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Bury Us Upside Down: The Misty Pilots and the Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail Paperback – February 27, 2007

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Frequently Bought Together

Bury Us Upside Down: The Misty Pilots and the Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail + Misty: First Person Stories of the F-100 Fast FACs in the Vietnam War + When Thunder Rolled: An F-105 Pilot over North Vietnam
Price for all three: $42.24

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press; Reprint edition (February 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345465385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345465382
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This thoroughly readable, absorbing history chronicles the air operations known as Misty (officially called Commando Sabre) along the Ho Chi Minh trail during the Vietnam War. Flying mostly F-100s, the air force pilots acted as FACs (forward air controllers) for strike aircraft, directing them to North Vietnamese supply convoys and other targets along the conduit. Newman, a journalist, and Shepperd, a retired two-star air force general and current CNN commentator, launch their account with the story of Howard K. Williams, a pilot shot down on a Misty mission in 1968 and declared deceased in 1978 (his remains were recovered in 1991). They also bring to life a wide cast of Misty characters, including Williams's long-suffering widow, Monalee, daredevil Jim Fiorelli, hyperconfident pilot Dick Rutan and several airmen who were shot down, captured and tortured. Shepperd, a former Misty pilot, also figures in the story, as does Sen. John McCain, who provides the book's foreword. The courage and skill of the pilots emerges clearly, as does the dubious bureaucratic rationale that subjected their families to nightmarish ordeals. A distinguished addition to Vietnam War aviation literature, the volume raises serious questions about both tactics and politics. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Praise for Bury Us Upside Down

"The stories . . . are vivid and timeless: : the North Vietnamese gunner who was so inept that the Mistys had a standing order not to shoot him; the pilot who dissuaded his new commander from launching night Misty missions by taking him on a night flight and surreptitiously switching on the outboard lights over heavy ground fire; the Misty custom of igniting their afterburners over POW sites, sending out a familiar booming noise that told the downed airmen they were not forgotten. [A] gripping narrative. . . . It's a fabulous read."
–The Washington Post

“This is a true story about real warriors–both those who came home and those who did not–and the legacy they left. The story of the Misty pilots fills a gap in our understanding of the Vietnam War, and reminds armchair tacticians what the true cost of war is, and who pays the price.”
–Joseph Galloway, co-author of We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young

“Rip that Nintendo out of your kid’s hands and hand him Bury Us Upside Down! This outstanding book will give him insight into what real aerial combat, flown by real heroes, is like. Undoubtedly the best book of its type, Bury Us Upside Down is the truth writ bold and simple–the story of the men who fought the war flying the toughest missions imaginable, and their families. It is a book of heroes, and just reading it gives you insight into what a true hero feels.”
–Walter J. Boyne, former director, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

“With its great in-the-cockpit stories of the first jet-fighter combat forward air controllers, Bury Us Upside Down is an incredible account of how it all started. The reader will feel the G forces, the strain of avoiding ground fire, the satisfaction of a completed rescue, the black humor of combat-hardened pilots, and the effects on the families of those who didn’t return. But most of all the reader will feel proud America can produce such men.”
–Mark Berent, author of the Rolling Thunder series

“[A] thoroughly readable, absorbing history . . . a distinguished addition to Vietnam War aviation literature.”
–Publishers Weekly

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

This book was a really good read, well written and the author really managed to keep my interest up.
I can only say "thank you" to the guys who flew these missions, and thanks to Mr. Shepard and Newman for telling us their story.
I had read about the Yankee Station carrier operations and the F-105 Thud campaigns mounted out of Thai airbases previously.
Michael A. Duvernois

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Williams on March 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
After 27 years and 6,000 hours of flying fighters for the USAF.USN, USAFR and the Kansas ANG and 110 missions over Viet Nam, I have been there and done all that. But, I could not put the book done until I finished it. Extremely well written and documented. Tells the story from the Jock's point of view and from the sad life of all those left behind to wait. Brought me tears and laughter. You will love it very much. This really is a 10 star story!

Ronald K. Williams, Fighter pilot, Colonel USAFR
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Diego on May 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Bury Us Upside Down" came as a real surprise. Although I am of the Vietnam era, I am not a Vietnam veteran. (I lucked into No. 366 in the draft lottery and, frankly, was relieved that I wouldn't have to go.) Nor am I an avid reader of military histories of the war. But this book grabbed me from the start and wouldn't let me put it down. The story of "The Misty Pilots and the Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail" is compelling on its face and not well known to the general reader. Here it gets a taut telling in tightly constructed, thoroughly researched chapters packed with detail and drama. The accounts of the Misty pilots' attempts, successful and otherwise, to rescue downed aviators are especially gripping and, I'm not ashamed to say, made me proud to be an American. It's amazing to think that fully one-fourth of the Misty pilots were either shot down, captured, or killed. The risks they took were stunning. We may now associate American air superiority with precision-guided weapons that allow our forces to dominate from a great distance, but this flying was up close and personal. One author of "Bury Us Upside Down" is a seasoned magazine writer, and the other is a former Misty who became an Air Force general and now is a TV commentator. It's a winning combination. They give the Misty pilots, incredibly skilled aviators and men of unquestioned courage, their due without glossing over their human foibles and occasional lapses in judgment. The Misty pilots come alive as men in these pages, and you get to feel you know them. The authors also provide a pilot's view of the war that is often a portrait in frustration and a case study of the limits of air power. The unremitting flow of men and materiel down the Ho Chi Minh Trail is awesome in its own way.Read more ›
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By D. F SHAFER on May 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 1967 I got my F100 "dollar ride" at Cannon AFB in New Mexico. I was an Air Force Academy cadet who only knew about the Misty pilots through the USAF grapevine and references to "fast FAC" programs. Those F100 fast FAC pilots and the POWs, like Lance Sijan (read "into the Mouth of the Cat: The Story of Lance Sijan, Hero of Vietnam"), were real heros to us. Cadets who were my upperclassmen knew many of the pilots. Their brothers, cousins and friends were in my squadron. All of us lived the Vietnam war every day.

This book is a fantastic story and well structured around the story of Howard K. Williams. His experiences as a Misty pilot are a foil for the telling of the history of the entire program. Not just the Misty program but the entire nightmare of the MIA experience for the families of all those missing is covered in this book. The POW experience in Hanoi, Laos (short and deadly) and south Vietnam is well covered and tied into the Misty program.

Misty was a finished program by the time I graduated and went on active duty but Vietnam was not. I worked the Igloo White program, the instrumentation of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Misty pilots did not have a lot of use for the "pinball wizards" at NKP/TFA. That is another story but one that will one day be told. We worked closely with the successors to Misty. All of us in Southeast Asia came away with different views of the "elephant" that was the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The one thing upon which we could all agree was that the Washington politics over shadowed the technology, the bravery and the efforts put in by those "on the ground" to make an attempt to win a politically un-winnable war. Let's hope that after three years Iraq doesn't end up this way.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Antone S. Bulat on April 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am a good friend of Don Shepperd, but that didn't bias my review in the least. I read his first book.."Misty," and was absolutely mesmorized by the stories and the familiar names. After all, I flew the Hun also, out of Tuy Hoa in 1970 as the Mysty's were ending their glorious life.Many of them still guided us into the same dumb locations in Laos, but it wasn't the same.

This second book shows a lot more polish and skill as one would expect, after having done one before. Give credit to Rick Newman here. The rough edges have definitely been honed smooth.Together these two men, and all their helpers did one fine job of sewing a piece of time with all the players together.Not easy by a long shot.

Some of the stories are the same as before, but too good to leave out. Those are precious. So are the heartbreaks. That's what makes this book such a wonderful read. You can feel the emotion, whether you are the fighter jock, or the wife thousands

of miles away.

Some might say I'm biased because I did fly the F-100 in combat,and have known "Shep" for about 30 years now, and also know many of the people in the book. I say..."what's that got to do with it?" My opinion is the story is very real, and very

well written, told better than most of us would like to believe.

It's reality, it happened, funny at times, tragic at others. So is life. Damn good read. Don't pass on this one.

Tony Bulat,LTC,USAF(Ret)
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