Being the webmaster for the USMC Combat Helicopter Association since 1997, I am familiar with many of the members, squadrons, aircraft, stories, terminology, bases, etc. so “Cleared Hot”, like Marion Sturkey’s “Bonnie-Sue“, was an educational read for me.
Although I was a Marine stationed on a helicopter base in the early 80’s, I was too young to be in Vietnam but I am fascinated by the stories and admire the men and women who were there. Stoffey prefaces his book with a comment that if you were there, and saw it differently, write your own book. Speaking with other VMO-2 pilots who were there, I would have to agree with Stoffey. Each pilot has a unique story to tell about their experiences.
“Cleared Hot” took me away to a virtual visit to Marble Mountain Air Facility and into the skies over Vietnam. Stoffey does such an outstanding job keeping the reader informed, not assuming any prior knowledge. Following the different phases of his tours was interesting; from the UH-34D to the OV-10, the stories are really interesting and they give a very good general idea of what it was like to be a VMO-2 pilot in Vietnam. The helicopter and Bronco pilots were instrumental in supporting the grunts on the ground.
After all, in the Marine Corps, supporting the grunt on the ground is what it’s all about!
You can find “Cleared Hot!” on Amazon.