Bob Ford; BLACK CAT 2-1; Brown Books (Nonfiction: Autobiography & Memoir) 24.95 ISBN: 9781612542089
Byline: Tom Bevier
This moving memoir about the gritty life of a military helicopter pilot fills a gap in the genre of Vietnam literature.
In the onslaught of books written about the Vietnam War, there has been endless questioning as to whether it was justified, leaden analyses of its politics, and wildly divergent judgments of the lessons to be taken from it. What has been lacking, with some notable exceptions, is a chronicling of the experiences of those who actually fought it. That lapse is addressed in Black 2-1: The True Story of a Vietnam Helicopter Pilot and His Crew, Bob Ford's terse recounting of his tour as an Aircraft Commander of a Huey helicopter during some of the conflict's deadliest encounters.
Ford was a small-town Oklahoma twenty-two-year-old and had recently earned his Army Aviator Wings when he went to Vietnam in 1967. In a letter to his girlfriend, whom he later married, he wrote that his fellow lieutenants were "all good guys" and that "there was a one in seven chance of getting killed or wounded." He flew more than a thousand missions and made it through, but many of his comrades did not; 2,197 pilots and 2,717 crew members were killed.