CW2 by Layne Heath


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Another piece of the Vietnam War puzzle to fill out the picture. This time it's a story of the Army's warrant-officer helicopter pilots, by a pilot who served two tours in the war. The First half of this long and mostly entertaining war saga is a series of episodes, the battle history of Billy Roark, a young warrant officer--one of the thousands the Army turned out to make possible the fulfillment of the helicopter strategies for the war in Vietnam. Fair enough. War is a series of episodes that often seems to lead nowhere, and Roark's discovery of the terrifying and/or stupid realities of real war is made bearable by the undiminishing thrill of flying. Billy spends his first tour of duty flying Hueys near the dimilitarized zone. He is fast to pick up the techniques of this new warfare, moving quickly to acceptance by his fellow pilots but not by the overly rigid Captain Crable, an officer whose craven leadership results in the needless death of one of Roark's best buddies. The second half of the novel covers Roark's tour as a scout pilot in smaller aircraft; problems with his moody gunner; and the pursuit of Captain Crable, who can't even remember the pilot whose death he caused. A not particularly smooth first novel, but so full of the well-told details of helicopter warfare that the roughness is forgivable.

Pub Date: June 22nd, 1990
Publisher: Morrow