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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Chuck Gross finished high school and had no plans of what he wanted to do with his life. His dad had died when Chuck was at a young age and his mom suggested the service. There, Chuck could learn a trade and go to college under the GI Bill.
Chuck joined the Army to learn how to fly helicopters in Vietnam. He left for Vietnam on May 15, 1970 for a one year deployment. Chuck might not know what the day of the week it was but he always knew how many more days he had left until he would leave Vietnam.
Chuck learned early not to fly his helicopter sitting high in his seat by a fellow flyer who went up with him in the first few helicopter rides in his early days in country. Chuck liked flying high because it gave him a better look of what was in front of him. The co-pilot explained how the enemy would be able to see him so well that he made a great target. Therefore, Chuck learned how to fly low in his chopper. Believe it or not, if he had flown high that very day, it would have been Chuck's last day.
Air assaults by helicopter were used for the first time in Vietnam. Helicopter pilot's were given orders to locate, search and destroy. Helicopter pilot's would also do insertions to get people out who were in trouble. When Chuck was called to fly, his favorite co-pilot and sometimes pilot, was Kent Garrett.
One of the troublesome memories of the Vietnam war for Chuck Gross were the MIA's who were left behind. The missing in action families would never be able to have closure for their son's. President Nixon realized the conflict in Vietnam was a war that could have gone bad.
President Nixon's plan was called Vietnamization. The American's would pull out and the North Vietnamese would take over. North Vietnam fell to the Communist's, April 30, 1975. The number of American's killed was 58,169 and the mean age of those killed was 21.23 years old.
This is an excellent and poignant description of what it was like to serve in combat in Vietnam, in this case as a helicopter pilot. The story is a reminder of the sacrifices made by our troops in that war, what it was like and the effect it had on them.
The first Heli book I listened to was Night Stalkers. That was Very informative and at the same time fed my Love for Helicopters. This book Does it all over again. Gross takes his letters he sent home and other things he wrote at the time and reads them as he progresses thru his Army stint in "Nam". He takes you from when he enters the Recruit center and adds the most Exiting and informative days in that time period and puts them in this book. He becomes one of the more revered leaders of his unit that many guys come to look up to. I hesitated b/c of not many people rating this yet but I'm glad I took a chance and got it. It is now one of my Favorites that I will be re listening to for a long time.
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