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“Get ready to climb into a Huey and ride the skies with the Ghost Riders, a place where very few have gone. Missions of Fire and Mercy is more than a war story; it is the true experience of a warrior recounted in a tasteful manner that everyone can appreciate. You won’t want to miss this tour of duty.”
—SP5 Eddie G. Hoklotubbe, Ghost Riders Door gunner, ’67-’68
Our missions of fire were underlined with an indescribable rush of adrenaline. Our alertness was always at its peak during those flights, when we had to be performing at max capacity, keeping our wits about us while we flew into battle with our machine guns blazing. Our rounds joined those of the supporting gunships and often, jet or prop driven fighters and bombers. Because these flights were so brazenly accomplished, they are ingrained on my mind to the point that I think of many of those missions on a daily basis; as if they happened this morning.
Our missions of mercy also added excitement to our lives. The flights where we snatched men from the rice paddies and depths of the jungled mountains, often surrounded and under enemy fire, are unforgettable! These missions were another shot at cheating death.
The final missions of mercy were flown when the intensity of the battles became less intense or were complete. The unfortunate soldiers who were our passengers on these flights, were in no rush…their missions were complete. These brave, often young warriors gave everything in an attempt to save other’s lives while trying to save their own. They returned home silently. Though I didn’t know any of them, I felt there was a special relationship between us. That bond still tugs at my soul. We shared both life and death. The memories of them will be with us forever. Their names are written on the Wall.