Cleared to Land: Memoirs of an Army Air Traffic Controller Vietnam--Mar 68-Sep 71
Author: CW4 Jeffrey K. Fozard
Publisher: AuthorHouse (2009)
Binding: Paperback, 184 pages
Memoirs of my three years as an air traffic controller in Vietnam. I worked in Soc rang, Can Tho, Bear Cat, Phu Hiep and Phu Bai. Air traffic at the most was over 2000 operations a day in Can Tho. We had one PSP runway of 3000' and two swamps for approaches. On my days off, I flew as a door gunner. I have crewmember time on UH-1D Slicks, UH-1C Gunships, CH-47 Chinooks. O-1 Bird Dogs as an Observer, three missions as a crewmember on the AC-47 Spooky kicking flares out the cargo door. I have a few night missions on Navy PBRs out of Binh Thuy. I have flown around the tip of the Delta up to as far North as Quang Tri and Dong Ha.
Jeff Fozard's Cleared to Land is an interesting take on his three years in Vietnam as an air traffic controller. Written in an interesting, almost "stream of consciousness" sort of style, it takes us through Fozard's boot camp, initial training, and three years in various parts of Vietnam.
The author has an amazing memory, and relates small details with ease, increasing the richness of the story. He pulls no punches, and relays both good days and bad in an effort to paint as realistic a picture as possible for the reader.
Not content with just his air traffic control duties, the author volunteered to be a helicopter door gunner, one of the more dangerous jobs available, and he did this on his days off! He also flew with the Air Force in one of their Spooky gunships, and even did a few trips up the river with the Navy in a PBR. Jeff Fozard certainly tried to see everything he could while in country!
Not familiar with helicopter operations or air traffic control much myself, I found the technical aspects of the book almost as interesting as Fozard's personal anecdotes. This book does an excellent job of giving people a ground level look at air operations in Southeast Asia.
Vietnam veterans and aviation enthusiasts alike will find this book entertaining and educational.
Reviewed by: Rob Ballister (2010)