To the Limit: An Air Cav Huey Pilot in Vietnam

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Potomac Books, Inc., 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 396 pages
3 Reviews
Helicopter pilots in Vietnam kidded one another about being nothing but glorified bus drivers. But these "rotor heads" saved thousands of American lives while performing what the Army classified as the most dangerous job it had to offer. One in eighteen did not return home.

Tom A. Johnson flew the UH-1 "Iroquois" -- better known as the "Huey" -- in the 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion of the First Air Cavalry Division. From June 1967 through June 1968, he accumulated an astonishing 1,600 flying hours (1,150 combat and 450 noncombat). His battalion was one of the most highly decorated units in the Vietnam War and, as part of the famous First Air Cavalry Division, helped redefine modern warfare. With tremendous flying skill, Johnson survived rescue missions and key battles that included those for Hue and Khe Sanh and operations in the A Shau and Song Re valleys, while many of his comrades did not. His heartfelt and riveting memoir will strike a chord with any soldier who ever flew in the ubiquitous Huey and any reader with an interest in how the Vietnam War was really fought.

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when I read this I couldn't believe it. I was the guy who fired the first shots near the chopper that night. The lead up to this was myself and three guys from 1st 50th which I be leave we're from Iowa had taken a jeep from a convoy that had pulled into lz english at that time. We drove down to Phu cat airbase to get some booze for us and friends when we got back the convoy was gone whoops. I was in trouble but latter it was christmas and we had a lot of booze. The same folks that we're pointing fingers at me had orders was that night I fired on the chopper but for my partition was with a grease gun taken from one of the tracks. Also the rounds were 45 cal tracer which I had gotten from a warrant officer who was with the task force and destroyed spent or broken weapons. He used a pipe vice to hold them and melt and cut through them and was accidentally gut shoot doing this. Next day my captain in the task force came to me he knew I had the grease gun told me to report to the flight line go out to a unit on the beach with a toe bar and supplies and come in with them they had a disable Apc and need the bar. And lose the grease gun CID or somebody was looking for the guy that fired on the chopper I didn't pickup the brass that night . I traded the gun to pilot for his revolver and that was it. I got back in a couple days later. Got A article 15 for the jeep incident and had 10 days on the perimeter building or referring bunkers. Never thought I would hear about that night again. I ordered 6 books to share with those that I have told this story to over the years, never knew it caused such a flap even out to two bits wow. Thanks to the brave rotor heads and there work and the brave men of the 1st BN 50th mec inf and Rabbit LT Hinton  

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Fantastic book! I cried and I laughed while reading this book, I really felt like I was there in the Huey with him. Plan on reading this book on the weekend or when you know you don't have to be at work the next day. I promise you will not be able to put it down once you start reading it, and it would be a smart move to grab a box of tissues.


Authors Note
1The An Lao Valley Incident
My New Home
3LZ English
4My First Engine Failure
5The Bong Son River Crash
14Can Chickens Really Fly?
15The 1st Cavalry Moves North
16The Tet Offensive of 1968
17The LZ Striker Incident
18Khe Sanh
19Near Disaster Night Insertion at Thor
20The Circus Act Extraction
21A Shau Valley Lair of Lucifer

6The Battle of Song Re Valley
7Bill Lee Crashes Hard
8Changing Seats
9The LZ Geronimo Incident
10Battle of Tam Quan
11The LZ Tom Incident
12Christmas at LZ English Republic of Vietnam
13The Death of James Arthur Johansen
22No Rest for the Weary
What Makes Helicopters Fly
Confirmed Killed Class 675 First Tour
About the Author

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About the author (2006)

Tom A. Johnson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal (with five Silver Leaf Clusters), and the Bronze Star for his Vietnam War service.