Vietnam, Steve, Helm discussed on SOFREP Radio



A bow I dunno twenty guys. That i i would say go to my website. They'd go to the website. There was a video of me telling him about at the time. I call it the purple heart project because i didn't have a name for the book yet and i'd say fill out this application and about twenty guys filled it out and then i had some follow up interviews and you know some guys begged off when sakonnet heard what we were doing. Some guys aren't good fit. And eventually i got it down. I figured i needed. You're always thinking about of the in product and so you know i knew i knew books really legitimate. Need to come in at about sixty to ninety thousand words somewhere in that range. And so i thought well i think i can tell each guys story in about six to eight thousand words. I think i haven't tried it yet. But so that means. I need ten guys and so ended up with the ten guys that are in the book. And this just Surreptitious really steve. I'd like to say. I plan this. But i i've got an agent who represents this book and when he was going through an earlier draft. He said You know calling this has gotta be in chronological order and you can use this as a tool to tell the story of the vietnam war and so the i started rearranging the chapters. I put them in chronological order. And oh my gosh. I said it was surreptitious The first guy. They're arranged the order that they were injured. That's the way mended wings is set up and merced sky was injured as you saw in. Nineteen sixty six as the war is just starting to ramp up and the last guy is injured at the end of nineteen seventy two. When there just aren't many americans left except for aircrews. That's that's about it and so we've got the whole war cupboard and that's when we came up with the concept of. Let's put a little historical bridge between each chapter for people that aren't that familiar with the vietnam war. They can kind of get a sense for it and it just it just all kind of fell into place and then of course. We're not to give away the the surprise in the last chapter right steve. We're not gonna talk but there is there is there is a surprise in the last chapter and chapter again that was just serendipitous as wealth. The way all that sorta lined up with my visit to vietnam and one of the battlefields in getting no the families. So the whole book just sorta just came together from from my perspective. Just as as well as i could hope you know it's funny because I didn't realize until after. I had read it that it was chronological. Because you kind of take in each chapter of as its own separate story in. It wasn't until after i had finished the book. I realized that. I didn't know if you had You know envision that i guess that to put in a one step at a time but it started off in the book huxley right away. Pronoun is your first story and his story really interesting and I don't know. I don't want to give too much away. 'cause we want our listeners to buy the book but can you talk a little bit about meeting these guys and talking to them about their story especially him to start off with. Yeah and in fact. Let's let's do this Steve off a little taste of Just so that folks can get an idea of what mended wings out structured. But we start each chapter with them. And i love the way you put it. When we're off line heading towards their penultimate You know their penultimate doom. I guess and they're there. And the aircraft headed towards getting injured. And that's so our pred. Helm is in his huey a simone gunship and their escorting a bunch of lift ships and they're headed towards an insertion because there's a special forces unit that's about to get overrun and so they're sending in the grunts to save the day and As he they fly into what what. I would describe. Really as an anti aircraft ambush and their huey model Seapower huey is flies through. The kill zone comes out the other end. It is smoking badly. It's really badly shot up. And i think you and i both agree. These guys had every right to just head for the head for home at that point. But as i'm sure you've seen over and over again and the us military. They felt like they had a job to do. And that was protect on the ground and so they turn back around and they headed back towards the kill zone and as they're headed that direction the aircraft in front of them blows up in a ball of fire. And so that's where we stop and then we go back and we talk about his childhood and growing up colorado. I'm again. I'm not gonna get into a lot of details as very interesting childhood tips or typical that generation. We take him all the way through flight school. Some fun stuff. He did in korea all the way back through vietnam and then we keep working forward. After he's been and that the story of him what happens after he shot down. It truly is a phenomenal and an very surreal rescue and then how. He overcomes his injuries. He's an amazing guy. Let an amazing life. And that's where. I wanna leave each reader at the end of each chapter. Is you get to take all the way up to He's he's retired today in montana. You know you just go all the way through his whole life story but but to your original question. What was it like working with these guys. This i think a couple of points one is. I think because. I was a helicopter pilot. It gave me the ability to to talk their language. Just like i'm sure when you interview special forces guys Even if you're not in their generation. I think they they feel like they can tell they can speak a certain way to you and you'll get it And so that was sort of starting point..

Coming up next