A chopper pilot's raucous, rude, and riveting memory of war in Vietnam. A would-be flier from boyhood on, Marvicsin (""Maverick,"" to his friends) signed up for the Army's warrant officer program following a four-year hitch in the Navy. Duly trained to operate helicopters, he swaggered off to Southeast Asia in 1965 at age 25. While the massive buildup of American forces had yet to begin, there was action aplenty for the unblooded airman. Originally assigned to so-called slicks, slow. moving craft that ferried troops into battle zones, the author soon knew he wanted out of inviting targets with minimal firepower. Marvicsin's skills eventually earned him command of a heavily armed gunship whose mission was to look for trouble. Having survived almost daily combat, a serious wound, and a probable breach of the roles of engagement (on the Cambodian border), he earned a regular commission and a ticket home. After a couple of years in the US with his wife and children, the author returned to Vietnam after the Tet offensive, only to have his luck mn out. Shot down and captured by NVA regulars, Marvicsin was imprisoned in a bamboo tiger cage--a profoundly debasing experience with a happy ending, which he recounts in snatches throughout his third-person narrative. A professional soldier who, even in retirement. takes obvious pride in the havoc he wreaked on an implacable enemy, the oft-decorated author now has greater perspective on the conflict and its costs. Well before its reconciliatory close, however, Marvicsin's savage, sardonic account of his two tours of duty (which concedes precious little to home-front protesters) puts paid to any notion that it is sweet and seemly to die or be maimed for one's country. An outstanding, if brutal, addition to the literature of Vietnam.