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“Readers will never again be able to delude themselves that men who go to war can walk away from it unscarred, even if those scars take years to surface.”Robert Timberg, author of Blue-Eyed Boy and The Nightingale’s Song, a NY Times Notable Book of the Year
“As a veteran of that era, I felt every word of every page. Putzel has delivered a gripping and touching work of art.”W. Craig Reed, New York Times bestselling author of Cold War III: How the U.S. Navy can Defeat Putin and Halt Climate Change
"A great story...that needs to be told"Bob Schieffer, CBS News
"An 'All Quiet on the Western Front' of the war in Vietnam"Bill Kovach, former New York Times and Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor, co-author of 'Blur: How to Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload'

The Price They Paid is the stunning and dramatic true story of a legendary air cavalry commander in Vietnam and the soldiers who followed him into the most intensive helicopter warfare ever—and how that brutal experience has changed their lives in the forty years since the war ended.

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Michael's Blog

Vietnam Chopper Pilots’ New Chief

Posted by Michael Putzel • August 25, 2015

When Clyde Romero is inaugurated as president of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association on August 29, two members of a tiny Band of Brothers will be on hand to applaud their long-ago comrade-in-arms.

The fourth flying soldier in their practically unique group died a hermit several years ago. All four men were black and members of the same storied air cavalry unit in Vietnam.

At the reunion banquet in Washington of the 16,000-member Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, retired Colonel Romero will become the first African-American to be elected president of the VHPA.

Romero was 19 when he flew his OH-6 scout into the most dangerous antiaircraft battle ever endured by helicopters and their crews. His “little bird” was part of a flying U.S. armada supporting thousands of South Vietnamese ground forces […] READ MORE


Brothers in War

Posted by Michael Putzel • August 16, 2015

I have just watched an amazing documentary about a company of draftees sent into the Mekong Delta in 1967 as part of the 9th Infantry Division. Like The Price They Paid, the film focuses on a single unit and the hellacious combat the troops encountered, the bonds they forged and the losses they endured.

Unlike my book, Brothers in War weaves together latter-day interviews with the soldiers and remarkable archival footage, including home movies and the work of Army combat cinematographers, to show viewers what the men faced in the rice paddies, muddy canals and hamlets that were  the fighting fields south of Saigon. The year, 1967, was a dreadful  time for American  forces fully  committed in a  country they didn’t  understand and a  type of warfare  they hadn’t  learned to […] READ MORE