Sunday, 30 August 2009

Chickenhawk





By Robert Mason
Just finished reading it. What an incredible book. You probably already know, but if you don't, it's about a young guy in love with flying. He joins the US Army, 1st Cavalry, so he can be paid to learn to fly helicopters. Then the Vietnam War breaks out and he's ordered to leave his wife and newborn and is shipped out on the first wave to Vietnam. Once in Vietnam he's one of many ordered to fight a war they don't understand or even agree with. The stories of landing and taking off under fire are pretty awe-inspiring, yet it is far from a one-sided, or even pro-American, story.
These are some of Mason's photos. The table and benches are made out of Huey rotor blades.
The story reminded me of former 1st Cav helicopter pilot and dirt track racer, Craig Randall. Read about him in Sideburn 3. Craig, are you coming to Peterborough to see the racing and give us some tips on Sept 19? GI

6 comments:

Ringadingdoo said...

Read Chickenhawk many years ago, great book, makes me wonder what stories will come out of Afghanistan.

Jim Franco said...

I went to flight school...was IN Craig's flight class..maybe only 8 or 10 of us so he'd remember me well! Craig upon graduation was shipped to the Cav in Texas, I went to the 101st airborne...both of us to fly Heuy's for Uncle Sam! ...ask Craig if he remembers Jim Franco, the Yankee from Massachusetts. We graduated May 1971 or was it '72...Damn I'm getting old...can't remember shit anymore! But he was known as a rider even to us in flight school, along with a man named Bradshaw. h
How can I contact Craig...shit, I'd like to catch up with him after all these years...37, 38 years ago!!!

Jim Franco

Gary Inman and Ben Part said...

Hi Jim
That is a pretty amazing coincidence, that you tracked him down here. Send your email address to dirt@ sideburnmagazine.com (I've put a gap in there, but you remove it. It's to try and avoid spammers). Put Craig Randall in the subject. I will forward it to Craig.
G

Diplomate said...

Chickenhawk - brilliant, calm, no nonsense tails of extreme heroism mixed with a dose of politics. Excellent tips on mowing down sapplings with your rotor if space is a bit tight for take off. Also: what a brilliant hook up between Jim & Craig - Sideburn gathers momentum ..........

Chris said...

Chickenhawk is a great read, one of those books I've read and re-read and given copies away to share it with friends.

I love the descriptions of the times they are forced to fly outside the machine's envelope and have to come up with some pretty hairy 'workarounds' to make it.

Jim Franco said...

Hey Gary & Ben...thanks for hooking me up with Craig Randall after my email to you all! I had a great contact with Craig last week and he reminded me of some flight school stuff I had long forgotten! He looks the same, would have picked him out in a crowd and like always, one hell of a dude!! it was fantastic to reconnect with him and I thank you guys for that. Time has surely flown by...no pun intended! Ride hard...

Jim Franco
former Warrant Officer Helicopter pilot with the101st Airborne Division, 101st Aviation Bn, Co. C "Black Widows" Above the best