Taking Fire: True Story of a Decorated Chopper Pilot

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Nicknamed "Mini-Man" for his diminutive statute, a mere five-foot-three and 125 lbs in his flight boots, chopper pilot Ron Alexander proved to be a giant in the eyes of the men he rescued from the jungles and paddies of Vietnam. With an unswerving concern for every American soldier trapped by enemy fire, and a fearlessness that became legendary, Ron Alexander earned enough official praise to become the second most decorated helicopter pilot of the Vietnam era. Yet, for Ron, the real reward came from plucking his ...
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Overview

Nicknamed "Mini-Man" for his diminutive statute, a mere five-foot-three and 125 lbs in his flight boots, chopper pilot Ron Alexander proved to be a giant in the eyes of the men he rescued from the jungles and paddies of Vietnam. With an unswerving concern for every American soldier trapped by enemy fire, and a fearlessness that became legendary, Ron Alexander earned enough official praise to become the second most decorated helicopter pilot of the Vietnam era. Yet, for Ron, the real reward came from plucking his fellow soldiers from harm's way, giving them another chance to get home alive.

In Taking Fire, Alexander and acclaimed military writer Charles Sasser, transport you right into the cramped cockpit of a Huey on patrol, offering a bird's eye view on the Vietnam conflict. Packed with riveting action and gritty "you-are-there" dialogue, this outstanding book celebrates the everyday heroism of the chopper pilots of Vietnam.

Author Biography: Ron Alexander was the second most decorated helicopter pilot of the Vietnam era, having earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star with "V" for valor and oak leaf cluster, an Army Commendation Medal with "V" and two oak leaf clusters, and twenty-six additional Air Medals, each with a "V." He lives in Hagerstown, MD.

Charles Sasser is a decorated Vietnam veteran and Green Beret, and is one of today's most respected military and true crime writers. He has authored more than a dozen books, including One Shot, One Kill.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Legendary 1st Air Cavalry Division pilot Alexander was the most highly decorated American helicopter pilot of the thousands who served in the Vietnam War. He was also one of the luckiest soldiers ever to serve in a war zone his aircraft survived hundreds of missions without once suffering damage from enemy fire. His book, co-written with combat veteran and author Sasser (One Shot One Kill), tells of an unlikely hero; Alexander, nicknamed "Mini Man" by his comrades, barely qualified for aviation training, being under the minimum height requirement of 5'4". He also spent much of his time before Vietnam working the system to avoid being assigned to the war. Despite his most creative efforts, the young pilot found himself attached to the army's most combat-intensive formation the new and experimental 1st Air Cavalry. The reader shares Alexander's own amazement as the lackadaisical recruit is transformed into a highly skilled and thoroughly professional combat officer. The writing style and vocabulary are not scholarly, but this is an honest and exciting narrative of the stress of war. Suitable for public libraries and academic libraries with comprehensive Vietnam collections. John R. Vallely, Siena Coll. Lib., Loudonville, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The gripping combat memoir of a highly decorated American helicopter pilot's Vietnam service. Accounts of the Vietnam War often relegate the stories of US soldiers to the periphery and concentrate instead on political discourse. This may be understandable in light of the ambivalence with which most Americans viewed the conflict, but it has resulted in a somewhat sterile and Olympian history of the events. Alexander, a helicopter pilot repeatedly decorated for valor in Vietnam, desanitizes discussion about the war by sharing his candid memories of the jungle-carpeted battlefield. He begins with his Army enlistment (right out of high school) in 1963 and describes the climb through the ranks that culminated in his commissioning as an officer. Once he was promoted to lieutenant, Alexander pulled strings to get selected for flight school, hoping to bide his time until the war in Vietnam burned itself out. Just as American commitment to the region peaked, however, he completed his training and left his wife and two young daughters for the jungles of Southeast Asia. In this hostile environment he led a charmed life, repeatedly executing the most difficult aerial maneuvers under intense enemy fire yet never having a single bullet strike his aircraft. This combination of bravery, skill, and luck earned him respect from his airborne colleagues and from the infantry soldiers he supported. Freelance writer Sasser, himself a Vietnam combat veteran, does a credible job of helping Alexander find his narrative voice and adds a touch of journalistic authenticity to this honest and exciting memoir. A rousing tale, full of sharp details and told in the harsh language of soldiers baptized in fire. (8pp.photos)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312269845
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1901
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.19 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2003

    READ IT IN A SINGLE DAY

    this is the most honest man and he shows that the vietnam loss wasn't the soldiers fault.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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