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Low Level Gods: Choices, Choppers and Coming of Age, 22 Months in the Skies of Vietnam

by John E. Horn

Merriam Press Vietnam War Memoir

eBook not available

Paperback - ISBN 9781312318632 - $14.98

Hardcover not available

This account of the war in Vietnam is based exclusively on personal experience.

It is not a chronological narrative but is written as a series of memories that stand out among many over my 22-month combat tour from March 1969-December 1970.

Each chapter stands alone.

My goal for this book is to disclose the reality of my life as a combat “Huey” helicopter pilot and to illustrate how the “combat experience” affected me.

Overall, my experiences were probably average.

I tried to avoid writing a wall-to-wall, shoot-em-up narrative of unrelenting battles and my prominent place in them as a badass pilot and warrior.

Ego and poor memory occasionally made this difficult.

To be true, I had to write myself out of some of the best stories.

War is a formative experience.

The permanency of the experience is indisputable and never far from consciousness.

Unless you have been there, you will never completely understand the imprint that war makes on a warrior’s psyche.

Flying a helicopter low level over the earth at 120 knots gives the aviator a sense of power, splendor, freedom, mastery, and control.

Being just a little closer to the heavens, a little faster and cooler than anyone else in the Army, all contributed to the aviator’s self-regard.

The infantrymen we fought side by side with viewed Army pilots as their protectors, champions, and liberators.

They continually heaped appreciation, gratitude, and admiration on us and made us feel indispensable.

We were masters of the sky over the battlefield, gods in our own eyes.

Not that any of the god-like aspirations were necessarily warranted, but they served to keep esprit de corps and morale high, motivating Army aviators as young as 19 years old, to get into their machines to fly and fight every day.

The title Low Level Gods is a recognition of the hubris and self-regard of aviators, the appreciation of others, and honestly how we felt about ourselves.

222 6x9-inch pages. 28 photos/illustrations

Low Level Gods: Choices, Choppers and Coming of Age, 22 Months in the Skies of Vietnam

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