The book chronicles his enlistment, flight training, deployment to and experiences in Vietnam, and his experiences after returning from the war. He began writing Chickenhawk on May 17, while living in Florida. The first chapter written became the fifth chapter in the finished book. By February , Mason had a page partial manuscript about one-third , and an outline of the rest of his memoir. Knox agreed to offer the book to publishers.
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Robert C. Mason born March 20, is a Vietnam War veteran and author of several books, including his first, best-selling memoir: Chickenhawk He sailed to Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry Division Airmobile and served a one-year tour, nine months with the "First Cav", the last three months with the 48th Aviation Company.
Mason spent his first month in Vietnam clearing land for his unit's airbase, after which he and his fellow pilots flew many missions to resupply the infantry and pick up wounded. At that time 1st Cavalry Medevac helicopters were not allowed to fly if the landing zone was hot. Mason transferred to the 48th Aviation Company referred to as the 49th in his memoir in May He continued to fly helicopters, including assault missions for the st Airborne in Dak To as part of Operation Hawthorne in June After his one-year tour of duty , Mason became an instructor pilot at Fort Wolters, Texas.
Eventually he was grounded for dizzy spells and diagnosed with combat fatigue resulting from his service in Vietnam. Later, he and his wife realized he was suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. In , Mason began to write a book about his tour in Vietnam. He named it Chickenhawk after a conversation he and his friend and fellow helicopter pilot Jerry Towler had had in while waiting to pick up some GIs in Vietnam, describing their alternating feelings of terror and courage as they flew missions.
In , Mason was arrested for smuggling marijuana on a boat from Colombia. Mason did not tell anyone of his arrest, including his agent and his editor, until they finished the rest of the book and read the last page. Chickenhawk became a hardcover and paperback best-seller. It received many positive reviews, inspiring People magazine to do a story on his troubles under the heading "Trouble.
Warrant Officer 1.
Robert Mason (writer)
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