Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Two Marines walk into a bar...

This is a true story, It happened last Friday night.

Mt wife and I went to our nearby winery to listen to one of favorite musical groups, Sadie Wagoner and her father Mike. They are fantastic. Want to hear the greatest ever rendition of HALLELUJAH just google "Sadie Wagoner...Hallelujah,"  Here is the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5fhIEv635U   But that is not what this post is about.

At the bar, I was talking to a friend, Rex and his wife Annie,  Rex asked me how my book sales were going, so we started discussing it.  Another Marine down the bar heard our conversation and asked to talk to me about my USMC and Vietnam experience. I had never met this Marine before. We sat down, had a drink and and did the usual thing comparing experiences. Turns out he was atop the Rockpile observation post that I landed on to resupply the troops up there. In telling him that I landed there, I showed him my bookmark that shows the cover of my book, an H-34 landing on the platform.

 He said, "I built that platform."






Here is a link to a story about this Marine I met, Roy Calhoun:
He just recently was awarded a Silver Star for his heroic actions in Vietnam in 1967.

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2009/apr/03/1n3star005739-hero-finally-gets-his-due/

I think we have the beginning of a great friendship.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Ravens in Laos during the Vietnam War

The Air Force had small spotter planes looking for the enemy and interdicting the supply chain on the
Ho Chi Minh Trail.  These guys had brass balls the size of baseballs.

http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/the-ravens-and-the-secret-air-war-in-laos/5/


One of these guys was shot down on January 31st, 1972.
I managed to find him and rescue him with a high-hover hoist rescue with my H-34.

see "The Rescue of Raven 1-1" on you tube:  link:

http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi1828127257

For this rescue I received no medals, no rewards except knowing I had helped a fellow aviator out of a tight.
34 years later, he bought me a bottle of Scotch.


Monday, October 12, 2015

USMC helicopters in Korean War

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aK2P7xFQQU8

a good book that goes into details in "The Calvary of the Skies."

Sunday, September 13, 2015

a tricky lift job

Here is a short video of some folks doing a very challenging lift job.

I did similar work lifting things to the tops of tall buildings, but never anything this challenging.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJHlXe_RnYo

Monday, August 24, 2015

a reminder...buy my book!



http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Helicopter-Pilot-helicopter-Vietnam/dp/1500936138/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429729233&sr=1-1&keywords=collier+helicopter

http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Helicopter-Pilot-helicopter-Vietnam/dp/1500936138/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429729233&sr=1-1&keywords=collier+helicopter

Friday, August 21, 2015

Army Helicopter training

This is a link to a story about U S Army helicopter training in HUEYS.

http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/heroes-fort-wolters-180956245/?no-ist

Monday, August 3, 2015

Great picture by the late Mike Leahy, "Hot Recon Extract."

more..."God's own lunatics." H-46's in Vietnam

The H-46 replaced the H-34 in Vietnam in 1968.
It turned out to be a great machine after some initial "developmental problems."


https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=90&v=eQCoNX4uMms

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Who views this site?

United States
198
Portugal
26
Germany
25
France
12
India
10
Russia
7
Greece
6
Poland
5
Algeria
3
Ukraine
3

Charlie the follower...

video

Monday, July 13, 2015

Charie the STAR of the 4th of July Parade

                         H-34 "Charlie" won First Place on the 4th of July in our local home-town parade.


Here is a picture of the old beastie at the beginning of the parade,
 Towmeister Everett Wood posing in front of the H-34.



Here is a picture of the banners on the side of the rotor blades thanking Actor-Author/man of many talents Ben Stein for his generous support over the years. This project could not have happened without his continued support.  And a HUGE THANK YOU to Pend Oreille Mechanical for their generosity in allowing Charlie to nest in their side yard on Hwy 2.  Having her so near the start and end of the parade has removed huge hassles from our parade involvement.




A HUGE, blatant commercial plug here for Pend OReille Mechanical. If you need any heating or air conditioning work done around your home, business or shop, think Pend Oreille Mechanical first.
Doug and Norm are the greatest!


Here is one or our Marine Corps League members showing a boy the helicopter:.


In exchange, the boys mother gave me a big hug. It's true, helicopter pilots get all the chicks!


Here are the grand daughters, Miya and Syanne, from Santa Rosa, CA "driving" Charlie thru town for the parade and blowing bubbles out the windows, too. For the first time ever, we felt comfortable having passengers in the belly. Five  passengers enjoyed the ride and waved flags. True fans!




                         Below, Chris Siler, Ev Wood and Ken Conger await the start of the parade.
Ken is our official photographer.
Chris was visiting from Santa Rosa with two of our grand daughters, who "drove" Charlie through town.


Above is Charlie right at the end of the parade.

Everett Wood once again pulled Charlie with great expertize. We couldn't get the other gate opened at the yard to make the circular driveway, but Ev was able to back Charlie in without a hitch. He da' man!


We are having fun now.


I flew H-34s for the majority of my flying career of 32 years.
Last September I finally finished my book--25 years in the writing--about my experience as a 
USMC H-34 pilot in Vietnam. 
It is available on amazon.com as a paperback or as an ebook.

http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Helicopter-Pilot-helicopter-Vietnam/dp/1500936138/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429729233&sr=1-1&keywords=collier+helicopter

I am currently working on two sequels.
One is my grand adventure as a helicopter pilot for Air America (The CIA) in Laos during the war, 
and the other is my experiences as an
H-19 and as an H-34 pilot in Alaska over four summers in Alaska.
Oh, yea, Jet Rangers, too.
Watch this space.







Sunday, July 12, 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015

John Steinbeck on Helicopter Pilots.

John Steinbeck on Helicopter Pilots.
John Steinbeck, a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning writer in one of his dispatches to Alicia Patterson at Newsday, part of his assignment to write about what he saw in Vietnam in 1966-67, just a year before his death.
“Alicia, I wish I could tell you about these pilots. They make me sick with envy. They ride their vehicles the way a man controls a fine, well-trained quarter horse. They weave along stream beds, rise like swallows to clear trees, they turn and twist and dip like swifts in the evening. I watch their hands and feet on the controls, the delicacy of the coordination reminds me of the sure and seeming slow hands of (Pablo) Casals on the cello. They are truly musician’s hands and they play their controls like music and they dance them like ballerinas and they make me jealous because I want so much to do it. Remember your child night dream of perfect flight free and wonderful? It's like that, and sadly I know I never can. My hands are too old and forgetful to take orders from the command center, which speaks of updrafts and side winds, of drift and shift, or ground fire indicated by a tiny puff or flash, or a hit and all these commands must be obeyed by the musicians hands instantly and automatically. I must take my longing out in admiration and the joy of seeing it. Sorry about that leak of ecstasy, Alicia, but I had to get it out or burst.”
John Steinbeck, a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning writer in one of his dispatches to Alicia Patterson at Newsday, part of his assignment to write about what he saw in Vietnam in 1966-67, just a year before his death.
“Alicia, I wish I could tell you about these pilots. They make me sick with envy. They ride their vehicles the way a man controls a fine, well-trained quarter horse. They weave along stream beds, rise like swallows to clear trees, they turn and twist and dip like swifts in the evening. I watch their hands and feet on the controls, the delicacy of the coordination reminds me of the sure and seeming slow hands of (Pablo) Casals on the cello. They are truly musician’s hands and they play their controls like music and they dance them like ballerinas and they make me jealous because I want so much to do it. Remember your child night dream of perfect flight free and wonderful? It's like that, and sadly I know I never can. My hands are too old and forgetful to take orders from the command center, which speaks of updrafts and side winds, of drift and shift, or ground fire indicated by a tiny puff or flash, or a hit and all these commands must be obeyed by the musicians hands instantly and automatically. I must take my longing out in admiration and the joy of seeing it. Sorry about that leak of ecstasy, Alicia, but I had to get it out or burst.”

Monday, May 11, 2015

Joe Galloway speaks at VHPA convention 2011

Joe Galloway Speech at the  Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association 2011 Convention
"Thanks to all of you for giving me the honor of speaking to you. I have got to tell you that looking out across this assemblage I must confess: I haven't seen this many bad boys collected in one location since the last time I visited Leavenworth Prison.
When I first learned that I would be doing this gig I asked an aviator buddy of mine what else I needed to know......and he said, well, most of you would be bringing your wives along.......that half of you were so  deaf that you couldn't hear a word of what I was saying.....the other half would be so  drunk you couldn't understand what I was saying..... so I might just as well talk to the ladies......
I have waited years to be able to share this story with so august a group of aviator veterans as this: A few years ago I was at a large official dinner and I was seated next to a nice lady who was the wife of a two-star general. I knew the lady had two college-age daughters and I also knew that one of them had been dating a Cavalry lieutenant.......so I thought to make some polite conversation and I offered her my condolences at her daughter's choice of companionship. "Oh No!" the general's wife said. "He is a fine young man. Nothing wrong with him......and at least he isn't a xzxzxxzx aviator!"
I just wanted you to know that your successors in the business continue to win friends and influence people in high places. Before I go along any further in this thing I need to ask you some questions: --Is there anyone here who flew with the 1st Cavalry Division? The 229th? The 227th? How about the old 119th out of Holloway? Any Marine pilots who flew them old CH-34 Shuddering xxxxhouses??? Now I know I am among close friends......I know that old Ray Burns from Ganado, Texas, is here.....and I have got to tell you a story about me and Ray that goes back to October of 1965. Plei Me SF Camp was under siege by a regiment of North Vietnamese regulars. I was trying to get in there.....like a fool......but after an A1E and a B57 Canberra and one Huey had been shot down they declared it a No-Fly Zone. So I was stomping up and down the flight line at Holloway cussing......when I ran across Ray. He asked what the problem was and I told him. He allowed as how he had been wanting to get a look at that situation and would give me a ride......
I still have a picture I shot out the open door of Ray's Huey. We are doing a kind of corkscrew descent and the triangular berms and wire of the camp below fill that doorway.....along with the puffs of smoke from the impacting mortar rounds inside the camp. .....I can scare myself bad just looking at that photo.
Well old Ray drops on in and I jump out....and the Yards boil out of the trenches and toss a bunch of wounded in the door and Ray is pulling pitch.....grinning......and giving me the bird. When the noise is gone this sergeant major runs up: Sir, I don't know who you are but Major Beckwith wants to see you right away. I ask which one is the major and I am informed he is the very big guy over there jumping up and down on his hat. I go over slowly. The dialogue goes something like this: Who the hell are you?  A reporter.   Son, I need everything in the world from food and ammo to water....to medevac......to reinforcements.....and I wouldn't mind a bottle of Jim Beam.......but what I do not need is a xxxx reporter.
And what has the Army in its wisdom delivered to me? Well....I got news for you.....you ain't a reporter no more; you are my new corner machine gunner." Ray.....I want to thank you for that ride.......wasn't for you and Chuck Oualline I wouldn't have had half as much fun in Vietnam. .....every story anyone has about Vietnam starts and ends with a helicopter......you guys were simply fantastic. Thank you all. Thank you for every thing....large and small.
Now I guess I got to get down to business.   All of you know that I have spent most of the last forty years hanging out with the Infantry.....a choice some folks view as perverse if not totally insane. But there was always method in my madness: With the Infantry things happen close enough that I can see what's happening.....and slowly enough most times that even I can understand what I'm seeing. There's just this one little downside to my long experience with the Infantry:
During that time I have personally been bombed.....rocketed.....strafed..... and napalmed by the U.S. Air Force.....U.S. Navy......U.S. Marines.....and U.S. Army Aviation......as well as by the air forces of South Vietnam.....Laos......Sri Lanka......India......and Pakistan. Now I don't consider myself an inconsiderable target.....and wasn't even back when I could fit comfortably behind a palm tree......but here I am....running my mouth.....nothing hurt beyond my dignity. Don't get me wrong; I don't hold any grudges against those gallant winged warriors. But ever since the first time they attacked me and missed.....I have never ever used the words "surgical bombing strike" in any story I ever wrote.
I had the chance to say some good things about all of you at the Memorial Service at The Wall on Sunday. I meant every word of that..... and more. You chopper guys were our heroes in Vietnam. You were our rides....but you were much much more than that. We were always either cussing you for hauling our butts into deep kimchi.....or ready to kiss you for hauling us out of it. I have a feeling that without you and your birds that would have been a much shorter and far more brutish war.
You were our heroes, though, first last and always. You saved us from having to walk to work every day. You brought in our food and ammo and water.....and sometimes even a marmite can full of hot chow. To this day I think the finest meal I ever ate was a canteen cup full of hot split pea soup that a Huey delivered to a hilltop in the dry paddies of the Bong Son Plain in January of 1966. For a moment there I thought if the Army could get a hot meal out to an Infantry company on patrol maybe.....just maybe.....we could win the damn war. Oh well.
I think often of all that you did for us.....all that you meant to us: You came for our wounded. You came to get our dead brothers. You came....when the fight was over.....to give us a ride home from hell. There isn't a former Grunt alive who doesn't freeze for a moment and feel the hair rise on the back of his neck when he hears the whup whup whup of those helicopter blades.
What I want to say now is just between us.....because America still doesn't get it.....still doesn't know the truth, and the truth is: You are the cream of the crop of our generation.....the best and finest of an entire generation of Americans. You are the ones who answered when you were called to serve.....You are the ones who fought bravely and endured a terrible war in a terrible place. You are the ones for whom the words duty. .honor. country have real meaning because you have lived those words and the meaning behind those words.
You are my brothers in arms....and I am not ashamed to say that I love you, would not trade one of you for a whole trainload of instant Canadians.....or a whole boatload of Rhodes Scholars bound for England......or a whole campus full of guys who turned up for their draft physicals wearing panty hose. On behalf of a country that too easily forgets the true cost of war.....and who pays that price....I say Thank you for your service! On behalf of the people of our country who didn't have good sense enough to separate the war they hated from the young warriors they sent to fight that war.....I say we are sorry. We owe you all a very large apology.....and a debt of gratitude that we can never adequately repay.
For myself and all my buddies in the Infantry I say: Thanks for all the rides in and out....especially the rides out. It is great to see you all gathered here for this reunion. A friend of mine, Mike Norman, a former Marine grunt....wrote a wonderful book called "These Good Men" about his quest to find and reunite with all the survivors of his platoon from Vietnam. He thought long and deep about why we gather as we have done this evening and he explained it thusly:
I now know why men who have been to war yearn to reunite. Not to tell stories or look at old pictures. Not to laugh or weep. Comrades gather because they long to be with the men who once acted their best.....men who suffered and sacrificed.....who were stripped raw......right down to their humanity. I did not pick these men. They were delivered by fate and the military. But I know them in a way I know no other men. I have never given anyone such trust. They were willing to guard something more precious than my life. They would have carried my reputation.....the memory of me. It was part of the bargain we all made.....the reason we were so willing to die for one another.
As long as I have memory I will think of them all.....every day. I am sure that when I leave this world....my last thought will be of my family and my comrades.......such good men.  I'm going to shut up now and let us all get down to the real business of drinking and lying.....er.....telling war stories.
Thank you. I salute you. I remember you. I will teach my sons the stories and legends about you. And I will warn my daughters never ever to go out with aviators......
Good evening. God bless..."
 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

An H-53A rolls and loops!

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/watch-this-massive-ch-53-sea-stallion-chopper-do-loops-1683008112

in 1968 a Marine Corps pilot and a Sikorsky test pilot looped and rolled an H-53.

Amazing!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"The Hometown Battlefield"

This is a very poignant song about PTSD.

I hope you will enjoy it and pass it on.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Wq0X0bwMprQ?feature=player_embeddedAfter


We are losing 22 vets to suicide every day in this country, many of them Vietnam vets who are just giving up.


Also, here is the up-dated link to "1965" a beautiful song by Patrice Webb, my fav chanteuse, about a homeless vet, inspired by her reading of my book,  (I was NOT the homeless vet she saw on the street.)

http://youtu.be/8aIo4gIlZ90

"The Adventures of a Helicopter Pilot, Flying the H-34 in Vietnam for the USMC.'

In the meantime, we are taking advantage of beautiful weather here in lovely Sandpoint, Idaho, to begin to prepare Charlie the H-34 for her up-coming events for this year. First gig, the "Lost in 50's" parade and old car show.

Stay tuned form updates.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

another helicopter pilot site

I made contact with a former U S Army helicopter pilot, James N. Post.

He, too, has written about his experiences in Vietnam. see:  

http://www.postpubco.com/rotorheadbooks.htm

Good reading!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

My book inspires a song! "Back in 1965"

My good friend and song writer and singer Patrice Webb was inspired by my book to to write a song:. "Back in 1965"
I am most honored!

Here it is the link to youtube:

http://youtu.be/8aIo4gIlZ90


(For you folk in the Sandpoint area, please, when you are in town,  go to Eicharts Pub* and The Pour Authority and any other local music venue, request that they give Patrice a gig to play music in their establishment.
I LOVE her crystal-clear voice!)

here is the link to my book:

http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Helicopter-Pilot-helicopter-Vietnam/dp/1500936138/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1420783861&sr=1-1&keywords=collier+helicopters
H-34 Charlie needs a new....set of tires.

I have nine reviews om amazon, ALL of them are 5-star.
I am having fun now!

Buy my book!

*here is the link to Eicharts Pub:

https://plus.google.com/102948370018200160897/about?gl=us&hl=en



Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Rockpile, a grunt's perspective...

A friend on popasmoke FB page just shared this web site about the grunts who lived on the Rockpile.

http://www.swanassoc.com/1stradiobn/stories_rockpile.htm

...during the time I was landing there.  I could be the pilot of the H-34 shown at the top of the post. I am trying to copy the photo so I can enlarge it to view the bureau number of the aircraft, but no luck so far.

The H-34 helicopter landing on this limestone karst is the cover photo for my book:

http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Helicopter-Pilot-helicopter-Vietnam/dp/1500936138/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1420783861&sr=1-1&keywords=collier+helicopters


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

a great review of my book!

http://vvabooks.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/the-adventures-of-a-helicopter-pilot-by-bill-collier/

I am having fun now!