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A Hundred Feet Over Hell: Flying with the Men of the 220th Recon Airplane Company Over I Corps and the DMZ, Vietnam 1968-1969
by Jim Hooper
Published by Zenith Press
272 Pages, Hardcover, $25.00
This book is perfect for you if you are participating in the Vietnam War Reading Challenge being hosted by War Through the Generations!
Of the many army Bird Dog units in Southeast Asia, none operated in as hostile as environment as the "Catkillers" of the 220th Reconnaissance Airplane Company. Their tactical area of operations was up against the Demilitarized Zone in I Corps, the northern-most combat zone in South Vietnam.
Unlike the US Army aerial forward observers farther south --who, according to regulations, were only allowed to direct field artillery against enemy targets--Catkillers were authorized and trained to control air strikes, which they did regularly in support of both marine and army ground units. Elsewhere in Vietnam air strikes were supposed to be controlled by US Air Force FACs (but necessity often overrode regulation).
Flying over Vietnam in two-seater Cessnas, they often made the difference between a soldier returning alive to his family or having the lonely sound of "Taps" played over his grave. Based on extensive interviews, and often in the men's own words, A Hundred Feet Over Hell puts the reader in the plane as this intrepid band of U.S. Army aviators calls in fire support for the soldiers and marines of I Corps.
Jim Hooper is a war correspondent and author with a degree in Slavic studies. Wounded twice while covering Africa as a freelance journalist and photographer, he has reported on wars in Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, and Uganda. He is equally familiar with the Balkans, filing dispatches from Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia (where he was captured by Muslim extremists and escaped execution by sheer luck). He had written for publications ranging from The Economist to Jane's Intelligence Review. This is his fifth book. He lives in London.
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