Vietnam, Michael Byrne, Steve discussed on SOFREP Radio



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. The other thing is and this won't surprise you. Because i think we're about the same age steve but Arginine and really even more so the generation. That's a phone generation right. They they like to communicate by phone. They're not really comfortable with video. And so i would just start off with after we did the initial interviews I had. I insisted on all these guys. Send me pictures. Because there's pictures in the book and the only way i could leverage to get those pictures to say. I'm not going to start your interview. Till i get your pictures and once i got. Somebody's pictures. I put them in slot for doing an interview. And that's hard for those guys because a a lot of those guys. These pictures were were slides that they put people forget that you know those slides that you put in the projector and that's how you did a lot. And a lot of them have had sort of thrown out there vietnam stuff for their parents had or whatever so eventually i get their picture. I'd set up some phone interviews. And then i would do at least three and sometimes four phone interviews with each guy. Each interview lasted between two and three hours. So he can do the math between six and twelve hours really of interviews for each guy really got to know him and then if i could i would talk to other pilots that they knew i talked to family members. I did research I you know. I went to vietnam. Visited places goddess much than formation. As i could and then When the chapter was done in draft form. I would send it to him and say what do you think. And it was interesting. Because a lot of these men had wing vets Wouldn't backed me for four to six weeks. Sometimes and they eventually they would call and they'd say something typic- conversation would say your call and i'm sorry i didn't get back to sooner. I want you to know that The good news is you. You really nail the chapter. I think he did an excellent job and telling my story and representing who i am The bad news is when i read it. It was like ripping scab off and is taken me while to get my head around these facts. Because quite frankly i've never seen it laid out like this. And then they proceed to tell me that you know. There are some things in here. That i haven't even told my wife and So you know. I'm struggling with. Should we tell the world. And then we'd have a discussion about well. You know first of all you need to tell your wife. If i have a read the chapter i want her looped into this process but secondly would you please think about the fact that we are telling a story in. This book ended wayne's about your generation of pilots. That's really the purpose of the book. And i would like people to understand what you guys went through and i know this is painful and you but people aren't going to understand unless these stories come out so let's consider that unusually we leave it in a way how to lead those painful things then. That's that's very interesting because you know You know reading through the book. Each each person had their own story. They're all very different. I i really like the other one about the the crew chiefs premonition. I thought that was a really good chapter I didn't know where they were going with that yet. Or where you're going with that and how was going to end up. I thought that was a really interesting story. But you know it's each guy. I thought was really pretty different. But they all had that love of aviation and that's what tied all the book together. Obviously be in helicopter pilots but as we set off line. It starts off right as the wars ramping up. And then through the heavy part of the fighting in the you know probably sixty seven to sixty nine and things start to you. Know a vietnamese ation took place in the us gradually pulling out. And then you know the the final chapter is about the only guys in combat. Were a handful. Maybe special forces guys in helicopter pilots. That was it and the feeling amongst those guys was really different. Wasn't it at that point. He and i think that's one of the things you get to see through. This book is a progression of the war. And how certainly aircrews Their their roles in the war changed their attitudes changed. You know the race relations start to ramp up towards the end. They get worse And the way they fought the battles change we went from a and for for our vets out there. These terms are gonna make sense but we went from a low intensity conflict where we're really doing kind of a guerrilla war to At the end and medium intensity conflict where we're fighting conventional forces and and they've got very sophisticated weapons and ride in nineteen seventy two You know we talk about. He's a our last veteran. His michael byrne who. I figured he might. You might have a soft spot for him. Just convince his earlier special forces tour. He no he did. He did a really into our and a half million special forces before they even let them let him get into flight. School are that that was kind of a nasty trick to tell him. He had to stay on to get into flight school but anyway he was willing to do it and for him. A like all the guys in seventy sue when they're flying around if they got shot down there. There's a there's a chase huey behind you command command and control hewitt behind you but if that aircraft can't get to your your toast you're either going to get killed or captured because they're just there's no there's no friendly's there's no americans That they're going to be able to send a rescue you at that point so as a very very different war in You know it's like for the helicopter pilots. You know the in the in the past. They always those large american units nearby. Where if they went down guys are gonna come rescue them. They didn't have that warm and fuzzy feeling with the south vietnamese military which you can probably draw a lot of comparisons to what's just transpired recently in afghanistan where a lot of the military didn't have a high i guess goodwill toward goodwill but confidence in our allies. When you you know you. I could probably do a whole show on on parallels between vietnam afghanistan and that's all unfortunate but But i did want to you Talk about one point that it may have struck you when you read it but it actually struck me when i wrote it. I i set out to write mended. Wings steve. For some reason. I had in my head that all these guys are going to be of the same. Their stories would be roughly the same and i was thinking it was going to be a task to be able to distinguish and make ten different interesting chapters. I don't know why. I had that thought. Because i couldn't have been more wrong. They they do have i. I will say they all have some sort of unifying characteristics. One is they all love fast. Cars made for some reason. You know they were all driving corvettes and mustangs in and that just seems their character Most of them not all of them but most of them really didn't care for academics. They none of them were really excelled from scholarship standpoint. It wasn't because they weren't smart smart guys. Just they had other. You know they were more interested in in cars and girls and stuff like that and they just didn't do that And outside of that they are all extremely different. I mean each their personalities their experiences. We've got all the different kinds of aircraft in here and mended wings You know we got guys flying. Loach's flying cobras. Fine. qe's Doing all kinds of different jobs in the cavs or lift pilots or or that kind of thing and their injuries are all completely different as as you noticed Some of these guys were were very badly..

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