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Memoirs of a Rotor Head [Kindle Edition]

Patrick Michael Ramsey
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The memoirs of Captain (retired) Patrick Michael Ramsey, from his early life through his service during the Vietnam War, and covering his time after that as a medvac pilot, a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua, and culminating with his work as a National Park Ranger.

Editorial Reviews


  • "As a Vietnam helicopter crewmember I can relate very much with the authors war experiences." - Bobby
  • "I salute a true Warrior, and know that I would jump in a foxhole with you any day." - Oliver
  • "The author writes with knowledge and also with heart about a turbulent time in our history." - Leah
  • "It paints a very vivid picture to the readers and shows the true sacrifices that are made by all those serving in the military." - Sarah

About the Author

Captain (Retired) Patrick Michael Ramsey is Mike to those of us who have known him since school days. Memoirs of a Rotor-Head is interesting, humorous, and insightful. Mike generously shares his life from childhood to retirement.

Mike grew up as the oldest of three children in a small Kansas town. Their dad died when Mike was very young and their mother struggled to hold the family together as a single parent. All three children are college graduates!

After graduating from college Mike joined the Army as a Private, went through Basic training, AIT, Infantry OCS at Ft. Benning, and flight school. He served two back-to-back tours in Vietnam and learned to face death each day.

Mike and I have been friends longer than either of us can remember, we both served in Vietnam, and were military colleagues for many years. It is my privilege to write this foreword. Mike now faces his own mortality from Agent Orange poisoning.

Michael W. Ryan
Major General
AUS (Retired)

Product Details

  • File Size: 1731 KB
  • Print Length: 161 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,156 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review September 25, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
As a boyhood friend of your brother, Tim, I recall when we were 15 years old, and you were home on leave, I believe just finishing your flight training and going to your first assignment at Ft Riley, KS. I can still see you in your "Dress Greens", with the shiny Officer Brass on the uniform. At the time, Tim and I were too young to realize what it took to earn the right, not only wear the uniform, but to earn your first "Bar". Many times when I donned my own uniform, (which now hangs in a museum in Valley Center, KS) the image of you standing in the living room in Uniform with your Mother, vivid in my memory, came to mind. I recently spoke with Tim. His eyes tear, and voice cracks, describing how proud he is of his older brother. I know Mary feels the same way. Your description of flight training was memorable, and brought back memories of my own. Your description of combat can only come from experience and describes combat well. Only those of us who have been there know the indescribable feelings one has. Being engaged is very loud, very fast, and very lethal. As Patton says; "All other fields of endeavor shrink to insignificance when compared to War". Your book brought back memories I know we have all tried to forget. No matter what military service one served, Medals one has, there can be no other Honor bestowed on one, than to be called a "Soldier".
I salute a true Warrior, and know that I would jump in a foxhole with you any day. You are truly a Soldier's Soldier. Your book was well written, informative, and a must read for all Veterans.
For those who fight for it, Freedom has a special flavor the protected will never know.

Your friend;
Oliver (OJ) Hurt
CW/4 (R) MI (CI)
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4.0 out of 5 stars More Than Just Flying Stories December 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As the son of an army aviator, this book caught my attention and I picked it up hoping for some good flying stories. I got much more than I bargained for. While there were plenty of fun and interesting stories, I quite enjoyed the insightful analysis of history and politics throughout the book.


Thank you for making this book available for the free giveaway!
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3.0 out of 5 stars War is Not Pretty February 10, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Pat writes like he lived it and does not mince words. He has harsh but deserving criticism of the military on how they handled the war.
Sad that he is a victim of our misguided programs in VietNam.

An honest story told honestly from his point of view.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Captures the action in Vietnam December 23, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Patrick Michael Ramsey captures his and many others experiences in Vietnam in ways that show the horror as well as the lighter moments of the war. He survived a couple of crashes and reflects on the losses of his friends who didn't make it back. He also portrays some of the insanity and perhaps humor that went with flying a mission to replace a projector bulb or get an overweight cargo of beer. Missions that risked life and limb as well as machine but were deemed worth the effort. Back stateside Ramsey flew medical helicopters and that too had risks. Later he served as a ranger in the National Park Service in various locations, all of them interesting. This is a very readable and enjoyable memoir.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read! December 16, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I found the author's Vietnam experiences very interesting, and I liked how he provided insights into it via his growing up years and early years before the war. How he's continued after the war into satisfying work to support his family, then as a National Park Service ranger and other adventures I found admirable. Very good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Brave Man's Story of Adventure, Honor & Sacrifice December 14, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Ramsay has written a remarkable book, a true and honest personal testament. Born in a small town in the Great Plains, he tells how he joined the Air Cavalry (Silver Spurs), flying numerous combat missions as a Huey chopper pilot during the height of the Vietnam War. He served two back-to-back tours in 1969-1971. Now slowly dying of Agent-Orange, like so many other Vietnam vets, he reflects: "Vietnam was the most exciting time of my life. You treated everyday like it could be your last." After Vietnam, he returned to Kansas, became a single father, studied cultural anthropology, joined the Peace Corp in Nicaragua, became a Park Ranger "in some of the most beautiful places in the United States..." But, looking back on an adventurous life well lived, this native Kansan realizes Vietnam defined him: "I looked death in the face and smiled at the experience. When you live in a war you cherish every moment knowing it could all end in the snap of your fingers or the bang of a bullet. Everyday decisions were made on a life and death level. The decisions I made after Vietnam and the decisions I make today are very seldom on that level, which makes it easy to decide what to do." Pat was one of my students and my teaching assistant, but became so much more than that. He is an exemplary human being and I much admire him, for he embodies the true American spirit. Once a chopper pilot, flying a noisy steel-bodied storm bird over tropical jungles very far away and long ago, he is now back in his home town, with majestic eagles soaring quietly in the blue skies high above open prairies. Captain (ret.) Ramsay's book is interesting because its author personifies the adventurous "can-do" mentality that has made this country great. A wounded warrior himself, he has decided to donate the proceeds of his memoir to the Wounded Warriors Project. A generous gesture befitting a noble son of Kansas....
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars good read
Enjoyed this story. The first half was better than the second half. I still enjoyed the book and recommend it
Published 4 months ago by Tom
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story of a Vietnam helicopter pilot. Told from personal...
This was a most interesting read. As a Vietnam helicopter crewmember I can relate very much with the authors war experiences. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Bobby McBride
3.0 out of 5 stars split decision
First half of the book details growing up as a kid, training and then serving in Vietnam. Second half, life after Vietnam. Read more
Published 15 months ago by JAG
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I am compelled to refute the 1 critical review (out of 6 total) by saying that I enjoyed the book. Not everyone has lived such a varied life and it was both informative and... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Radio290
2.0 out of 5 stars Illiterate
This book is appallingly written and descriptively barren. Anybody interested in the helicopter war in Vietnam should read Chickenhawk instead.
Published 15 months ago by Jonix
5.0 out of 5 stars Memoirs of a Rotor Head
An exciting read on a troublesome time. This book takes the reader from childhood in a small town, to the Viet Nam war, parenthood, the Peace Corp and into retirement. Read more
Published 16 months ago by E. Hageman
5.0 out of 5 stars Memoirs Of A Rotor Head
An example of sacrifice and service to a country and its people. From Vietnam Air Cavalry pilot to Life Star pilot; from Peace Corps volunteer to National Park Ranger. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Edward G Ryan
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More About the Author

Patrick Michael Ramsey grew up the oldest of three children in Clay Center, Kansas. Mike's father served in WWII and died in 1954 from complications from surgery. His mother struggled to support the family. Money was tight but all of her children graduated from college.

Mike joined the Army as a private. After basic training, he went on to flight school and served two back-to-back tours in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot. Mike had many extraordinary experiences in Vietnam and faced death every day. He continued to use his pilot experience later in life and flew a helicopter in Medvac Life Star, a flight-for-life helicopter service. When he retired as a pilot, Mike went back to college and then joined the Peace Corps. He was a small business technical advisor in Nicaragua. After the Peace Corps Mike wanted one more adventure so he became a Park Ranger in the National Park Service. Mike served in national parks all over the country--from the Grand Canyon to the Gulf Island National Seashore.

In "Memoirs of a Rotor Head," Mike discusses his experiences in Vietnam and what he and other veterans regard as a failure, perhaps even a betrayal by our government in not informing Vietnam Veterans of the health risks of exposure to chemical agents like Agent Orange as well as misleading the American public about the reasons for the war. He further goes on to relate his time as a flight-for-life helicopter pilot, a Peace Corps volunteer, and as a National Park Ranger. HIs life story brings history alive and ends with a taste of the national wonders of our country.

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