Academic journal article Military Review

Black Cat 2-1: The True Story of a Vietnam Helicopter Pilot and His Crew

Academic journal article Military Review

Black Cat 2-1: The True Story of a Vietnam Helicopter Pilot and His Crew

Article excerpt

BLACK CAT 2-1

The True Story of a Vietnam Helicopter Pilot and His Crew

Bob Ford, Brown Books Publishing Group, Dallas, Texas, 2015, 276 pages

The UH-1 Huey helicopter is an icon of the Vietnam War. Black Cat2-1 is Bob Ford's autobiography describing his year as a UH-1 pilot in Vietnam during America's war there. ThenLt. Ford served in the Republic of Vietnam from July 1967 through July 1968, flying out of Da Nang and Hue during his tour of duty.

The book briefly describes Ford's childhood and college years in Oklahoma. It also tells of his time at Fort Wolters, Texas, and Fort Rucker, Alabama, earning his silver Army Aviator wings. This short part of the book provides some background into Bob's upbringing and provides insight into his values and leadership style.

As promised by the title, most of the book focuses on Ford's time in Vietnam. He was assigned to the 282nd Assault Helicopter Company, stationed at Da Nang in I Corps' area of operations. After only six weeks in country, he earned his rating as an aircraft commander and was placed in charge of the company's Hue detachment, described by Ford as the "further-most northern aviation unit in Vietnam".

Much of the book consists of detailed stories of individual missions that Ford and his detachment flew, including combat assaults, casualty evacuation, VIP transport, and a very interesting recount of a downed-pilot pickup operation. His writing is descriptive and focuses on the people in the story. …

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