A Hundred Feet Over Hell: Flying With the Men of the 220th Recon Airplane Company Over I Corps and the DMZ, Vietnam 1968-1969

Overview

A Hundred Feet Over Hell is the story of a handful of young pilots taking extraordinary risks to support those on the ground. Flying over Vietnam in two-seater Cessnas, they often made the difference between a soldier returning alive to his family or having the lonely sound of “Taps” played over his grave. Based on extensive interviews, and often in the men’s own words, A Hundred Feet Over Hell puts the reader in the plane as this intrepid band of U.S. Army aviators calls in fire support for the soldiers and ...

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Hundred Feet over Hell: Flying with the Men of the 220th Recon Airplane Company over I Corps and the DMZ, Vietnam 1968-1969

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Overview

A Hundred Feet Over Hell is the story of a handful of young pilots taking extraordinary risks to support those on the ground. Flying over Vietnam in two-seater Cessnas, they often made the difference between a soldier returning alive to his family or having the lonely sound of “Taps” played over his grave. Based on extensive interviews, and often in the men’s own words, A Hundred Feet Over Hell puts the reader in the plane as this intrepid band of U.S. Army aviators calls in fire support for the soldiers and marines of I Corps.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The settings cover so many places I've been—Quang Tri, Dong Ha, Rockpile, Vandergrift (LZ Stud), Con Thien and others. Having been in a grunt unit and in 3rd Force Recon in I Corps, I felt truly a part of the pictures the author has painted. Although I am hopefully a very stable individual, he provided me with a 'verbal flashback' that made me breath harder and brought a tear to my eye. [Hooper does] a remarkable job of providing the sights and sounds of a unit in trouble.

—Tom Wilson, 3rd Force Recon

“This is a story about the warrior spirit that has existed in our fighting forces since the birth of our nation. Jim Hooper has nailed this small piece of the Viet Nam War as seen through the eyes of the Bird Dog pilots of the 220th Reconnaissance Airplane Company. It is a moving tribute to the intrepid men that flew these small aircraft with skill, courage, determination and a whole lot of brass.”

—Mike Seely BG (ret) 74th RAC '65-'66; 245th SAC '68-'69

“Every generation must face tough choices as life unfolds less idyllically than imagined in the protected environment of adolescence or the shelter of a college campus. Those of us who graduated in the late 1960s faced “fight or flight” decisions not unlike those of the World War II and Korean War eras as the conflict in Viet Nam escalated and the nation once again called her sons to war. Some responded with patriotic fervor, some volunteered reluctantly, some took their chances with the draft lottery. Others sought to avoid the obligation all together. Regardless of the how’s and why’s, those who fought in Viet Nam learned about life and death, but most of all about themselves. In the story you are about to read, there is a universal truth: warriors don’t fight for their country or flag, they fight for each other, often going far beyond what their country asks. It was an honor to serve at the same time as these men. This story is about the nation’s best!”

—Lance W. Lord, General, USAF (ret)

"I felt as though I was reliving it—my heart was pounding in my chest. [Hooper has] assembled a true work of art.”

—Tom Coopey, Recon Platoon, 1-61

A classic story of war … From hell-raising antics in the clubs and bars to hair-raising combat operations, where death was often only inches away, this is a must read. Those who have "seen the elephant" … will instantly identify with the actions of their fellow warriors. Flying an unarmored aircraft well within the effective range of every enemy weapon on the battlefield to protect the grunts in close combat takes a special breed of heroes. This book chronicles the exploits of such men.

—Gary L. Harrell, LTGEN, USA (ret)

“I flew A-4 Skyhawks out of Chu Lai, and then Bird Dogs with the VMO-6 Fingerprints at Quang Tri for the second half of my tour. You have done a magnificent job of presenting the deadly environment we all faced on a daily basis. I can't thank you enough for telling the story of the "Catkillers", because it is the story of not only about them, but everyone who flew in I Corps. Your book is outstanding."

—Jim Lawrence, LTCOL

"[A Hundred Feet Over Hell] shows us the sheer guts, ingenuity, compassion, and humor of those who serve in defense of freedom [It’s]a tribute to the Catkillers...and the thousands who follow in their footsteps, warriors all -- old and new!"

—Brigadier General Robert H. Holmes USAF

From the Publisher
“The settings cover so many places I've been—Quang Tri, Dong Ha, Rockpile, Vandergrift (LZ Stud), Con Thien and others. Having been in a grunt unit and in 3rd Force Recon in I Corps, I felt truly a part of the pictures the author has painted. Although I am hopefully a very stable individual, he provided me with a 'verbal flashback' that made me breath harder and brought a tear to my eye. [Hooper does] a remarkable job of providing the sights and sounds of a unit in trouble.

—Tom Wilson, 3rd Force Recon

"I felt as though I was reliving it—my heart was pounding in my chest. [Hooper has] assembled a true work of art.”

—Tom Coopey, Recon Platoon, 1-61

A classic story of war … From hell-raising antics in the clubs and bars to hair-raising combat operations, where death was often only inches away, this is a must read. Those who have "seen the elephant" … will instantly identify with the actions of their fellow warriors. Flying an unarmored aircraft well within the effective range of every enemy weapon on the battlefield to protect the grunts in close combat takes a special breed of heroes. This book chronicles the exploits of such men.

—Gary L. Harrell, LTGEN, USA (ret)

“I flew A-4 Skyhawks out of Chu Lai, and then Bird Dogs with the VMO-6 Fingerprints at Quang Tri for the second half of my tour. You have done a magnificent job of presenting the deadly environment we all faced on a daily basis. I can't thank you enough for telling the story of the "Catkillers", because it is the story of not only about them, but everyone who flew in I Corps. Your book is outstanding."

—Jim Lawrence, LTCOL

"[A Hundred Feet Over Hell] shows us the sheer guts, ingenuity, compassion, and humor of those who serve in defense of freedom [It’s]a tribute to the Catkillers...and the thousands who follow in their footsteps, warriors all — old and new!"

—Brigadier General Robert H. Holmes USAF

“Every generation must face tough choices as life unfolds less idyllically than imagined in the protected environment of adolescence or the shelter of a college campus. Those of us who graduated in the late 1960s faced “fight or flight” decisions not unlike those of the World War II and Korean War eras as the conflict in Viet Nam escalated and the nation once again called her sons to war. Some responded with patriotic fervor, some volunteered reluctantly, some took their chances with the draft lottery. Others sought to avoid the obligation all together. Regardless of the how’s and why’s, those who fought in Viet Nam learned about life and death, but most of all about themselves. In the story you are about to read, there is a universal truth: warriors don’t fight for their country or flag, they fight for each other, often going far beyond what their country asks. It was an honor to serve at the same time as these men. This story is about the nation’s best!”

—Lance W. Lord, General, USAF (ret)

“This is a story about the warrior spirit that has existed in our fighting forces since the birth of our nation. Jim Hooper has nailed this small piece of the Viet Nam War as seen through the eyes of the Bird Dog pilots of the 220th Reconnaissance Airplane Company. It is a moving tribute to the intrepid men that flew these small aircraft with skill, courage, determination and a whole lot of brass.”

—Mike Seely BG (ret) 74th RAC '65-'66; 245th SAC '68-'69

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760336335
  • Publisher: Zenith Press
  • Publication date: 5/10/2009
  • Edition description: First
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 437,010
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Jim Hooper is a war correspondent and author. Wounded twice while covering Africa as a freelance journalist and photographer, he has reported on wars in Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, and Uganda. He is equally familiar with the Balkans, filing dispatches from Bosnia (where he was captured by Muslim fundamentalists and escaped execution only by extraordinary good luck), Croatia, and Montenegro. His most recent book was Bloodsong! Firsthand Accounts of a Modern Private Army in Action: Angola 1993–1995. The younger brother of a wounded veteran of the 220th RAC, he lives in London.

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Read an Excerpt

"Contact! We're taking fire!" Behind the voice [on the radio] were sharp bursts from automatic weapons. . . .

[Pilot Doc Clement] counted at least twenty-five enemy soldiers in the open and muzzle flashes from more concealed in the undergrowth. . . . "DASC, this is Catkiller 1-8. We have troops in contact on the 292 out of channel 109 at fourteen nautical miles. I need that air [support] now!" . . .

"Mustang," [Bob] Happe called [from the back seat], "this is Southern Hotel. How's your cover? Over."

"Southern Hotel, we got good cover, but we can't hold on long!"
"Roger, Mustang, we'll have arty on the way ASAP!" Happe switched his radio back to the marine artillery battery at Con Thien. "Cherry Buster 6, this is Southern Hotel. Fire mission. Over." He was giving the battery commander the coordinates when DASC confirmed that the first flight would be wheels up out of Chu Lai in less than two minutes.

Doc shook his head. Chu Lai was 150 miles to the south, at least twenty minutes flying time for the jets. Something needed to be done now: anything to buy time. He lifted his M16 from where it was slung on the map light and chambered a round. A quick glance over his shoulder showed his backseater doing the same. "Ready to go, Hap?"

"Let's do it, Doc!"
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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Maps

Preface

Chapter 1          The Mission

Chapter 2          The Apprentice

Chapter 3          Catkiller on Crutches

Chapter 4          Black Ace to Catkiller

Chapter 5          The Lighter Side

Chapter 6          Yellow Brick Road

Chapter 7          My People Need Help

Chapter 8          Catkiller Down

Chapter 9          Bombing Halt

Chapter 10        Air to Air

Chapter 11        Thanksgiving and Christmas

Chapter 12        Gypsy Rose Lee

Chapter 13        Night Contact

Chapter 14        Taking the Edge Off

Chapter 15        Lean on Me

Chapter 16        Busy Month of June

Epilogue

Glossary

Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 2 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 9, 2010

    A Book for Today's Generation!

    "A Hundred Feet Over Hell" by Jim Hooper tells the story of the extreme bravery of your fathers and grandfathers who flew little Piper Cub airplanes into enemy fire to assist your fathers and grandfathers fighting on the ground during the Vietnam war.

    Jim Hooper has the knowledge and ability through his skillfully written words to take the reader back to 1968 and remind us of another Great Generation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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