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10 thoughts on “Chickenhawk

  1. says:

    Add this one to my long list of books about the American War in Vietnam I am the right age to have been drafted for that war but was not due to a variety of deferments and a high lottery number The short story is that I was considering fleeing to Canada if I was drafted but never had to make that momentous decision that would have significantly changed my life I never came to that fork in the road so will always wonder what I would have done if I was actually faced with that choiceThe book was published in 1983 the year Robert Mason was forty one years old eighteen years after he was a twenty three year old in Vietnam This is a personal narrative of what I saw in Vietnam and how it affected me The events all happened; the chronology and geography are correct to the best of my knowledge The names of the characters have been changed Movies and books about Vietnam always have the Huey choppers coming and going from LZs delivering and picking up supplies and men They are often taking ground fire and sometimes coming down as a result But this is my first book that I have read that puts the reader in the head of the helicopter pilot on the ground and in the air Bob Mason wanted to fly from a young age and had his pilot’s license before he graduated from high school Vietnam made an impression on those who fought there; Mason is writing about events and feelings years later and it seems like you are right there Mason has been criticized for being too technical There is a diagram at the beginning of the book of a helicopter with all the major parts named There is also uite a bit of detail about how to actually maneuver a helicopter using hands and feet simultaneously It is way harder than patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time But this is far from a “how to” book But it does let you know that being a helicopter pilot in a war zone is a complex job Apparently you volunteer to be trained as a helicopter pilot so you are in this incredibly dangerous occupation by choice How many ways can you say “War is hell”? The old man said nothing about Morris except that we ought to get some money together for flowers for his wife but Sherman took it upon himself to give a little speech that night“Well we’ve been pretty lucky up to now It was only a matter of time The other companies have taken a lot kills than we have so it’s our turn now It looks like the overall ratio is one in five One pilot out of five will get killed We’ve only lost two guys which puts us five away from the average We’ve just been lucky”I hated Sherman Now we were delinuent in our deaths Running behind in our proper death ratio were we? Well we’ll just see about that C’mon you guys let’s go out there and die” I will have PTSD just from reading this book Short scenes and events strung together Moments in the lives and deaths of a group of men in a war The big story is the war The real stories are the individual actions and interactions between the men And then there is some occasional sane thinking I had never heard of a gook or a slope head or a slant eye or a dink who did anything but eat rice and shit and fight unending wars These tools and that waterwheel convinced me that there was a successful way of life going on around us but all we saw were savages backward savages fighting against the Communist hoards from the North Why were all the men of this beautiful village gone just when the Americans were right outside? Wouldn’t people under attack by the Communists welcome the men who were there to save them? Or was I seeing the wrong way? Maybe the only people who wanted us around were the Saigon politicians who were getting rich from having the Americans here The village was a long way from Saigon And the people weren’t rich; they were just people Robert Mason had over 1000 helicopter missions during his year in Vietnam Some moments were peaceful many were not At the first sound of the returning ships I went outside and watched The Hueys snaked out of the mist and with increasing noise gathered on the field west of the camp Huey after Huey hovered to a landing The field became a complicated dance of whirling rotor blades swinging fuselages and swirling mist The roaring rush of the turbines and the rotors swing lazily as the ships shut down The crew wandered up to the camp They all had come back The ships were shadows in the early morning mist We took off singly to join up out of the fog Climbing over vague trees we saw the earth disappear Riker who knew where he was going told me to turn left Just as I did we saw the phantom of a Huey cross immediately in front of us I lurched back on the controls but that was not what saved us from the midair collision Luck had been with us As he began to suffer from the accumulated stress at the end of his tour he found he was most comfortable when he was flying When I was flying my life was in my own hands When I was back at the camp the army was in control of my destiny He suffers from textbook PTSD that eventually drives him out of the air then out of the army The nightmares go on and on sleep comes with the help of alcohol And his life spirals down Death is almost always gruesome as it is described by Robert Mason in this most gruesome book There is the intensity of heroism too Eventually there is the heroism of going on with life having experienced so much deathThis book is so distressing than most war books I have read Lots of blood and guts and shattered bodies that were sometimes left to rot for several days so they could be easily located in the tall elephant grass – by the smell Vietnam was a nightmare in so many ways Now we have unmanned drones that kill from the air and humans that blow themselves up in a crowdRobert Mason writes about his experience of the brutality of a war he fought when he was young He wrote about his time in Vietnam in 1965 66 For a while those fighting thought they were winning a war that would go on for years longer and claim many victims Chickenhawk is I think a regrettable title for an unforgettable book It captures the horrors of one man’s war horror that is undoubtedly still with him these many years later He flew men on his chopper to their death and lived to be haunted by it This book may be too raw to give five stars Too many mangled bodies and destroyed minds Too surreal a world for too many men War is not the answer

  2. says:

    This is a book I have been wanting to read for a long time and it did not disappoint Robert Mason takes you along for the ride in his helicopter during the Vietnam War flying slicks for the AirCav under fire and tells many funny and horrifying tales of his time spent in country He describes all the events unfolding around him vividly and he really takes you back in time with himThe book starts in his youth and his dream to fly then this dream comes true when he becomes a helicopter pilot in the US Army and turns to nightmare as he is sent to Vietnam under trained and unprepared to even fly his Huey We are introduced to the rich cast of characters that make up his unit and on the job they all learn hard and valuable lessons of fighting this new kind of war in the helicopters This book is a must read for any Vietnam War or helicopter enthusiast

  3. says:

    One of the most iconic sounds that people relate to the Vietnam War is the “womp woosh” of American Huey helicopters Whether watching a film like Apocalypse Now or reading a book on the war those sounds will reverberate in the reader’s mind During the war about 12000 helicopters were deployed by the United States military Of that number 7013 were Hueys almost all of which were US Army The total number of helicopter pilots killed in Vietnam was 2202 and total non pilot crew members who died were 2704 The most accurate estimate of the number of helicopter pilots who served in the war was roughly 40000 wwwvhpaorghelilosspdf As we think about these statistics we can only admire the bravery and fortitude of the men called upon to undertake the many diverse missions these pilots engaged in One of the pilots Robert Mason has written one of the most important accounts of the war available in his memoir CHICKENHAWK Mason’s account is probably one of the most accurate and realistic accounts we have about the American serviceman’s experience in Vietnam From the vantage point of a helicopter pilot Mason explores his daily life during his tour of duty Mason’s approach to his memoir is simple clear and honest As he completes basic training advanced individual training and two attempts at passing preflight training he comments that he never “suspected that the army taught people how to fly helicopters the same way they taught them to march and shoot But they did” 23 He realized early on that if you washed out of the flight program you would wind up as a PFC in the infantry Mason’s journey begins in 1964 and carries him through 1968 a time when the United States under President Lyndon B Johnson was ramping up the American commitment to save South Vietnam from communism Mason’s insights echo those of historians that were written years later Mason’s memoir was first published in 1983 and was reissued in 2005 with a new afterword describing how the war affected his life for decades following his serviceMason’s experience in Vietnam was much diversified Even as a warrant officer he engaged in the activities of a typical grunt rooting out tree stumps digging fox holes filling sand bags and building a perimeter for his assault division Mason’s primary activity was flying a Huey helicopter that involved him in support of troops in the Bon Song Valley and Ia Drang Valley where in November 1965 the United States won its first large scale encounter with the North Vietnamese Though it appeared to be a victory Mason uestions what American strategy was as we killed the enemy at an increasing rate but we would withdraw and not hold the land taken Mason points out repeatedly that later American troops would fight to retake the same territory as it had won earlier but at an increasing cost for the United States Mason’s buddy Connors summed it up well “Why the fuck don’t they keep some troops out there This is like trying to plug fifty leaks with one finger” 351 This is not the only thing that Mason uestions He did some reading before he went to Vietnam Bernard Fall’s Street without Victory having had the most impact on him as it describes the political situation in South Vietnam the corruption of the Saigon regime and the lack of commitment on the part of the South Vietnamese peasants who just wanted to till their own soil The poor training and refusal to fight on the part of the ARVN South Vietnamese army the fear in the eyes of South Vietnamese he came in contact with bothered Mason a great deal The resentment between ARVN and American officers was readily apparent At times when ferrying ARVN troops to a landing zone Mason had to be careful that once on the ground they would not turn and fire on his Huey For Mason there were many times that he uestioned why he was in VietnamIn exploring the Vietnam War from the lens of a Huey pilot the reader will experience with Mason a myriad of situations Mason provides an excellent description of how he learned how to fly helicopters He also provides a useful amount of technical information about the problems that pilots faced and how they could maneuver their Hueys out of many tough situations He engaged in spraying defoliants to eliminate ground cover for the VC Viet Cong South Vietnamese communists not knowing what havoc these chemicals would reap in the future Mason’s primary activities centered on transporting troops wounded and bodies to and from the battlefield but he was also involved with relocating refuges to training missions as a mail courier to picking up and delivering supplies to combat areas and rear compounds But there were other missions of importance the pickup and delivery of tons of ice so the officer’s club would be stocked and if any was not needed it would be traded for appliances from other units Further the transport of small groups of officers on their own “secret” missions as well as using the Hueys to visit friends a hundred miles away Some of these tasks were obviously would not be considered “militarily relevant” but to maintain the sanity of people who have flown over 1000 missions they were none the less very importantThroughout the narrative Mason supplies the reader the historical context of what was occurring on the ground in Vietnam The intensity of Mason’s descriptions of his flights and what he observed provides the reader the feel and the smell of war Supply shortages were constant in his unit particularly chest armor that was a necessity for Huey pilots Mason highlights it further after he transfers to another unit that is overflowing in chest armor A recurrent them is the weakness of American intelligence provoking Connors to comment after a fire fight that “the intelligence branch must have read their maps upside down and was getting its information from smuggled Chinese fortune cookies” 146 Early on Mason was led to believe the reason the French had been forced out of Vietnam was because they weren’t “air mobile” Once the American Air Cavalry arrived it was supposed to change the course of the war For Mason at times he believed the United States was winning then doubts would creep in based on his experiences in combat It led to a discussion with his co pilot Gary Resler as they tried to determine their attitude toward the war; where they afraid or “chicken” or after seeing the constant pile of dead American bodies they wanted revenge making them “hawks” Their conclusion was a combination of the two hence they were “chickenhawks”Mason provides the reader insights to his thinking about his personal feelings He left his wife Patience and young son Jack in the United States and he integrates his personal letters to his family throughout the narrative His feelings of guilt are present as he is honest about his activities during R R in Saigon Taipei and Hong Kong It should be obvious that Mason suffered from PTSD before he left Vietnam Constant nightmares anxiety and fear centered on the murder of VC prisoners the use of napalm and the damage it caused and the casualties he witnessed drove him to use medication after his missions in order to complete his tour of duty In addition he pours his heart out about what he witnesses and cannot cope with Chickenhawk though written over twenty years ago provides lessons for future soldiers and it is an exceptional Vietnam memoir that has stood the test of time

  4. says:

    Chickenhawk I had to raise my rating on this reread to 5 Stars This is the story of a helicopter pilot and his experiences from training to combat in Vietnam He has a great eye for the successes and failures of the new air assault tactics as they are developed and employed The heart pounding trips into hot LZ’s come through clearly He was involved in the Ia Drang Valley battle so vividly described in the book and movie of We Were Soldiers Onceand Young Ia Drang the Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam He was in the sister unit of the “Snakes” and he went into LZ XRay in that battle He also has a great eye for some of the humorous ludicrous and crazy aspects of men in war Perhaps without intending it has a “Heart of Darkness” tension as we watch him go from a diligent new pilot to a jaded combat veteran He goes from trying to learn some Vietnamese to looking at the natives he was supposed to be protecting as less than human His callousness is not reserved only for the enemy but eventually surfaces for the wounded and dead grunts he pulls out of the LZ’s I would not describe him as a heroic figure but he is certainly brave You get a gut wrenching view into the expansion of US combat involvement in the Vietnam War and the soul destroying strategy of “search and destroy” You can begin to understand the despair and subseuent descent into alcohol and wild behavior as they keep going back to take territory they had already taken before with constant loss of friends We'd already taken Happy Valley but we had to go back out to patch up a few holes in the victory Somebody forgot to tell Charlie he lost so he was still out there shooting down helicopters the dumb fuckIn two days we flew 12 assaults into the same areas we had taken several times before To add insult to injury the VC fought even harderThis is a very good account of fighting men in war a short but exciting read

  5. says:

    Others have said it better about this memoir Written in the years just after it occurred And which I failed to read in the than 50 years between Because it's too close to homeRobert Mason added an update as of 2004 And I just have to add several issues that others sure haven't in regard to details in this telling I STILL know at least 4 men who use the phrase swave and deboner Said AND spelled exactly like that In fact I heard it last week just outside a conference room after a MRI between two of themGreen snakes and 31 out of 33 species being poisonous And having the eyes and cognition as that man did who knew he just got bit so laid down in the deep grass to sleep and to dieTechnical prone reading lovers might like this one as much as the fighting men willFor me too sorrowful and terrible to not skim read in parts And remember those who I loved who never came home

  6. says:

    Excellent ReadBook Chickenhawk is Robert Mason's narrative of his experiences as a Huey UH 1 Irouois helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War The book chronicles his enlistment flight training deployment to and experiences in Vietnam and his experiences after returning from the warMovie Chicken Hawk Men Who Love Boys is a 1994 American documentary produced written and directed by Adi Sideman The film profiles members of the pedophilepederasty organization North American ManBoy Love Association NAMBLA who discuss sexual relationships between men and boys below the age of consentBook and movie seem like 2 different plotsAlso reminds me of the Platoon movie Fields of Fire bookA definite read that the Vietnam helicopter pilot may not have been on the ground but the horrors of the war followed him home forever to the United States

  7. says:

    Brilliant Read it 30 years ago and loved it

  8. says:

    I first read this book years ago and it is without a doubt one of the best war memoirs on my shelf and one to which I regularly return as I just did for the third time to read during a lengthy trip abroad The book recounts the training and duty tour of Robert Mason a helicopter pilot who served in the air cav during the height of the Vietnam conflict Many consider it the best book written by a Vietnam vet and I would be inclined to agree the only close contender would be the sniper memoirs of Carlos Hathcock penned by Charles Henderson Chickenhawk is compelling from start to finishFor one thing Mason's book contains one of the few really interesting accounts of military training written to date in Mason's case of his helicopter flight training In fact the first section of the book is so vividly descriptive of the mechanics and procedures of military flight instruction that you finish it believing you could almost fly a helicopter yourself To appreciate fully Mason's accomplishment in rendering this experience so fascinating one need only contrast it with that of Marcus Lutrell's recent Lone Survivor which manages to turn what should be an eually fascinating account of Navy seal training into one of the most annoying and sleep inducing chronicles of push ups and special ops ever written And once Mason starts recounting his actual combat experiences you simply can't put the book down Partly what makes Chickenhawk such a unforgettable read is that Mason makes no effort either to doctor the facts about his time in Vietnam his love of flying even in combat or about his own flaws and failures This is no boastful attempt to paint himself a hero though among the heroes of that war Mason is surely one but a gut wrenching look into a soldier's soul and the soul of a nation at war The result is one of the most stunning books about war ever written and I've read hundreds And I will certainly read this one many times

  9. says:

    What a terrific book So much than I expected More than a memoir than a war book It feels like a window back through time to the jungles of Southern Vietnam where we find a war that is hard to understand and even harder to justify While I found myself disliking Robert Mason his book and his brutal honesty is hard not to respect He could have shaved much detail from this book and still had a hit on his hands but he gave everything he had to Chickenhawk and it became a special piece of literature He presented the world a rare and unshielded veiw of the Vietnam War The best non fiction on Vietnam that I have read to date

  10. says:

    A great great memoir of a vietnam huey pilot mason really puts you right in the action with amazing detail personal emotional and physical experiences and some humor thrown in for good reading I keep wavering between a 4 and 5 star read I still may change it I thought his writing was brilliant as it really put you in the jungles of vietnam provided experiences on so many levels emotional physical and personal to him and even in glimpses of the vietnamese people really a powerful read My struggle between a 4 star and a 5 star is the technical aspect of the flying of helicopters Initially it went over my head and I kind of skimmed through it But as his experience as a pilot grew I grew with him at least in my imagination and could follow of the descriptions and images of the technical flying scenes with greater detail thanks to mason and his writing style So I guess I'll call it a 45 star read for the time being110 ended up giving this one a 5 stars The 4 star rating just doesn't do this one justice The story sticks in my head like a great 5 star read does so up it goes

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Summary Chickenhawk

And photographs taken by him during the conflict this straight from the shoulder account tells the electrifying truth about the helicopter war in Vietnam This is Robert Mason’s astounding personal story of men at war A veteran of than one thousand com. Others have said it better about this memoir Written in the years just after it o The Devious Duchess photographs taken by him during the conflict this straight from the shoulder account tells the electrifying truth about the helicopter war in Vietnam This is Robert Mason’s astounding Geometric Dimensioning And Tolerancing: Self Study Workbook personal story of men at war A veteran of than one thousand com. Others have said it better about this memoir Written in the years just after it o

Read & Download ☆ E-book, or Kindle E-pub µ Robert Mason

A true story from the battlefield that faithfully portrays the horror the madness and the trauma of the Vietnam War More than half a million copies of Chickenhawk have been sold since it was first published in 1983 Now with a new afterword by the author. Add this one to my long list of books about the American War in Vietnam I am the Search for the White Moon portrays the horror the madness and the trauma of the Vietnam War More than half a million copies of Chickenhawk have been sold since it was first Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality published in 1983 Now with a new afterword by the author. Add this one to my long list of books about the American War in Vietnam I am the

Robert Mason µ 9 Download

Bat missions Mason gives staggering descriptions that cut to the heart of the combat experience the fear and belligerence the uiet insights and raging madness the lasting friendships and sudden death the extreme emotions of a chickenhawk in constant dang. What a terrific book So much than I expected More than a memoir than a war book