Author: Larry Carello
Publisher: BluewaterPress LLC (2013)
Binding: Paperback, 268 pages
If you are interested in helicopters this book contains ample flying time and suspense.
An intriguing book that delivers action and captivating international details of the relationship between the Marcos’s in the Philippines and the United States government.
Navy pilot Lammers faces challenges that involve several divergent groups. Read it for the excitement and the struggles of one man’s past and military career.
Reviewed by: Frank Evans (2014)
Navy pilot Bud Lammers strives to “right the ship” after a tragically botched mission in Vietnam tainted his career and sent his marriage down a rocky path. Now, a decade after the war, he and his men are on the verge of wrapping up a successful peacetime mission − or so they think. Meanwhile, Ferdinand Marcos and his glamorous wife, Imelda, have ensconced themselves in power as president and first lady of the Philippines. The flamboyant couple has vowed to bring peace and prosperity to a country that’s spent four hundred years under the thumb of colonial rule. But there’s growing unrest in the archipelago as survivors of the infamous Huk Rebellion regroup to form the New People’s Army − a communist-based faction that wants to depose the Marcos regime. Additionally, Filipino Muslims begin to aggressively seek autonomy in the predominantly Christian country. Lammers’ unit is caught in a deadly crossfire of events, the outcome of which, could threaten relations between America, the Philippines and other world powers. Bud is forced to confront the ghosts of his wartime past with his entire future at stake. Is he up to the challenge, or will his career once more go down in flames? During their cruise, Lammers’ unit has conducted a mission known as Vertical Replenishment. The task utilizes the CH-46 helicopter to carry ammunition and supplies from their home vessel, USS San Angelo, to other ships while underway. The deployment has gone flawlessly until its final month, when the inherent risk of naval aviation rears its ugly head. An aircraft narrowly avoids disaster after it impacts the water during a violent storm. Its crew performs a miraculous shipboard landing, however, the mishap prompts San Angelo to make an abrupt return to Subic Bay, Philippines. A crack team of Japanese mechanics works around the clock to get the damaged aircraft back in the air. On the day that the repaired helicopter is to fly an inaugural test flight, one of Lammers’ flight crews embarks on a routine transport mission utilizing the unit’s other helicopter. While returning to base, the aircraft is shot at by members of the NPA. The helicopter is still flyable, but its aircraft commander freezes at the controls and crashes in a remote forest. He flees the scene and hides, while rebels take hostage one of the survivors. Bud Lammers’ crew arrives at the crash site where Lammers bravely “pacifies” the captors and rescues the kidnapped crewman. Normally, this act of heroism would be lauded, but instead, an elaborate cover up ensues. Acknowledgement that the terrorist act took place would only serve to weaken Marcos’ grip on power. In response, the U.S military and Philippine government, along with the CIA, form a cabal. The shoot down is spun as an accident, and Lammers is forced to resign his commission. He returns home not as a hero, but rather the scapegoat.
In the end, Bud Lammers discovers that leaving the Navy may be a blessing in disguise. He gets a second chance to save his troubled marriage and he can finally put to rest the harsh memories of the Vietnam War.