Cover image for CW2
Heath, Layne.
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New York : W. Morrow, 1990.
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Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although Vietnam was a helicopter war, in fiction the men who flew the Army's choppers have been overshadowed by grunts and fixed-wing pilots. Heath redresses the balance with his first novel. In his initial tour in 1969 Army Warrant Officer (CW2) Billy Roark flew slicks--transport helicopters--around the DMZ and the ill-omened A Shau Valley. In 1971 he returns as a scout pilot in the air cavalry to meet a destiny as uncanny as it is appropriate. Heath, a veteran of the fighting he describes, tells the story of Roark and his buddies in a series of loosely connected vignettes, blending the real and surreal in compelling images of a form of war that was new but not unique. Like the airmen of WW II, helicopter pilots in Vietnam staked their lives in machines that offered a thousand ugly ways to die and few chances to escape when things went wrong. Roark's evolution as a ``hunter'' parallels the development of the earlier war's fighter aces; his story can claim a place alongside such memoirs as Billy Bishop's Winged Warfare and Ira Jones's Tiger Squadron. Major ad/promo; author tour. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

After completing his first tour of duty and finding himself unable to focus on anything but his Vietnam experience, chopper pilot Billy Roark applies for reassignment as a scout. Previously flying a large Huey helicopter used for inserting troops and carrying ammo, Roark now pilots a smaller, faster scout ship, searching the jungle for Viet Cong troops. First novelist Heath's skillful use of dense technical description--the flight and battle sequences are superb--boosts a mediocre story with familiar themes of waste and disillusionment. With appeal to both fans of Vietnam fiction and technothrillers, Heath may rival giants like Dale Brown ( Day of the Cheetah, LJ 6/15/89), and, due to the authenticity of his technical and historical data, be taken more seriously. Military Book Club main selection; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/90..-- Mark Annichiarico, ``Library Journal'' (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.