To the Limit: An Air Cav Huey Pilot in Vietnam

To the Limit: An Air Cav Huey Pilot in Vietnam

4.5 13
by Tom A. Johnson
     
 

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Helicopter pilots in Vietnam kidded one another about being nothing but glorified bus drivers. But these "rotor heads" saved thousands of American lives while performing what the Army classified as the most dangerous job it had to offer. One in eighteen did not return home.

Tom A. Johnson flew the UH-1 "Iroquois" - better known as the "Huey" - in the 229th

Overview

Helicopter pilots in Vietnam kidded one another about being nothing but glorified bus drivers. But these "rotor heads" saved thousands of American lives while performing what the Army classified as the most dangerous job it had to offer. One in eighteen did not return home.

Tom A. Johnson flew the UH-1 "Iroquois" - better known as the "Huey" - in the 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion of the First Air Cavalry Division. From June 1967 through June 1968, he accumulated an astonishing 1,600 flying hours (1,150 combat and 450 noncombat). His battalion was one of the most highly decorated units in the Vietnam War and, as part of the famous First Air Cavalry Division, helped redefine modern warfare. With tremendous flying skill, Johnson survived rescue missions and key battles that included those for Hue and Khe Sanh and operations in the A Shau and Song Re valleys, while many of his comrades did not. His heartfelt and riveting memoir will strike a chord with any soldier who ever flew in the ubiquitous Huey and any reader with an interest in how the Vietnam War was really fought.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Johnson's description of flying the venerable Huey 'to the limit' and sometimes beyond is indeed riveting."

". . . .an absorbing book. Whether or not you served in the military or ever flew in a helicopter, it will grab you and hold your attention."

"A riveting, well-written book that puts the reader right there in the cockpit. . . . To the Limit is worthy of its own screen rendition. What makes [it] such a credible work is that it is not just blood and guts. Johnson writes with passion and earnestness regarding these character-building episodes that helped define him. . . . The only whining you will hear is the powerful engine of the Huey that Tom Johnson describes so vividly that you can almost feel the ground shake."

“ ‘I am touching my first dead person and unfortunately I know him. . . .’ When you strap into a Huey with Tom Johnson, you’re in for the real thing. To the Limitis a first-person journey into the grit, grimness, and chaos of war, told by a helicopter hero in a way that nails the feel, the mood, and the talk of Air Cavalrymen in battle. No one has previously captured the Vietnam helicopter experience with such gripping authenticity.”

“This is the real thing: helicopter combat at its birth. No wonder Army helo drivers were among the most decorated aviators of the Vietnam War. Tom Johnson truly shows us what the rank-and-file Huey crews experienced.”

“Always leery of superlatives in book reviews, I feel compelled to use them in describing Tom Johnson’s To the Limit. It is an intense, compelling, gut-wrenching narrative—by far the best account of helicopter warfare I have read.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781597974462
Publisher:
Potomac Books Inc.
Publication date:
06/30/2006
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
172,201
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Tom A. Johnson is a businessman living near Atlanta. For his Vietnam War service, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal (with five Silver Leaf Clusters), and the Bronze Star.

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To the Limit: An Air Cav Huey Pilot in Vietnam 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
TenaciousJay More than 1 year ago
I read "Chickenhawk" before I read this but wished I had found "To The Limit" first. What did I like most about "To The Limit"? Tom Johnson's outstanding moral character, relatively clean language (especially compared to other Vietnam books), and most of all, INCREDIBLE stories. Tom Johnson seems like a solid guy with some solid morals. He promised himself that he would remain faithful to his wife before going on tour and held true to that promise and did not have any relations with any other women while on tour. That cannot be said of many of the other men that served during that time including Robert Mason who actually includes quite a detailed account (I only read the beginning of it before I realised just how descriptive he was going to get before skipping) of him being unfaithful to his wife while on his tour. I also appreciated the relatively clean language of the book. It's not 100%, but compared to most other Vietnam books where dropping f-bombs every other paragraph is the norm, this book is much cleaner. Again, I think many strong Christians have grown up learning to keep their language fairly clean and appreciated Tom Johnson's effort to keep this book a bit cleaner than many of the other Vietnam books. But most of all, the stories were just amazing. Towards the end of the book I'd read some of the stories and kept thinking "well, he's only got a few weeks left on his tour. There's just no way it can get crazier than that." Wrong. It got crazier. There are some flashbacks that slow things down a bit, but I found they provided some interesting insight into Tom's background and thinking. He does get a bit technical and talk about the actual controls of the helicopter (which I found fascinating as I have contemplated taking helicopter flight lessons) but I don't think it would cause any confusion even for those who have no knowledge of helicopters. To The Limit was written in a way that made it easy to read and hard to put down. I greatly appreciate the service of all of the men who have honorably served in the military but being Christian I wish the culture in the military had stronger morals. To The Limit is the strongest example I have seen of good moral character in the military with simply incredible stories and will most likely remain my favorite book for a long, long time.
matcatfan1 More than 1 year ago
This book is.....amazing!! I love reading military books and i have always been interested in history books about war. And this book is my favorite book about any war. Tom Johnson is one of those men who went into a war that mostly the nation turned their back to. But Johnson knew that and did his job to get back. He describe detail about his time in Nam. From him telling what the radio chatter was to the combat, him flying troops in HOT LZs and saving their lives when they needed it the most. Johnson is a hero to my eyes and he should be in yours.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading this,written completely from the helicopter pilot's perspective, this is an incredible memoir of UH-1 flying in Viet Nam. I couldn't put it down. This is REAL and intense flying,'To the Limit' is a must for any helicopter pilot! Although any one who wants to know what is was like to fly a 'huey' in the Viet Nam war will thoroughly enjoy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book about the actions of a Huey pilot in Viet Nam. It is amazing that one person could live through all of this. I did not want to stop reading it at night. It is great to hear the story of an everyday person in an extraordinary environment. I have read many other books about flying during war and this ranks as one of the best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I respect any veteran. Every soldier in combat fought with bravery and honor. In Vietnam the chopper pilots were very brave for rescuing wounded soldiers and being there when needed. Many died or wounded helping others. That is true sacrafice.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Being a Vietnam helicopter myself I've read most of the books written about the things we did fourty plus years ago. Before I read To the Limit I always recommended Chickenhawk as the best, most accurate book about helicopters. To the Limit is hands down the best, most accurate Vietnam helicopter pilot's book I've read. Rattler 16 71st AHC 1969-71
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are many Vietnam era books out there, some are well written, others not so much so. This book, however, puts you in the helicopter with Mr. Johnson, and he omits no details of his personal experiences as a pilot in the war. The action is both real and compelling. The book doesn't strive to make political statements, but its honesty and transparency allow the reader to objectively experience the feelings and emotions of the war as seen through the eyes of those who fought it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an Air Cav grunt Platoon Leader, these men kept us alive and saved our butts more than once. This book gives everyone an inside look at these brave and sometimes "crazy" men who brought new meaning to "Duty, Honor, Country".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Recommended! Technically sound, but too limited in scope of what was happening in country that impacted on unit. Needed better closure about Tom
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the sample, but when i got the book i got stuck on page 15.i think i would've liked it but theres technical problems