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.