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Bruce Carlson

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Bruce Carlson was born and raised in Brockton Massachusetts. He stayed there until he volunteered for Helicopter Flight Training in 1968. Following his training, he was sent to Vietnam and served as an Aero Scout with 'C' Troop Seventh of the Seventeenth Cav. While flying in Vietnam, he was shot down several time and received numerous awards for gallantry. Among these Awards are three Distinguished Flying Cross's and a Bronze Star.


When he returned from Vietnam he married the former Francisca Acosta of Crystal City Texas. While in Korea in the spring of 1973 he suffered a serious aircraft accident that put him in the hospital for a year. Medically retired from the Army, he went to Seminary at Bangor Theological Seminary in Bangor Maine where he received a Master of Divinity Degree.  Bruce E. Carlson is the author of Red Bird Down: A Novel about Air Cavalry and Aero-Scouts in Vietnam.


According to on reader of Red Bird Down: A Novel about Air Cavalry and Aero-Scouts in Vietnam, “This book is an excellent and accurate portrayal of air cavalry operations in Vietnam. The men who flew the outrageously dangerous air cav aeroscout mission, men like author Bruce Carlson - Kev in the book - did things face to face with the enemy few have ever experienced and, unfortunately, few will ever really understand. The story not only describes the situations they encountered - hovering around in the trees deep in enemy controlled territory, looking for signs of the Viet Cong and NVA, intentionally drawing fire in order to initiate a contact, risking their lives to save others - but also explains the psychological impact the mission had upon, and the emotional toll the mission exacted of, the young men who flew the little birds in combat. Anyone who has seen or expects to see, "We Were Soldiers" should read this book.


For one important fact omitted in the movie is how General Kinnard, commander of the First Cav, knew where to insert Mel Gibson's (LTC Hal Moore's) battalion. It was as a result of two weeks of recon operations flown by the 1/9th Air Cav Squadron - conducting the same kind of close-in recon described by Bruce Carlson in "Red Bird Down." In real life it was the 1/9th Air Cav and its aeroscouts, such as Kev and his crew, who found and engaged the NVA unit near the base of Chu Pong Mountain and kicked off what became the battle of the Ia Drang Valley. Read about how the air cav really worked in "Red Bird Down." As a former air cav gunship pilot, I highly recommend "Red Bird Down.”

Red Bird Down : A Novel about Air Cavalry and Aero-Scou in Vietnam
Bruce E. Carlson  More Info

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