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Tales of a Helicopter Pilot Hardcover – January 17, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Books; First Edition edition (January 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560989521
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560989523
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,361,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Born in 1923, Richard was raised in a rural community in California during the Great Depression. At the outbreak of WWII he joined the Army Air Corps and served in the famous "Flying Knights" Fighter Squadron with Major Dick Bong, America's all time ace of aces. Lt. Kirkland flew 103 combat missions in P-38 and P-47 fighters dogfighting Japanese Zeros, attacking enemy installations, ships, and flying escort for bombers. After WWII, Lt. Kirkland was assigned to a top secret project of testing atomic bombs in the Marshall Islands.

During the Korean War, Captain Kirkland traded his wings for rotors and flew 69 helicopter missions rescuing downed pilots from behind enemy lines and snatching wounded soldiers from the battlefield at the 8055 MASH, home of the infamous "Hawkeye." Major Kirkland was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, five Air Medals, the Air Force Commendation Medal and both the U.S. and Korean Presidential citations for his service in WWII and the Korean War.

Richard sketched and painted his surroundings as a boy in California, writing short stories to match his artwork. During his military service he continued, sketching and painting his surroundings, capturing history as it occurred. He used his art for inspiration in his writing. He has written and published numerous magazine short stories and articles, and four books about his experiences. His last book "Wide Place in the Road," is historic fiction, based on true historic incidents with real characters that Richard knew and associated with during the span of the book from the Great Depression through WWII.

Richard is very active at 89 and speaks regularly at various civic, social, and historic societies. He has been a featured speaker at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., and was interviewed on both the American and Canadian History Channels. He and his wife Maria, who is also an artist, have nine children, sixteen grandchildren and one great grandson.

More About the Author

Born in 1923, Richard was raised in a rural community in California's Tehachapi Mountains during the Great Depression. At the outbreak of WWII he joined the Army Air Corps and served in the famous "Flying Knights" Fighter Squadron with Major Dick Bong, America's all time ace of aces. Lieutenant Kirkland flew 103 combat missions in P-38 and P-47 fighters dogfighting Japanese Zeros, attacking enemy installations, ships, and flying escort for bombers.

After WWII, Lt. Kirkland was assigned to a top secret project of testing atomic bombs in the Marshall Islands. When the project was declassified, he wrote "The Ultimate Game," the story of his fascinating experiences with atomic bombs.

During the Korean War, Captain Kirkland traded his wings for rotors and flew 69 helicopter missions rescuing downed pilots from behind enemy lines and snatching wounded soldiers from the battlefield at the 8055 MASH, home of the infamous "Hawkeye." There was a real Hawkeye: Captain Sam Gelfand! Major Kirkland was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, five Air Medals, the Air Force Commendation Medal and both the U.S. and Korean Presidential citations for his service in WWII and the Korean War.

After his military service Richard joined Howard Hughes' Aircraft Division and subsequently in sales and management at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft, and Boeing Aircraft.

Richard had sketched and painted his surroundings as a boy in California's Tehachappi Mountains, writing short stories to match his art work. During his military service he continued, sketching and painting his surroundings, capturing history as it occurred. He subsequently used his art for inspiration in his writing. He has written and published numerous magazine short stories and articles, and four non fiction books about his experiences. (Smithsonian Press and Random House) His last book "Wide Place in the Road," (released June 1, 2012) is historic fiction, based on true historic incidents with real characters that Richard knew and associated with during the span of the book from the Great Depression through World War Two.

Richard is very active and speaks regularly at schools and various civic, social, and historic societies. He has been a featured speaker at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., and was interviewed on both the American and Canadian History Channels. He and his wife Maria, who is also an artist, have nine children, sixteen grandchildren and one great grandson.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
For those of us that are younger than those that served our country in WWII or later in Korea, these stories of some of the earliest uses of the helicopter at the battlefields are sure to astonish. Here are accounts from the perspective of a pilot navigating the air spaces above the battlegrounds of Korea. It presents a view of the helicopter's role in the skirmishes and fighting that was not previously experienced in any wartime and it breathes reality into the stories of the pilots who pioneered that emerging capability of our military. This and the several other books written by Kirkland from his sharp recounting of those days should not be overlooked. There is both historical and personal interest value in all his works for those that now know the freedoms we enjoy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Authentic stories of brave, courageous pilots tell their story to an experienced helicopter pilot. It encompasses civil as well as miitary experiences spanning over 60 years.
Well written with excellent description of people, and their reaction to danger.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chad E. Gillihan on October 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was so well written, informative & entertaining all at the same time that I was done reading it long before I wanted to be done!
I intend to purchase his other book about fixed-wing flying just because if it is half as good as this one I can't go wrong!
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