CHARIOTS IN THE SKY

Join Captain Taylor St. James, along with his friends and comrades, as they fly harrowing combat missions, cover for each other, deal with bad weather, mechanical problems and human error during the later part of the Vietnam War.  When not flying, they are harassed by rocket attacks and sappers in the wire. Taylor discovers the North Vietnamese are not his only enemy as he copes with the pressures put on him by a commander more interested in personal glory than his men’s well being.  

This is the story of Captain Taylor St. James, a dedicated Army helicopter pilot, who is sent to Vietnam. He just wants to do his job, survive the war and return home to his wife Sandy and family. While performing his duties, Taylor will be challenged and tested beyond any measure he could have ever envisioned.

He is assigned to the Eagles, a Huey Assault Company with the 101st Airborne Division in I Corps. Taylor’s unit is stationed at Phu Bai Base where  they fly missions throughout the northern region. Their flying exploits take them into many familiar places to include:  A Shau Valley, Khe Sanh, Quang Tri Province, Hue, DMZ, North Vietnam and Laos.

Along the way Taylor participated in Lam Son 719, the last major American Offensive Operation of the war.  This historical campaign lasted for sixty days and involved over 750 helicopters flying in and out of Laos supporting the South Vietnamese incursion into Laos.  Lam Son 719 was the costliest period of helicopter warfare for the Americans.  More helicopters were shot down and sustained battle damage than any other period during the Vietnam War.

REVIEWS

In Praise of Chariots In The Sky

Riveting Novel Of Air Combat Action...

Larry Freeland’s “Chariots in the Sky ” is a riveting novel of air combat action during Lam Son 719, one of the last big American combat operations of the Vietnam War. He has written a great book about men who control their fears and fly into action knowing they need to be prepared to handle whatever happens.

Bill McCloud, Vietnam Veterans of America

Remarkable Story...

Based upon his experiences in Vietnam Larry Freeland provides a thrilling, compelling and heartbreaking account of a combat helicopter pilot and his crews at the height of the war. The narrative brings to life the meaning to the phrase “they give their all” with vivid examples of courageous, tenacious and selfless service day after day under the most horrendous and stressful circumstances imaginable. The book is a MUST READ and certainly on par with other noteworthy Vietnam accounts such as “We Were Soldiers Then and Young”. I found it so engaging that I read it the day after receiving it from Amazon.

Amazon Customer

Great Vietnam Story...

A gripping novel of helicopter action in Vietnam. The characters were well developed and the plot was great. The action scenes were interesting and suspenseful. I really enjoyed this book and will look for more from this author. A must read.

rnb 777---Literary Reader-Barnes & Noble Reviewer

Outstanding Book...

My husband was in the USAF and says it is especially a great book for those who were pilots or anyone who served our country.

Louanne---Barnes & Noble Reviewer

What a ride!

I was transported to Vietnam during the end of the war through this book. The bravery and fear of the helicopter pilots constantly facing death was palpable. I felt like I was in the helicopter with TJ and his 3 crewmates – breathing the heavy and artillery charged air, searching out the hidden enemy, anticipating the attack. The author made it possible to live those days as one of them – experiencing their daily routine – and the characters were so very real. I highly recommend reading the book!

Kathy Cretney

Chariots in the Sky, felt like I was there with the characters...

Written in such a way that you could be forgiven for thinking this is non-fiction, the book handles the context of a terrible war with respect and also in a way which does not sugar coat the realities of a conflict situation. I enjoyed the writing style and really felt like I was there with the characters.

Louise Gray

Chariots In The Sky is right up there with some of the best...

I loved the book! Anne and I do a lot of reading – Clancy, Patterson, Jeremy Waldron and a few others and I have to say Chariots In The Sky is right up there with some of the best. The book really held my attention and let me visualize all of the various scenes as they unfolded. I think you are a very talented writer and I am looking forward to your next story.
My only suggestion is that you “write faster”!

Tony Mancini

Chariots in the Sky brings the reader to the war in Vietnam...

The author of Chariots in the Sky brings to life the experiences of a combat helicopter pilot and crew in the Vietnam war. Chariots in the Sky places readers in the assault helicopter as the horrific insanity of war rages. It makes the reader appreciate the difficulties of a soldier who has been separated from his country and loved ones while he also must deal with the politics of his superiors in the chain of command. A good book to read and a war that should never be forgotten.

Powell Ennis

Chopper Jockey...

For any Viet Nam vet who depended on the choppers to take him to his objective or act as Medivac for wounded personnel in the battlefield, a great read.
Also, this book has the protagonist, ie, an officer who sacrificed his men to climb the ladder of success.
Although fiction, the author was a chopper pilot, who has been there, done that.
Enjoy.

Sam Bell

A helicopter pilot serving in the Vietnam War struggles to survive a major offensive...

Capt. Taylor St. James, known among his fellow soldiers as TJ, is a helicopter pilot in the Army deployed to Vietnam in 1971. He belongs to a Huey Assault Helicopter Company—part of the 101st Airborne Division—a group deeply involved in Lam Son 719, one of the key combat operations of the war and one in which helicopter pilots contributed heroically and suffered tremendous losses. Freeland chronicles these perilous missions with impressive historical accuracy, capturing not only the danger of the missions, but the ethos of the helicopter pilot and the creed, or “Helicopter Wisdom,” that guided them through the terrors of war. TJ’s company commander, Maj. Hutchins, is killed and replaced by Maj. Parker Stewart, a weak leader obsessed with promotion at the expense of the pilots for whom he is responsible. TJ voices his concerns about Parker’s recklessness, a defiance that puts him in Parker’s crosshairs—Parker tries to force him out of the company. The author focuses on the Lam Son 719 campaign, billed as a triumph against the North Vietnamese though it exposed the woeful inadequacy of South Vietnamese forces. Freeland’s debut novel is impeccably faithful to historical events, not surprising since he served as a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War as part of the division referenced in his novel. He furnishes a detailed look not only into combat operations, but also their political context as well as providing a moving depiction of the soldiers’ loneliness. TJ constantly sends communications to his wife, Sandy, doing his best to conceal the extent of the danger he faces daily….a worthwhile peek into the horrors of war.

Kirkus Reviews

Best book reflecting the human toll and courage of our troops...

Well written book reflecting the trials and courage of American helicopter pilots and crews during the Vietnam war. This is the best book I have read on the Vietnam War as it reflects not only the military history but the human side of the War.

Whh - Amazon Reviewer

A Vietnam War thriller of a dedicated U.S. Army assault helicopter pilot!

This book puts you into a combat helicopter pilot’s seat for an emotional ride of your life time! It touches every emotion and every chapter draws you to the next! It is hard to put down! Very well written for everyone to read!

Dave - Amazon Reviewer

“Chariots in the Sky” is an entertaining and eye-opening look at the life of Army helicopter pilots during the Vietnam War...

I’ve known the author for almost 50 years, but never realized or gave much thought to his experiences during that time. While this is a fictional novel, it is based upon his experiences and actual historical events. I suspect many veterans will recognize some of the characters in this book as did I. This is a good read for those interested in aviation’s contribution to the war effort in Southeast Asia.

Tom Lokey, Major, USAF, Retired

Bravery of all the U.S. combat helicopter pilots in Vietnam...

A compelling story of the life of a combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam. A tribute to the bravery of all soldiers who risk their lives daily for the freedoms we enjoy each day.

Greg Hodson

Actual flying/maneuvering of the UH-1...

As I read through the book and you described the actual flying/maneuvering of the UH-1 I found myself thinking, “Self, did you really do that?” It was so long ago that it seemed like something I never knew how to do but I know I did and I am proud I once was skilled enough to be selected to fly a Huey and in particular to fly Dustoff. Next to my family it is the best thing I have ever been involved in. Your characters went through some really harrowing missions!

AlexO-Medical Evacuation Helicopter Pilot, 57th Medical Detachment (DUSTOFF), Vietnam, 1965

A realistic look at a pilot’s life in the Vietnam War...

This book is an exciting and informative look into the life of a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. It reveals that the enemy was much more than the NVA. The enemy was lurking around every corner, from “leadership” to weather to the pain of losing multiple friends to the unimaginable stress of flying extremely dangerous missions. Constantly surrounded by the threat and reality of death, this story paints the resulting dark, lonely and intense life these pilots endured both in the sky over enemy territory and on the ground. A life that most of us can never understand, only glimpse.
Simultaneously, this book juxtaposes all that hard darkness with warm, kind human connections that propel the reader forward with anticipation. And, despite that the Vietnam War was considered lost, “Chariots in the Sky” salutes the brave, talented pilots who risked all and did win. It took a transparent, honest soul to make a story about the Vietnam War exciting for this girl.

Paulette J. Brown

Harrowing...

The subtitle “A Story About U.S. Assault Helicopter Pilots at War in Vietnam” tells a potential reader exactly what this book is about. There are more than enough harrowing flying scenes and firefights on the ground that will keep readers of this genre interested. For Army Aviators, “Chariots in the Sky” is a realistic and fictionalized tale of what they endured during their time in Vietnam.

The VHPA Aviator, May/June 2021

A great novel about chopper pilots at the end of the Vietnam war...

I have read “Chariots in the Sky” by Larry A. Freeland. This is a great novel about chopper pilots at the end of the Vietnam war. I have read many books about this conflict both fiction and nonfiction and this one reads almost like nonfiction. The statistics about chopper pilots is amazing, almost half the choppers were lost during the war. In this book although fiction you get a feel for the most crazy things that can occur in a war zone and how it is to live with it. I must thank @publishauthority @netgalley for giving me this advance copy and the author @larryfreeland_author for writing a great book.

Abibliofob

An exciting book...

A nicely written, exciting book. Larry Freeland was in Vietnam himself serving one tour with the 101st Airborne Division as a CH-47 pilot and he replays the feeling of time and place extremely well.
Well worth reading.

HELICOPTER LIFE, Spring 2021

A must read...

A gripping novel of helicopter action in Vietnam. The characters were well developed and the plot was great. The action scenes were interesting and suspenseful. I really enjoyed this book and will look for more from this author. A must read.

Ron Baumer

One word...

“Outstanding!”

George Lean, AVCM (NAC/AW)

Couldn't put the book down...

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There are very few books that I start and don’t want to put down. This is one of them. It is an eye-opening look into the world of American helicopter aircrews at war in Vietnam.

Ray Brown

A dramatic and exciting story...

Chariots in the Sky is a harrowing combat helicopter ride through wartime Vietnam. This fast paced experience of war comes to life through the eyes and exploits of Army assault helicopter pilot, Captain Taylor St. James. This is a dramatic and exciting story that puts you right in the middle of the action. Read this for a solemn appreciation of what it was like for our assault pilots and crews fighting the war in Vietnam.

LCDR B. Hood, USNR

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A Story ABOUT U.S. ASSAULT Helicopter Pilots at War IN VIETNAM

I’ve written this novel, “Chariots in the Sky”  as a historical fiction story.  I didn’t want it to be a story about one man’s or one aircrew’s personal experiences in Vietnam.  But rather, I wanted to take the reader on a ride through the eyes and exploits of one fictional character, Captain Taylor St. James.  He is the embodiment of a combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam.  It is through his exploits and adventures that the reader will gain a better understanding of what it was like for pilots and crews during the Vietnam War.   Those who served in Vietnam as pilots and crew members may certainly relate to some of Taylor’s experiences, thoughts and feelings about the Vietnam War.  For those readers who may not be familiar with that period of our collective history, it is my hope that you would find this reading experience insightful, educational and rewarding. 

This novel is a work of fiction.  All characters and military call signs used in this book are fictional.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.  Many of the military units were real, however, all of the characters associated with them in this book are fictional.  Although many settings are referred to by their real names and certain military operations did occur; they are used as backdrops for the fictional characters and incidents depicted in the book.

As I look back over my life, I would have to say that my five years in the U.S. Army, and particularly my year in Vietnam serving with the 101st Airborne Division as an Infantry Officer and CH-47 Chinook pilot, were the most challenging, demanding, and many times the most intense I’ve ever experienced.  It was also one of the most rewarding.  During this time I trained, served, and flew with many brave men, who were courageous, compassionate, dedicated and professional.  I do not believe I’ve ever experienced that level of dedication and comradeship in an organization since leaving the military service in the fall of 1973.  This novel is dedicated to those men who served as helicopter pilots and crew members during the Vietnam War.  I believe, these are some of the finest men America has ever produced.