Mail Call
Mailbox (N)

   Boy, back in the days of Vietnam, when no one had even heard of email, one of the sweetest words spoken was “Mail Call!”

   Kaye and I would write to each other every day, but sometimes a week or more would go by with no mail. And then, there would be 5 to 10 letters, all at once. To avoid reading things like “...Craig is out of the hospital now...” when you didn’t even know he had a problem, we started writing the number of the letter on the outside of each envelope. That sure helped to keep things in order.

   On this page, you get to “sound off”. Be aware that if you send me a message, I am assuming that you are granting me the right to reproduce it here.

   And I will -- whether critical or complimentary, subject only to the bounds of good taste. If your message is little more than a raving blast, it will get tossed. Same for vulgarity and profanity. Otherwise, expect to see it printed here.

   Holy Cow...The Jolly Green pilots were even more heroic than I thought! Read this book to get a true feeling of what it was like day by day for a Jolly Green pilot --- in the cockpit on harrowing rescue missions, and on the ground with lots of obstacles. As a Navy combat pilot who flew over the same area as described in this book, and also one who was rescued by the Jolly Greens, I still never fully realized how really dangerous the average Jolly mission was ‘till reading this book. And, the author has done a superb job of describing the Jolly pilot's interesting, but harsh and dangerous living conditions up north when not flying. Written with an evident heart felt emotion, it's a quick read.                                  KF

   This was a fast-paced, easy book to read. Good insight on the war, the Vietnamese, also the dynamics of our soldiers in a foreign land. I was amazed at his factual first-hand account supported by photos and documents. Written in a no-nonsense, straight-shooting style that commanded attention and encouraged "reading between the lines" . . . thought provoking. It stayed with me long after I read the last page. The white light was awesome evidence of God's protection. Thank you Dave (and Kaye!) for your sacrifice and service through a very confusing and painful time in history.                                                         SO

   I read this book from cover to cover in just a few hours. This book grabbed my attention from the first page and held it all the way to the end. I could not let go. This is a first hand story of how things really happened over in Vietnam. This story is told from the heart of a truly amazing man. This book is filled with great rescues and some amazing photos. I highly recommend this book for everyone. Thank you Sir for your service and sharing it with us.                SB

   One day, I saw one of my co-worker's with this book in hand and stopped to ask him what the book was about. (I think it was the colorful cover that grabbed my attention.) Then, my co-worker went on to tell me that his father was the author, grabbing my attention even further. After looking through his copy of his Dad's book, I just had to get my own so I could read each page. I am so glad I did! Dave Richardson's personal account of his time in Vietnam and the rescues performed are a most excellent read. I felt like I was part of the story. I also liked the section at the end of the book, where the author explains various acronyms and "subjects." Dave, thanks for sharing your story. Your love of God and family is evident. Thank you for your service!                              VB

  I have to start by saying that I love to read true stories - the good, the bad and the ugly :) This is a good one. Dave Richardson is a man who was sent to Vietnam in the late 60's and he chose to be a helicopter rescue pilot while he was in the war. This put him in a position to have some fascinating experiences and it gave him a chance to see his faith in action during trying and dangerous times.
   Vietnam Air Rescues started out as a book from a father, to his family. It was the chance to share his experiences and to help the family understand what he did during his time in Vietnam. A big part of the book are Dave's recollections and pictures from his rescues. There are many pictures throughout the book which are a great addition. I should mention that Dave does remind us that the pictures were taken over 30 years ago and most were taken under "less than favorable" conditions. Some of the pictures are out of focus, but when you read the content and realize what he was doing at the time he was taking the pictures, a bit of fuzz should be ignored.
   The book begins with Dave Richardson's "Totally Unauthorized History of the Vietnam War". He shares his reflections of the war and his time overseas. He also explains the various editions of the book. The first edition was written for Dave Richardson's family, but as others requested copies, slight changes were made to make the story appropriate for other readers.
   Dave shares many interesting details throughout the book, a jargon section, information about a typical day, details about the missions he flew, he shares maps of the area and full details on each of his rescues.
   I feel that the personal feel is very obvious in the book. It feels like a friend is telling you about a year in his life and you get involved in the things they did to kill time when they had time to spare. We also feel the tension as he struggles to rescue a pilot who was shot down, realizing that a mistake would mean death for a number of people. It was never a situation where he only had to worry about his own life.
   I interviewed Dave Richardson on my radio show and I got the chance to learn so many additional details. Learning more about how a person handles a helicopter added more tension to the rescue sections.
   Imagine, I had a chance to talk with Dave Richardson and Kenny Fields about the rescue where they met. Both men wrote books about their experiences. One of the interesting things is that these two books give us the perspective from the air and the perspective from the ground. Dave was days from going home and he agreed to go out one more time. Little did he know what would happen over the next 48 hours. Kenny Fields was stranded on the ground and the rescue planes and helicopters had a very difficult time reached Kenny Fields.
   If you would like to learn more about what happened behind the scenes this is a great place to start. There is no grandstanding, no political undertones and no agenda in Vietnam Air Rescues. But, there is a great story told from an author who is proud to share his story with us.                                NL

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