A Hundred Feet Over Hell: Flying With the Men of the 220th Recon Airplane Company Over I Corps and the DMZ, Vietnam 1968-1969

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

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Hundred Feet over Hell: Flying with the Men of the 220th Recon Airplane Company over I Corps and the DMZ, Vietnam 1968-1969 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
PeterHenderson More than 1 year ago
"A Hundred Feet Over Hell" by Jim Hooper tells the story of the extreme bravery of your fathers and grandfathers who flew little Piper Cub airplanes into enemy fire to assist your fathers and grandfathers fighting on the ground during the Vietnam war. Jim Hooper has the knowledge and ability through his skillfully written words to take the reader back to 1968 and remind us of another Great Generation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LaughingStars More than 1 year ago
When Bill Hooper returned to Florida after being injured on active duty in Vietnam, he was angry. It was not a reaction to having suffered a brutal ordeal in an unpopular war. He was angry about being home. He was separated from his military family, the men he was committed to serving and protecting. At first, this was difficult for his brother Jim to understand. Decades later, after surviving his own combat experiences as a war correspondent in Africa and the Balkans, Jim began to explore Bill's Vietnam experiences. After extensive research and interviews with men who served with Bill, this book took shape. The author seamlessly wove together first-person accounts of soldiers with his own narrative. It flowed smoothly, and I came to really care about the people whose voices filled the pages. There's also a great deal of action in this book. I agree with another reviewer, Julie at My Book Retreat, who wrote: "Reading this book was like watching a war movie. It was full of action "scenes" where Catkiller pilots are flying over the DMZ taking enemy fire, while relaying vital information about troop locations, and guiding fighter pilots to fire at the VC troops while avoiding the friendlies." Some parts of this book are actually laugh out loud funny. These young men escaped the pressures of combat by cutting loose during their downtime, and many of their experiences are hilarious. For example, one night a bunch of guys were in the middle of a poker game when the camp was struck by enemy fire. "Wisby was yelling at us to get to the bunker, but we just sat there because of all the cash on the table. There had to be $500 in that pot! Rockets were impacting everywhere. Then the lights went out. Everyone had a Zippo, and we got a candle lit and finished the hand. I thought we were going to die for sure." (p. 53) Other parts of the book are infuriating. We see the brutality faced by both soldiers and Vietnamese civilians on a daily basis and the lack of support our serviceman received from the South Vietnamese, who they were trying to support, and from their own government. During their down time, the Catkillers were sometimes immersed in "hate sessions." They vented about the indifference of the South Vietnamese, the baffling decisions made by the military bureaucracy, which sometimes cost the lives of their comrades in arms, and the frustrations of being caught in limited warfare, trying to save American lives but not allowed to invade North Vietnam. A news correspondent who had served in World War II was at one of these "hate sessions." He said the experiences he'd seen in the 1940s, serviceman struggling to preserve each others lives in the face of lack of support and seemingly absurd decisions from further up the hierarchy, were being repeated "with only cosmetic differences" in Vietnam. I found this disheartening on many levels, and I suspect the same issues are being faced - again, with only cosmetic differences - by our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some accounts of war play on our emotions in a very intentional way, striving to send the obvious message that "war is hell." Others glorify war. A Hundred Feet Over Hell does neither. It simply tells the soldiers' stories, very personal stories of courage, fear, grief, and pride in a job well done, in what David Mitchell at BiblioBuffet aptly called a "concise but literate style." This is an important work of contemporary history and a powerful tribute to men who devoted the