Cowboy: The Interpreter Who Became a Soldier, a Warlord, and One More Casualty of Our War in Vietnam was published a month ago and, I'm happy to say, has been well received by the Special Forces community. I was especially pleased by the good-hearted review that Jim Morris wrote for the SF Association Chapter 78 Newsletter. (It's also on Amazon.com.) And yesterday I sat for an interview with the lads at SOFREP Radio. Cowboy and I join them at about 14 minutes, 30 seconds into the broadcast.
I'm introduced as having been "embedded" with the Buon Beng Special Forces Camp in June 1964. Well, sort of! I hitchhiked around Vietnam by stepping aboard any Huey or Otter that was going in my direction, and only once did a pilot ask if I was authorized to use military transport. (I said yes, and he took my word for it.) Major Buck of the B Team in Pleiku decreed that Buon Beng was the place I ought to visit, but nobody at the camp knew I was coming. Nevertheless, they made me welcome, gave me a bunk, allowed me to tag along with them and, whenever they could, pressed a weapon into my hands. And that was how I happened to meet Cowboy.
This is an amazing book. Omer Bartov's mother came from Buczacz in a much-trampled part of Eastern Europe that the Austrians called Galicia, the Second Polish Republic knew as its own kresy (eastern borderland), and today is located in southwest Ukraine. Typical of Eastern Europe in the inter-war years, it was a mixture of nations, each with its own language, religion, and grievances. Poles were in the catbird's seat until September 1939, when the Russians came and let the Jews have a turn at government while the Polish "fascists" were marginalized, killed, or exiled to the Soviet Union. The wheel turned again, and more ominously, when the Germans arrived in 1941. Formerly neighbors and acquaintances -- friends, even -- the Hungarians joined in murdering and dispossessing the Jews. With admirable even-handedness, Mr Bartov interviews the survivors and marvels at how differently each group remembered the slaughter.
Also reviewed this month: A Pilot's Pilot, the story of Chennault's bomber commander, Caleb Haynes; and Of Monkey Bridges and Banh Mi Sandwiches, in which two children, exiled to the countryside when the Communists occupy Saigon in 1975, long for America after tasting a few M&M's. See the Warbird's Book Club for more.
Finally, in War in the Modern World, I post a video of Gremlins, teams of unmanned aerial vehicles deployed by a C-130 to "swarm" a battlefield and then return to their mother ship. Blue skies! — Daniel Ford
Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings:
Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
Posted June 2018. Websites © 1997-2018 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.