Rattler One-Seven puts you in the helicopter seat, to see the war in Vietnam through the eyes of an inexperienced pilot as he transforms himself into a seasoned combat veteran. At the age of twenty, Chuck Gross spent his 1970-71 tour with the 71st Assault Helicopter Company flying UH-1 Huey helicopters. He inserted special operations teams into Laos and participated in Lam Son 719, a misbegotten attempt to assault and cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail, during which his helicopter was shot down and he was stranded in the field.
Soon after the war he wrote down his adventures, while his memory was still fresh with the events. Rattler One-Seven (his call sign) is written as Gross experienced it, using these notes along with letters written home to accurately preserve the mindset he had while in Vietnam.
©2004 Chuck Gross (P)2013 Redwood Audiobooks
"Exciting reading! Chuck Gross vividly tells the dramatic account of being a combat helicopter pilot in such a way that you feel you are there. Rattler One-Seven is a compelling memoir of what it was like to fly combat helicopters in Vietnam. It is a must-read for all military and aviation enthusiasts." (Chuck Carlock, author of Firebirds)
"Gross' memoir is worth reading. His stories should find an audience among serious collectors of books about Vietnam." (Military History of the West)
"Chuck Gross' book tells exactly what it was like to fly a Huey slick in combat in the Vietnam War. The only things missing are the smells of gunpowder and the incredible noise as he takes the reader on combat assaults into hot landing zones." (James Joyce, author of Pucker Factor 10)
This review is limited to the audio version. Mispronunciations litter this audiobook butchering both helicopter and military terminology as well as geographic locations, such as the historic city of Huế. I found this distracting as well as disrespectful to the earnest efforts of the author. I don't intend this as nit-picking. I simply expect (and hope) for better from Audible. The audio format calls for adequate preparation by the production team prior to entering the studio, with particular attention to accurate pronunciation.
That said, Mr. Gross comes across as one of those decent enough sorts, simultaneously coming of age while developing into a competent combat pilot, yet so straight-laced, pious and temperate that he routinely rubbed his commanders the wrong way and alienated himself from his peers. I respect that he was a young man from a somewhat sheltered background placed in a very difficult, life-threatening situation not of his choosing. In this respect, he performed admirably. Still, he seems to have been a bit of an odd-man-out during his brief, but unquestionably heroic, tour of duty in Southeast Asia.
I found the story compelling, thank the author for his service and urge interested readers/listeners to purchase and enjoy the book.
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