Snake Pilot: Flying the Cobra Attack Helicopter in Vietnam

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9781574886115: Snake Pilot: Flying the Cobra Attack Helicopter in Vietnam

Based on audiotapes he recorded during the war and sent home to his family, Randy Zahn’s Snake Pilot recounts his experiences flying AH-1 Cobra helicopters during the Vietnam War. First deployed in Vietnam in 1967 and loaded with a formidable arsenal of weaponry, the Cobra was the first helicopter designed from inception as an attack aircraft. It dramatically changed the nature of the war in Vietnam by offering the Army, for the first time, its own powerful and highly accurate weapons platform for close-air-support missions. Randy Zahn arrived in Vietnam shortly before the 1970 U.S. invasion of Cambodia, one of the most impressive demonstrations by the Cobra in the war. He describes his stunning transformation from a naive, middle-class teenager from southern California to a hardened killer during his tour in Vietnam. Unlike the pilots who flew the fast-moving strike jets, Zahn experienced the war “up close and personal,” witnessing the grisly effects of the Cobra’s firepower on enemy soldiers. The author does not glorify killing but rather explains in sharp relief the kaleidoscope of emotions associated with combat: fear, revenge, hate, remorse, pity, and even ecstasy. He captures many of the ironies and nuances inherent in Vietnam, especially during the final years of the conflict. Zahn displays a sensitivity rarely found in memoirs written by battle-hardened warriors. This human element, combined with the vast amount of archival research and interviews with members of his former unit, ensures that Snake Pilot will become the definitive account of the role helicopters played in Vietnam.

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About the Author:

Randy R. Zahn is the chief pilot, Alaska Rotor Wing Division, for Era Helicopters in Anchorage, Alaska. He learned to fly helicopters while serving in the U.S. Army from 1968-71. He served a tour of duty in Vietnam (1970-71), earning two Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star, two Air Medals for valor, and two Army Commendation Medals for valor. He lives in Eagle River, Alaska.

Review:

"[Zahn] writes with authority . . . he captures the intensity of moments long since buried in the memories of those who lived them. . . . He has produced a book that is not so much a memoir of events past as a freshly discovered live report from the past. . . . It has lessons to teach the 'battle captains' of today. . . . The glimpse it offers of leaders-as-seen-by-the-led should be of value to anyone who leads the smart, aggressive, competent, self-asured young Mr. Zauns of today."

"Zahn reconstructed his year of combat in Vietnam with surprising detail, capturing the cockiness, angst, and attitude of the naive nineteen-year-old 1st Cavalry Division attack helicopter pilot of 1970 and 1971. . . . I recommend it to those interested in Army aviation, the Vietnam War, and leadership of aviation units."

"Zahn has shared the ups, downs, and horrors of a year in the life of a nineteen-year-old Cobra gunship pilot with the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry in Vietnam. Snake Pilot is a real keeper. I couldn't put it down."

"'You're just a kid,' the flight surgeon said. And he was right. Randy Zahn was just nineteen years old when he served as an AH-1 pilot in 1/9 Cav in 1970-71. Low and slow, up close and personal, he saw war from the steamy cockpit of a Cobra gunship. Through the sweat, blood, and tears of far too many missions, he learned that war is about men and what it does to them. 'We've established bonds that are stronger than blood,' he wrote. Exactly right, and Randy tells it well. Cleared hot."

"Snake Pilot puts you in the seat of one of the most awesome weapons of the Vietnam War: the Huey Cobra gunship. In short, [Zahn's] book chronicles the AH-1 at its point of maximum impact. It also is a telling tale of modern war: a story of how a naive middle-class kid from the suburbs is transformed by the pathos of war. This is the best memoir to date on the air war in Vietnam."

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Book Description Potomac Books Inc, United States, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Based on audiotapes he recorded during the war and sent home to his family, Randy Zahn s Snake Pilot recounts his experiences flying AH-1 Cobra helicopters during the Vietnam War. First deployed in Vietnam in 1967 and loaded with a formidable arsenal of weaponry, the Cobra was the first helicopter designed from inception as an attack aircraft. It dramatically changed the nature of the war in Vietnam by offering the Army, for the first time, its own powerful and highly accurate weapons platform for close-air-support missions. Randy Zahn arrived in Vietnam shortly before the 1970 U.S. invasion of Cambodia, one of the most impressive demonstrations by the Cobra in the war. He describes his stunning transformation from a naive, middle-class teenager from southern California to a hardened killer during his tour in Vietnam. Unlike the pilots who flew the fast-moving strike jets, Zahn experienced the war up close and personal, witnessing the grisly effects of the Cobra s firepower on enemy soldiers. The author does not glorify killing but rather explains in sharp relief the kaleidoscope of emotions associated with combat: fear, revenge, hate, remorse, pity, and even ecstasy. He captures many of the ironies and nuances inherent in Vietnam, especially during the final years of the conflict. Zahn displays a sensitivity rarely found in memoirs written by battle-hardened warriors. This human element, combined with the vast amount of archival research and interviews with members of his former unit, ensures that Snake Pilot will become the definitive account of the role helicopters played in Vietnam. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781574886115

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Book Description Potomac Books Inc, United States, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Based on audiotapes he recorded during the war and sent home to his family, Randy Zahn s Snake Pilot recounts his experiences flying AH-1 Cobra helicopters during the Vietnam War. First deployed in Vietnam in 1967 and loaded with a formidable arsenal of weaponry, the Cobra was the first helicopter designed from inception as an attack aircraft. It dramatically changed the nature of the war in Vietnam by offering the Army, for the first time, its own powerful and highly accurate weapons platform for close-air-support missions. Randy Zahn arrived in Vietnam shortly before the 1970 U.S. invasion of Cambodia, one of the most impressive demonstrations by the Cobra in the war. He describes his stunning transformation from a naive, middle-class teenager from southern California to a hardened killer during his tour in Vietnam. Unlike the pilots who flew the fast-moving strike jets, Zahn experienced the war up close and personal, witnessing the grisly effects of the Cobra s firepower on enemy soldiers. The author does not glorify killing but rather explains in sharp relief the kaleidoscope of emotions associated with combat: fear, revenge, hate, remorse, pity, and even ecstasy. He captures many of the ironies and nuances inherent in Vietnam, especially during the final years of the conflict. Zahn displays a sensitivity rarely found in memoirs written by battle-hardened warriors. This human element, combined with the vast amount of archival research and interviews with members of his former unit, ensures that Snake Pilot will become the definitive account of the role helicopters played in Vietnam. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781574886115

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Book Description Potomac Books Inc. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 302 pages. Dimensions: 8.8in. x 5.9in. x 0.9in.Based on audiotapes he recorded during the war and sent home to his family, Randy Zahns Snake Pilot recounts his experiences flying AH-1 Cobra helicopters during the Vietnam War. First deployed in Vietnam in 1967 and loaded with a formidable arsenal of weaponry, the Cobra was the first helicopter designed from inception as an attack aircraft. It dramatically changed the nature of the war in Vietnam by offering the Army, for the first time, its own powerful and highly accurate weapons platform for close-air-support missions. Randy Zahn arrived in Vietnam shortly before the 1970 U. S. invasion of Cambodia, one of the most impressive demonstrations by the Cobra in the war. He describes his stunning transformation from a naive, middle-class teenager from southern California to a hardened killer during his tour in Vietnam. Unlike the pilots who flew the fast-moving strike jets, Zahn experienced the war up close and personal, witnessing the grisly effects of the Cobras firepower on enemy soldiers. The author does not glorify killing but rather explains in sharp relief the kaleidoscope of emotions associated with combat: fear, revenge, hate, remorse, pity, and even ecstasy. He captures many of the ironies and nuances inherent in Vietnam, especially during the final years of the conflict. Zahn displays a sensitivity rarely found in memoirs written by battle-hardened warriors. This human element, combined with the vast amount of archival research and interviews with members of his former unit, ensures that Snake Pilot will become the definitive account of the role helicopters played in Vietnam. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9781574886115

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