Vietnam, Army Commission, Rucker discussed on SOFREP Radio
Hello everyone welcome back to software radio radiooffer radio on time on target. I am your host this afternoon. Steve bell story. We have a very special guest with us. Colin he's an author of former army helicopter pilot. He's the author of three books. And we're gonna be talking about his latest book which is it's titled mended wings. The vietnam war experience through the eyes of ten american purple heart helicopter pilots at folks. I'm gonna you know just preface right off the bat. This is one of those page. Turns that you can't put down. And i was speaking. Offline would calm before we started. And i told him i was very disappointed in the book that there wasn't a chapter eleven so with that said weren't welcome to the podcast contacts for taking the time with us this afternoon. We really appreciate it. Thank you steve. It's my honor to be here. I appreciate you having me. It's it's our on trust me so before we get started in a book. Tell us little our listeners. A little bit about yourself your background. And then we'll get into the book itself. Sure so. I was commissioned in the army at regular army commission and nineteen eighty-three after i graduated from college at new mexico state university in las cruces new mexico and From there they didn't have an aviation branch at the time. So i had to get a carrier branch i went to air defense artillery officer basic or some fort bliss. Then i went to flight school at What we to his mother rucker bureau a pilot fort rucker alabama and graduated in eighty four. And then i was assigned to the seventh infantry division for california i flew in the three zero seven th attack helicopter battalion where i was an arrow scout platoon leader. So i i flew a primarily. Oh fifty eight as a scout and then Towards the end of that assignment. I was assigned to a vip unit where white top hueys flying You know generals and congressman around. And then i got out. I did a a year in the guard while i was in law school but eventually graduated from law school and and went on to have a career as a patent weird before i retired in in started writing books. So that's where i am. I'm now. I'm now fulltime off. Yeah have you. You said mother rucker. I went to the warrant officer candidate course on there because that's where guys who go into the warrant branch for special forces. They sent us all down there and they put it all aviation students so You know you have a bunch of Young kids are not high school highschool to fight school guys and then they will have a special forces guys in and one or two other. Emma melissa's One guy was like a nuclear weapons tech in. Everyone was leery of him because it will undefeated brought any with him but that was. It wasn't a fun down there at fort rocker. So you know the best. The less we save about the best it is but on the bad part in at the front one of the guys i served with in special forces. He was through the nation skill While we were there he had left a couple of months ahead so he was already flying. When i got there and i got to talk to him every afternoon in alabama in. He was very excited. And i was pretty miserable during that time. So but again. It's you you know we now. That was the decision we chose so we had to live with it but yeah hats off to a helicopter pilots. That's all. I'll say but getting to the book How did you come about. You know the idea that you're gonna write this. Yeah so when. I was in flight school back in one thousand nine hundred and four. The civilian flight instructors who did most of the the primary in the basic part of the course Where all Vietnam this and so. I got to know these guys. They were you know i. I used turn their the coolest cats i'd ever met. I mean they were just absolutely unflappable very professional and we used to walk up to the flight line. And sometimes you'd see an old helicopter sitting out there and we were applying all the old Huey warbirds from vietnam and you could. You could tell that they had been damaged because they would put these little square patches over the bullet holes and refusal on his were just sprinkle with these. These little patches needs some some mornings. You'd walk out. You never knew what aircraft he'd get and some instructor would look at it and say. Oh you know six. Four seven yeah. That's that's aircraft. I flew when i was stationed outside of denying or you know whatever he was going to say and i just i at that point i started thinking. Somebody needs to write a story about these guys. They've got amazing stories to tell. I then went on to ford and all the senior warrants were all vietnam vets. All the field officers were vets. These are the guy. These are my heroes. He's the guys i'll up to up to. I'm sure steve. You had a similar experience when you first got in. You had a certain generation that we're your heroes and You know they taught me how to be the best army helicopter pilot. I could be. They taught me how to be the best officer. Army officer i could be and i just respected him and i've always wanted to do a book about them and i came up with the angle about purple hearts because a friend of mine was vietnam. Betty had a purple heart. And i thought well that's interesting angle and i really kinda had to step out genre. Do this steve. Because my other two books are completely different. They are fiction now the historical fiction but they're still fiction but i just i thought if you're going to write this book that you wanted to do ever since flight scoring. You need to just do it. Because i wanted to honor the vietnam vet helicopter pilots and i wanted to do it while they're still with us Because we're gonna start losing that that generation and i felt like now is the time to do it. It's interesting because you took the military of few years before you nineteen eighty and like you the vietnam vets. The guy who you know. I was going through special forces training. So those guys you know. We all read books about the stuff they did. We looked at them like they were on this pedestal and at that time all the senior. Nco zone officers were all vietnam vets. In you know that somebody that. I totally agreements. We all looked up to mean those guys had a ton of experience. And it's funny. You mentioned the you know the law birds at fort rucker because my friend who is in flight school is telling me the same thing he added civilian instructor said a i this baby. Back in nami. Look it's a tale because the tail had a bunch of those little square patches on on any goes young almost got shot down a few talk It's just it's an amazing story then to read the history of these guys like i said at the outset a when you open this book you immediately get hooked on it any start turning the pages and you know you kept saying man. I hope there's another chapter at the end of this one. And then i hope this chapter after that the stories on these guys were credible So you know how did you come about. I guess narrative damages ten of these guys yet. So that's a great question because you're going to write a book about Vietnam helicopter pilots. How do how you go about doing that. And there is an organization called the beat. Nam helicopter pilots association. Vhp in fact. I was out at their conference a few weeks ago. Great bunch of guys and they have a quarterly or it's actually every two month magazine that comes out it's called the aviator and so i didn't know what else to do. Just put an ad in there and just say hey did. Did you get a purple heart or flying combat vietnam that was going to be the criteria. And if so would you be interested in letting me tell your.