Viet Nam may be the only war we ever fought, or perhaps that was ever fought, in which the heroism of the American soldier was accompanied by humanitarianism unmatched in the annals of warfare. And the humanitarianism took place during the heat of the battle. The GI fixed as he fought, he cured and educated and built in the middle of the battle. He truly cared for, and about, those people. What other Army has ever done that? Humanitarianism was America's great victory in Viet Nam.
Spearheading the humanitarian efforts were the air ambulance operations, call-sign Dust Off, the most dangerous of all aviation operations, which rescued some one million souls in Viet Nam. Dead Men Flying is the story of Charles Kelly, the father of Dust Off, who gave his life to save Dust Off - the greatest life-saver ever. His dying words - "When I have your wounded" - set the standard for combat medicine to this day.
It is also the story of the author, Medal of Honor recipient General Patrick Brady, who learned from Charles Kelly and struggled to meet his standard. Brady led the 54th Medical Detachment as it rescued over 21,000 wounded - enemy and friendly - in 10 months, while sustaining 26 Purple Hearts. Finally, Dead Men Flying is the story of salvation in the midst of horror, courage in the face of adversity, and the miracle of faith in the heat of combat. A riveting tale from America's most decorated living soldier, this is a book that no American can afford to ignore.
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Courage beyond definition.
Good story ruined by author need to trash others
This was a great and important story that was ruined for me by the authors injection of politics and religion. His hatred for atheists, politicians and the media really distracts for what is an interesting and missing story. He accuses atheists for killing his pets and blames the media for the poor treatment vets received coming home. I would have prefered to hear more of what his fellow pilots thought about the events in the book. His disrespect for "HQ types" wears thin after about an hour in - especially when you consider he retired as a major general. His complaints about how other units operate - followed by "but they had good pilots" is particularly ironic since it mirrors the frequent media treatment of military issues. His nice words about Bob Hope struck me as particularly hollow - since I knew Mr. Hope and he was not a saint (or even the Catholic at the time).
At the end of the day throughout this book I felt like I was listening to one of those Bar Stool Veterans with a "Not Fonda Jane" who who are poorly educated and have an opinions because they watch Faux News daily. The type of vet who thinks others are not entitled to an opinion because they did not serve. His mix of opinions on the military, religion and politics frankly scare me.
All that being said I would recommend listening to this book because of the story. The story matters.
- Christopher Brown