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Richard C. Kirkland

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Richard C. Kirkland, USAF, “grew up on the “Grapevine Road” during the great depression. He was a fighter pilot in World War II, flying 103 combat missions in the famous Flying Knights Squadron. He also flew 69 rescue missions in helicopters in the Korean War. He was awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross and many other decorations and awards. He has written and published numerous short stories and five books. Richard has painted and sketched his surroundings all during his military and civilian service and continues today. Some of the rare artwork from his Vienna gallery is shown in this book. He speaks regularly in the Washington D.C. area and appears on TV. He and wife Maria, have nine children, 16 grandchildren, and a great grandson.”  Richard C. Kirkland is the author of Wide Place in the Road: A Great Generation Love Story, MASH Angels: Tales of an Air-Evac Helicopter Pilot in the Korean War, Tales of a Helicopter Pilot, Tales of a War Pilot, and War Pilot: True Tales of Combat and Adventure.

According to the book description of Wide Place in the Road: A Great Generation Love Story, “Wide Place in the Road In a small settlement along the "Grapevine Road" in California's Tehachappi Mountains, emotions sizzle when beautiful Hallie Lameont skinny dips with country boy Jessie Rascoe in a cattle watering trough. But the dark eyed Maria Hunter captures his heart after he saves her life in the heart warming love story about maturing youth during the Great Depression and World War Two. Growing up on the "Grapevein Road" and serving as a P-38 combat fighter pilot with the famous "Flying Knights" in WWII, veteran author Richard C. Kirkland uses first hand experiences in writing ths historical epic based on a true story that takes place during on of the most challenging periods of American History. Protagonist Jessie Rascoe and his friends are Boy Scouts, have a secret cave and attend a one room school. When "Grapes of Wrath" migrants abandon their old cars, the Grapevine boys repair them and rollick over the mountainside. Discovering girls brings new interests and complications. Then everything changes on December 7, 1941. Jessie and friends go to war. Hallie becomes a "WASP" pilot and Maria a "Rosie the Riveter." P-38 fighter pilot Jessie Rasco excels in the Pacific and is decorated by President Roosevelt. On leave, emotions skyrocket when he visits Hallie and Maria. Returning to the war Jessi is shot down into the New Guinea jungle and listed as "Missing in action." Will he come home at war's end? To Maria?... Hallie?... The ending is powerful.”

According to the book description of MASH Angels: Tales of an Air-Evac Helicopter Pilot in the Korean War, “provides a fine account perfect for any library strong in Korean war history and events. If provides a personal account of danger and heroism from one of the pilots who pioneered the use of helicopters for battlefield medical evacuation, telling of his front-line experience rescue flying and military medicine challenges. A 'must' for any military library strong in Korean War accounts.”

According to the book description of Tales of a Helicopter Pilot, “Richard Kirkland is legendary for his P-38 Lightning missions in the South Pacific theater during WWII. After the war, he realized the potential of Igor Sikorsky’s new flying machine, and he traded in his fighter-pilot wings for rotors. The nerve-racking chopper missions he has flown are the stuff of legend: scrambling to evacuate president Harry Truman after an unthinkable “code red one” alert comes over his red phone; bantering with the real “Hawkeye” at a MASH unit before flying into North Korea to rescue wounded soldiers. Equally riveting are his accounts of a medevac pilot in Vietnam who lands a ten ton CH-46 “Frog” in the jungle at night, with no lights, under fire, with only a soldier’s cigarette lighter for reference; and an aerial tour pilot who routinely pulls people out of the water above, below, and right before Niagara Falls.”

According to the book description of War Pilot: True Tales of Combat and Adventure, “Lieutenant Richard C. Kirkland flew Lockheed P-38 Lightnings in New Guinea during World War II and Sikorsky rescue helicopters in Korea. In the course of both wars he met celebrities, war heroes and nuclear scientists, as well as a MASH doctor named Hawkeye, whose antics would later be related in a book, film, and television show.”

According to the book description of Tales of a War Pilot, “Richard Kirkland would never have imagined that anything could compare to tangling with Zeros in life-and-death dogfights over the South Pacific—but that was before he traded his fighter-pilot wings for rotors. It was a move he never regretted, and the riveting experiences he chronicles in War Pilot provide ample reason why. From the first primitive Sikorsky and the sophisticated choppers of Vietnam to flying medevac choppers and saving countless soldiers from certain death in Korea, Kirkland’s firsthand accounts of pilots under fire provide a gripping portrait of not just one American hero, but the many courageous others with whom he flew.”

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