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Rattler One-Seven: A Vietnam Helicopter Pilotís War Story (North Texas Military Biography and Memoir Series)

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Rattler One-Seven: A Vietnam Helicopter Pilotís War Story (North Texas Military Biography and Memoir Series) [Paperback]

Chuck Gross
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 13, 2006 North Texas Military Biography and Memoir Series (Book 1)
Rattler One-Seven puts you in the helicopter seat, to see the war in Vietnam through the eyes of an inexperienced pilot as he transforms himself into a seasoned combat veteran.

When Chuck Gross left for Vietnam in 1970, he was a nineteen-year-old Army helicopter pilot fresh out of flight school. He spent his entire Vietnam tour with the 71st Assault Helicopter Company flying UH-1 Huey helicopters. Soon after the war he wrote down his adventures, while his memory was still fresh with the events. Rattler One-Seven (his call sign) is written as Gross experienced it, using these notes along with letters written home to accurately preserve the mindset he had while in Vietnam.

During his tour Gross flew Special Operations for the MACV-SOG, inserting secret teams into Laos. He notes that Americans were left behind alive in Laos, when official policy at home stated that U.S. forces were never there.

He also participated in Lam Son 719, a misbegotten attempt by the ARVN to assault and cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail with U.S. Army helicopter support. It was the largest airmobile campaign of the war and marked the first time that the helicopter was used in mid-intensity combat, with disastrous results. Pilots in their early twenties, with young gunners and a Huey full of ARVN soldiers, took on experienced North Vietnamese antiaircraft artillery gunners, with no meaningful intelligence briefings or a rational plan on how to cut the Trail. More than one hundred helicopters were lost and more than six hundred aircraft sustained combat damage. Gross himself was shot down and left in the field during one assault. Rattler One-Seven will appeal to those interested in the Vietnam War and to all armed forces, especially aviators, who have served for their country.

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Rattler One-Seven: A Vietnam Helicopter Pilotís War Story (North Texas Military Biography and Memoir Series) + To The Limit: An Air Cav Huey Pilot in Vietnam + Firebirds: The Best First Person Account of Helicopter Combat in Vietnam Ever Written
Price for all three: $29.30

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gross joined the army in November 1968 at age 18 to fly helicopters, believing the Vietnam War would be over by the time he completed his flight training. It wasn't. He put in a year in the war zone, from May 1970 to May 1971, as a young Huey helicopter pilot, flying hundreds of dangerous missions under the Rattler 17 call sign with the 71st Assault Helicopter Company near Chu Lai and later in Quang Tri. Gross took part in the massive Operation Lam Son 719 in February 1971, when American forces provided air and artillery support for Army of South Vietnam troops who crossed into Laos to raid the Ho Chi Minh Trail. His war memoir is heavy on detail; Gross dutifully, and sometimes dully, describes his day-to-day activities in the air and on the ground. Reflections on the latter include passages on his interactions with his fellow pilots and superior officers and with the Vietnamese "hootch maids" who did the GIs' laundry and polished their boots, as well as details of his R&R and leave time in Australia. He offers some commentary ("What bothers me most is that we could have won the war!"), but wealth of detail, rather than of insight, is the draw.
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.


“Exciting reading! Chuck Gross vividly tells the dramatic account of being a combat helicopter pilot in such a way that you feel you are there. Gross sets the story of combat aviation with a graphic backdrop of chaos and carnage. Rattler One-Seven is a compelling memoir of what it was like to fly combat helicopters in Vietnam. It is a must-read for all military and aviation enthusiasts.”--Chuck Carlock, author of Firebirds

“Chuck Gross’s book tells exactly what it was like to fly a Huey slick in combat in the Vietnam War. The only things missing are the smells of gunpowder and the incredible noise as he takes the reader on combat assaults into hot landing zones.” --James Joyce, author of Pucker Factor 10

“As a helicopter pilot with combat experience in Vietnam, I could readily relate to Gross’s experiences—several of them had the hair on the back of my neck standing up! Rattler One-Seven will make an important contribution to the Vietnam War literature. There’s nothing else like it out there.” --John F. Guilmartin Jr., Lt. Col. USAF (Ret), and professor of history, Ohio State University

“Gross’s memoir is worth reading . . . because of his description of the chaos and incompetence that accompanied Vietnamization. . . . His stories should find an audience among serious collectors of books about Vietnam.” --Military History of the West

“The writing is vivid and painfully accurate at times. Rattler One-Seven is truly the best helicopter story by a pilot coming out of the Vietnam War.”—Military Writers Society of America

“One idea that comes out well is how some missions went smoothly, while others were complete disasters. Gross describes, for example, how the orders of incompetent commanders contributed to the shooting down of several of his company’s helicopters and the subsequent waste of American lives. . . . This is an excellent book and well worth reading.”—Air Power History

Rattler One-Seven portrays the world of a helicopter company in Vietnam with immediacy and intimate detail.”—Military Trader

Product Details

  • Series: North Texas Military Biography and Memoir Series (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: University of North Texas Press; New edition edition (June 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574412213
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574412215
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #644,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

CHUCK GROSS was raised in Golden Valley, Minnesota. At the age of nineteen, he served as an Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam where he logged more than 1,200 hours of combat flying. After the war, he became a commercial pilot and spent his career flying. At age fifty two, he retired early from American Airlines as a 767/757 Captain to pursue his other interests including: writing, teaching martial arts, flying helicopters and mission work. He currently resides in Gallatin, Tennessee.

Visit Chuck's website at www.vietnamhelicopterpilot.com to read more about Chuck and his books.

Check out Chuck's new books "IN SEARCH OF TRUTH" available in trade paperback and "FIRST LIGHT" available in trade paperback and Kindle.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The way that it really was! August 8, 2004
Rattler One Seven is a rare view into the mind, heart, and emotions of one boy's journey into manhood through the firestorm of the Vietnam Conflict from Special Secret Operations to the little known but bloodiest operation of the entire war, Lamson 719. Chuck Gross relives the days and events that tested every fiber of his being as a young idealistic American assault helicopter pilot. His story is personal and candid. He shares exactly what he thought and felt as he transitioned from a midwestern high school graduate into a seasoned Senior Aircraft Commander in three short but unforgettable years. The facts and events that he relates in his "memoir" are, to the best of my knowledge and recollection accurate, and at times painfully so. I know this because I also served as a helicopter Aircraft Commander in his unit. My call sign was Rattler 12 (One Two)

The author brings the reader into the 71st Assault Helicopter Company of the infamous Americal Devision from his arrival through his departure and finally to his return to an ambivalent nation. To those of us who served with Chuck in 1970 -1971 this book is, in many ways, our story too. He includes the good and the bad as he pulls no punches in airing some of our dirty laundry along with the unembellished acts of heroism that characterized our unit's daily operation.

This book will appeal to the seasoned veteran and the history buff as well as the novice reader just being introduced to the Vietnam War. It is clearly and carefully written and includes many mundane facts that, to my knowledge, are not recorded in the rest of Vietnam War history but were so much a part of the culture shock of the "Vietnam experience"
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AS REAL AND TRUE A STORY AS THEY GET! June 5, 2006
Sometimes I read a good book that interests me, then on a very rare occasion, I pick up a great book that captures my fullest attention; such was the candid memoir from Huey helicopter pilot Chuck Gross. He has authored an historic book for the ages. One that takes us through the firestorms of some very "hot LZs" and pulls us directly into the action, as if we were getting a pilot's eye-view of the Vietnam War. The writing is vivid and painfully accurate at times. "Rattler One-Seven" is truly the best helicopter story by a pilot coming out of the Vietnam War.

Chuck allows us to fly along with him and his unit, the Rattlers, where we get to meet their gunners, crew-chiefs and other pilots. Take it from someone who has been there and done that -- this is very close to having the real experience yourself from the safety of your sofa. The book is a good insider look at the world of Assault Helicopter units in Nam.

Book Cover is an award winning art piece by Vietnam Veteran artist Joe Kline

The book also was a 2004 Distinguished Medal winner from the The Military Writer's Society of America

I give this book my personal recomemendation! It is a FIVE STAR BOOK but if I were able to give it more stars I would do so!!!!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Book May 17, 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a veteran of this war and someone who has

spent time in the back of Huey's. I found this a

very good read. But the good thing about this

book is that its written so well that has appeal

across a wide range of exerience and interests.

The author doesn't use lingo without explaining

it, so you don't have to have been there to under-


A good read. Thanks Mr Gross and Welcome Home!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rattler one-seven December 14, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a former Vietnam helicopter pilot, I lived a similar life in "Nam" so I know the story was factual and well written. The author was single minded in getting home alive and keeping those flying with him as safe as he could make it for them. I enjoyed his professionalism in flying and striving to be the best in a bad situation. The combat assualts were great and I was "in the cockpit with him" as he described the action. Good reading for vet and non-vet alike as to what it was like to be in a true airmobile war.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rattler One-Seven Review August 20, 2004
If you have ever wanted to know what it was like to be a helicopter pilot during the most significant war in our history where helicopters were used, this is a MUST READ. Not only do you sit in the seat with the pilots and the gunners, but you will FEEL the war exactly as a 19 year old pilot experienced it: saving soldiers lives in the field, risking everything for the wounded, and ultimately having a front row seat to the greatest helicopter assault ever used in warefare--Lam Son 719. Find out why the soldiers in the field called these "Rattlers" the bravest soldiers in the war. You won't find this in any history books! It is one of the most unique books I have ever read.

Allen Schemmel

Hendersonville, TN
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eeerily Familiar April 30, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It almost felt like I flew with the author, Chuck Gross. I,too,flew slicks in Vietnam. I arrived in June 1971 just as the author left. I flew out of Chu Lai as did Rattler 17. My call sign was Minuteman 17. His narrative brought back many memories, good and bad. Over the years I have heard stories of Lam Son 719 from pilots who flew in that conflict, but I never realized the magnitude and horror they survived. He does a great job explaining the intricacies of how a helicopter works and the techniques of flying in combat.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 2 days ago by Richard L Perry
5.0 out of 5 stars Puts you right there...not a "history" but a good feeling for "being...
This was well written and you feel like you're right there with Chuck. It is interesting to see how his opinions about the military and the war evolve through the book. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Richard C. Vaughan
5.0 out of 5 stars Losing your youth
The book was well written and being a Vietnam vet myself ,I was able to relate to the book and the sacrifices Chuck endured. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Average writing
Not a bad story but full of military bs. This guy would not have been a popular member of the team. Not particularly well written with too much straight-laced military rhetoric. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dave Chapman
5.0 out of 5 stars :Excellent book
Very well written and makes you feel like you are in the helicopter with the author.. Very interesting take on the authors time in Vietnam and the public discourse that was taking... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Davey Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story.
I've read this one twice. I thank the author for sharing his story. He did a great job describing a totally different world and time.
Published 1 month ago by David E. Hallman
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories of RVN
This book is very well written portrayal of life in Viet Nam during that time in the war. I was an Army Aviator in country Nov. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Marvin G. Gregoire
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story
Pretty good read. Detail was lacking in certain areas, but overall was good. People tend to overlook the sacrifices our Vietnam veterans made.
Published 3 months ago by James R. West
5.0 out of 5 stars The Day To Day
This is a simply written account of the day to day life of a Huey pilot. There is the monotony of endless hours of flying, the constant fatigue, and the terror and grief of flying... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Momklok
5.0 out of 5 stars This story is told by a pilot and is a great read.
This man's story, as he tells it is exciting, and informative to those that are pilots and those interested in flying. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Bruce
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