Bury Us Upside Down by Don Shepperd
The Misty Pilots and the Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail

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Synopsis

They had the most dangerous job n the Air Force. Now Bury Us Upside Down reveals the never-before-told story of the Vietnam War’s top-secret jet-fighter outfit–an all-volunteer unit composed of truly extraordinary men who flew missions from which heroes are made.

In today’s wars, computers, targeting pods, lasers, and precision-guided bombs help FAC (forward air controller) pilots identify and destroy targets from safe distances. But in the search for enemy traffic on the elusive Ho Chi Minh Trail, always risking enemy fire, capture, and death, pilots had to drop low enough to glimpse the telltale signs of movement such as suspicious dust on treetops or disappearing tire marks on a dirt road (indicating a hidden truck park). Written by an accomplished journalist and veteran, Bury Us Upside Down is the stunning story of these brave Americans, the men who flew in the covert Operation Commando Sabre–or “Misty”–the most innovative air operation of the war.

In missions that lasted for hours, the pilots of Misty flew zigzag patterns searching for enemy troops, vehicles, and weapons, without benefit of night-vision goggles, infrared devices, or other now common sensors. What they gained in exhilarating autonomy also cost them: of 157 pilots, 34 were shot down, 3 captured, and 7 killed. Here is a firsthand account of courage and technical mastery under fire. Here, too, is a tale of forbearance and loss, including the experience of the family of a missing Misty flier–Howard K. Williams–as they learn, after twenty-three years, that his remains have been found.

Now that bombs are smart and remote sensors are even smarter, the missions that the Mistys flew would now be considered no less than suicidal. Bury Us Upside Down reminds us that for some, such dangers simply came with the territory.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Don Shepperd

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Rick Newman is chief business correspondent for U.S. News & World Report as well as a frequent commentator on MSNBC, CNN, Fox, NPR, and other TV and radio networks. He is the co-author of Firefight: Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11 and Bury Us Upside Down: The Misty Pilots and the Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He lives outside New York City.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Presidio Press. 512 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Many brave Air Force flyers populate the pages of this collaboration by U.S. News and World Report writer Newman and Misty pilot Shepperd (Misty pilots, whose name comes, improbably, from a Johnny Mathis song, flew 247 Vietnam combat missions), but few braver than Howard Keith Williams, the Top G...

| Read Full Review of Bury Us Upside Down: The Mist...

Publishers Weekly

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This thoroughly readable, absorbing history chronicles the air operations known as Misty (officially called Commando Sabre) along the Ho Chi Minh trail during the Vietnam War.

Oct 24 2005 | Read Full Review of Bury Us Upside Down: The Mist...

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