Whispering quietly so they wouldn’t reveal their position, they explained to the helicopter commander what was happening. “We’re surrounded.” Col Matt Jackson asked him where they were, and his crewman monitoring the situation confirmed that indeed the patrol was surrounded. By a “herd” of monkeys. Jackson didn’t have the heart to tell the men that their enemy was a bunch of angry, furry critters, so they devised a way to help the patrol escape. This story and many more are just one part of Col Matt Jackson’s book “Undaunted Valor Volume 1.” The book is a series, written by a 25 year veteran whose exploits as an Army Assault helicopter pilot document important information about the Vietnam War and the men who fought in it.
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Col Matt Jackson told us that his unit had a mascot. Not a bear, not an eagle, not even a dog…it was a rooster. Hence the unit call sign was “Chickenman.” But it wasn’t the sound of a rooster that endeared helicopter pilots to the ground troops, it was the welcome sound of a Huey…the sound of help, the sound of rescue in the middle of dense, sticky hot jungles riddled with Viet Cong. Col Jackson rewarded his rooster’s service with a round of scotch.
Col Jackson told us about the time his own Navy veteran father was his door gunner. The enemy small arms fire coming at the aircraft was intense and incessant. He tried to raise his father on the radio, but was greeted by silence. Fearing the worst, he glanced over his shoulder to find his Dad standing on the skids of the chopper taking pictures. He was NOT happy.
“In my 30 years in the Navy, I’ve never had an ass chewing like the one from my own son.”Col Jackson’s Father
The book is a mix of horrific stories of war, along with lighter moments that keep the reader engaged. He chronicles the time that the Military took every helicopter attack unit they could find for the incursion into Cambodia in 1970. Hueys, Cobras, Chinooks, gunships…all launched to reportedly cut off enemy supply lines.
So many important and heart rending stories of a best friend killed, of a chopper that hit a tree…and the pilot actually survived. These and more are told in the book series called “Undaunted Valor.” Col Jackson told us the stories are true, and only 4 names were changed in Book #1.
Col Matt Jackson, (a pen name) in real life was awarded a Silver Star, a Distinguished Flying Cross, 3 Bronze Stars, 49 Air Medals (2 for valorous actions), and a Vietnamese medal for his service. The life expectancy of helicopter pilots in the Vietnam War was extremely low, as you will read in his series of books. Jackson retired from the military in 1993 after commanding an Air Assault Infantry Battalion in Desert Storm/Desert Shield. His experiences will foster many more books.
His stories from Undaunted Valor are being worked up for a movie, with a team that includes a producer, and two screenwriters. If you would like to contribute to the movie, go to the Fort Campbell Historical Foundation. Tag the Donate button at the top and make your donation. Once done, write in the comment/note block that will appear, Undaunted Valor, (and thank you for your tax free donation). All donations will be returned to veterans organizations as well as part of any proceeds received.
Featured photo: the cover of Undaunted Valor Volume 1
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