This work describes U.S. Marine Corps helicopter operations, including their actions and evolution, throughout the Vietnam War. The book is divided into parts spanning the three stages of the Corps’ combat deployment: “Buildup (1962–1966),” “Heavy Combat (1967–1969),” and “The Bitter End (1975).” Each part includes chapters devoted to “telling the story” of Marine helicopters from the individual to the strategic level.
Vietnam has often been called our “first helicopter war,” and indeed the U.S. Marine Corps, as well as Army, had to feel its way forward during the initial combats. But by 1967 the combat was raging across South Vietnam, with confrontational battles against the NVA, on a scale comparable to the great campaigns of WWII. In 1968, when the Communists launched their mammoth counteroffensive, the Marines were forced to fight on all sides, with the helicopter giving them the additional dimension that proved decisive in repelling the enemy.
The author, a Vietnam veteran, uses his experiences as a company commander to bring the story to life by weaving personal accounts, after-action reports and official documents into a remarkably readable narrative of service and sacrifice by Marine pilots and crewmen. The entire story of the war is here depicted through the prism of Marine helicopter operations, from the first deployments to support the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) against the Viet Cong through the rapid United States buildup to stop the North Vietnamese Army, until the final withdrawal from our Embassy.
Colonel Dick Camp, a Purple Heart recipient, served 26 years in the U.S. Marine Corps before retiring in 1988. Upon retirement he served as the Deputy Director, U.S. Marine Corps History Division and as the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, Vice President for Museum Operations at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Quantico, Virginia. Currently residing in Fredericksburg, Virginia, he is the author of ten books and over 100 magazine articles on various military related subjects.