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  • An American Combat Bird Dog Pilot

  • From the Battlefield of Vietnam and Beyond
  • By: Michael Leonard
  • Narrated by: Michael Leonard
  • Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins

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An American Combat Bird Dog Pilot cover art

An American Combat Bird Dog Pilot

By: Michael Leonard
Narrated by: Michael Leonard
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Summary

An American Combat Bird Dog Pilot is a compelling look at the life and times of a member of the Silent Generation. Mike Leonard’s story chronicles not only his breathtaking combat adventures, but the unforeseen perils that nearly sidetracked him during his time as an international sales executive. This spellbinding narrative paints a vivid portrait of a man, as the Chinese proverb clearly states, "living in interesting times".

Not many Vietnam veterans can lay claim to as many harrowing moments in combat. Leonard recounts flying a small, unarmed USAF spotter plane - called an O-1 Birddog - near ground level risking life and limb just feet above the jungle canopy. Leonard and his Birddog were the turkey in the proverbial turkey shoot. The recollection of the life and death struggle on Thanksgiving Day in 1969 with North Vietnamese forces hell-bent on capturing or killing the crew of a downed chopper near the Cambodian border is about as hairy as it gets. Then the final straw - and the catalyst for the book - which took place more than 40 years later; Leonard made contact with one of the crewmembers from that chopper. Their bond is emblematic of the brotherhood of warriors that can only be formed among those that have actually lived it. That phone call and the incumbent flashbacks by itself, not counting his myriad additional exploits throughout the book, will force you to keep reading. Surviving combat instilled a chameleon-like sense of innovation in Leonard and a kind of "challenge accepted" attitude you might expect from someone used to taking risks and operating on a wing and a prayer. 

Eloquently presented, the author’s story continues on in captivating fashion. Leaving his military career behind and venturing into the uncharted waters of civilian life came with the ultimate realization that this new life had its own set of risks and rewards.

©2021 SOFREP (P)2021 SOFREP

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