Book: Hamfist Over The Trail - The Air Combat Adventures of Hamilton by G. E. Nollycategories: Book, Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, Aviation, Forward Air Controller, Laos, Adventures, Air Combat
G. E. Nollyabout this book: This novel is written as the first-person narrative of a young Air Force pilot who becomes a Forward Air Controller (FAC) in Vietnam. Instead of the top-of-the-line F-4 fighter he had hoped for, he is assigned to fly the O-2A, the smallest, slowest aircraft in the inventory. During his year in Vietnam, he must face two enemies: the North Vietnamese he fights over the Ho Chi Minh trail, and the inner demons that convince him that he is responsible for the deaths of his comrades.
They say that all novels are at least partly autobiographical. That was certainly the case with this, my first novel. The story has been part of me for forty-five years, and it finally made its way out. I say "inspired by actual events" and I've changed the names, but virtually all of the story is told just as it happened. Some of the events happened to friends, but most were my experiences. Writing it was real catharsis.
When I went looking for a cover, I knew exactly what picture I wanted to use. I'd seen it on the web, and it didn't take me too long to find it again. It was titled, "You're Cleared In Hot". The painting totally captured the action, excitement, and mood of a real combat airstrike. But wherever it appeared, there was no artist attribution. It took me over a month to discover who the artist was, and I finally made contact with Tony Stencil and commissioned him to do my cover. He did a great job.
The best part of writing this book, and the sequels, has been the feedback I've received from Vietnam vets. There have been a lot of books written about the war, but not many about the mission, and the day-to-day life, of a FAC. I felt I did a pretty good job of capturing that, and the reviews have confirmed it.
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