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Heart of the Storm: My Adventures as a Helicopter Rescue Pilot and Commander Hardcover – April 1, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
During his 30 years in the Air Force and Air National Guard, Fleming made a career of descending from the sky to pluck disaster victims from the jaws of floods, storms, sharks and polar white-outs. His gripping memoir vividly illustrates how tenuous the life of a deus ex machina can be. Fleming recalls the tragic and sometimes gruesome deaths of unlucky colleagues who succumbed to the elements and recounts hair-raising missions that often took place at night, flown through hazardous weather (including the vicious noreaster Sebastian Junger made famous in The Perfect Storm) in fragile helicopters prone to mechanical breakdown. Avoiding gung-ho special-ops bluster, he probes the human flaws and lapsesincompetent, panicky pilots, abusive officers, penny-pinching bureaucrats who refuse to pay for much-needed equipmentthat bedevil even elite outposts of the military. Flemings sober, straightforward, well-paced style lucidly conveys the lore of helicopter flight and the practical difficulties of rescue missions while letting the heroics speak for themselves. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A real gift for adventure readers, this is the autobiography of a veteran U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard rescue helicopter pilot. The title refers to where Fleming spent a good deal of his time, including during the "Perfect Storm" of book and movie fame and on the longest helicopter rescue mission ever flown--to rescue the sole survivor of a freighter lost off Newfoundland. Fleming also survived Vietnam-era helicopter training and some instructors with more attitude than knowledge; in turn, he trained some would-be helicopter pilots who should never have set foot in one of the complicated, fragile, versatile, and now indispensable machines. He served in the Gulf War and, toward the end of his career, organized the complex mission that rescued cancer-stricken Dr. Jerri Nielsen from the South Pole. Now a teacher of college-level leadership courses, Fleming is less gifted as a writer than as a pilot, which, however, doesn't detract much from his exciting recollections. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
This book is full of heroes... and a few malcontents, imcompetents and villains. He bravely steps up to describe the politics of the national guard. Where officers may be elevated for political reasons despite their shortcomings. His criticism is not couched in the whining of a man dissapointed by his leaders. It is a thoughtful observation of the things that go awry, even to the best of us. His determination to stay with his unit, then to move forward despite rejection, criticism and professional "second guessing" speak more about his character than the eagles on his shoulder or the ribbons on his chest.
Col Fleming reminds me of the ubiquitous "Old Sage" in every military unit. The Colonel or Master Sergeant who regailed there charges with the "old corps" stories of past glory and disappointment. These stories, often funny, sometimes tragic were tinged with morals and lessons to be learned and incorporated into the professional and personal lives of their young officers, NCOs and airmen. In an axiom that defines military men and women through time, the good ones learned there lessons from the Old Sage, the bad ones learned them the hard way.
Col Fleming has taken us all into his world and through his writing we come away with a deeper sense of gratitude and understanding for the people who stand in harm's way for us.
A Real Warrior sharing his world... an outstanding book
Most recent customer reviews
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