-1E's in Marine Observation Squadron 6. The book provides information about the missions, operations, and the living conditions at Ky Ha, and about the fellow Marines with whom he served. It also contains several chapters on shipboard operation from deployment aboard the USS Princeton. Parts of the book are deadly serious, even sad, as must be the case with any treatment of war; other parts are largely descriptive, and some circumstances and situations are even humorous.The time was 1966-67, relatively early in the war, the year before the Tet Offensive. The squadron's activities ranged widely in I Corps, the northern-most military subdivision of South Vietnam, the one assigned to the Marines. Although, the squadron and the air group to which it was attached (MAG -36) was assigned to the southern third of I Corps, it flew missions north along the DMZ, at Khe Sanh, west of Phu Bai and even into Laos, in addition to those in their local Tactical Area of Responsibility. Written to preserve a record of the impressions and experiences of one young 1st Lieutenant flying a Marine Huey in the war-torn skies of Vietnam, it is also reflective of all who crewed the UH-1E's - pilots, crew chiefs, and door gunners. It is a memoir that will resonate with all who crewed a "helo" in during the Vietnam war. No other book has been written on the Vietnam War from the perspective of a Marine Corps UH-1E pilot, flying armed escort missions for the Marines fighting the war on the ground.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591140191
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2008
  • Pages: 236
  • Sales rank: 1,262,700
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


David A. Ballentine attended graduate school after Vietnam and earned a PhD in European history. After returning to active duty, he retired as a colonel from the Marine Corps in 1989 and worked for Northrop Grumman in Ft. Leavenworth. He now teaches at a local college in Overland Park, Kansas.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A vivid ride-along with a gunship pilot

    This is an excellent telling of what was really like for a gunbird pilot on any given operational day. A lot of the book is on the technical aspect of rotary wing flight but written in such a way that the average reader can read and comprehend what is being described. The reader comes away understanding the basic racetrack pattern flown by the gunship and his cover (wingman), how the nose is tucked and how supporting fire is given and managed. For a skilled pilot, it brings back old memories and when I first read the description of the E Model, was certain that it was the same as the Army's Charlie Model. Our Charlies had the L-13 engine which gave them considerably more power than the D Model. One story in the book is about a pickup of MIAs where a straight up take off is required and it seems the "E" Model did not have the same power as our "C" Model l-13. I'mm assuming the E still had the L-11 for its power. In any case, this is one man's perspective on operational requirements at a time when the war was expanding and the NVA became a major force to be reckoned with at any insertion or extraction. This book is well written, easy to read, understand, and follow, and an excellent book to have in your library. Don't miss this book.

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