Monday, August 11, 2008

In Detail With Dave Richardson

Tell us the book title and your author name.

When I first wrote the book in 2002, I titled it, “An Old

Helicopter Pilot Remembers Vietnam”. It was my eldest son, David, who brought the POD concept to my attention. He also encouraged me to change the title as he felt it was a bit ‘stodgy’. I tried various combinations until I hit on “Vietnam Air Rescues”. I used my own name, rather than a pen name.

What inspired the book?

My 2nd son, Craig, (I have 4 sons), had tried for years to get me to put down in writing the stories I had related to them regarding my Vietnam experiences. (Incidentally, he has followed somewhat in my footsteps by becoming an Army helicopter pilot who served in the Panama incursion as well as Gulf Wars 1 & 2. He did Medevac [the Army version of rescue] in Panama and Gulf War 2. By the way, I have forgiven him for being in the Army instead of the Air Force!)

I resisted his efforts until I received a preliminary account of the ‘Streetcar’ rescue by Kenny Fields, the last guy I rescued. I thought it might be fun to write a counterpoint narrative, telling the story from my point of view, and found it to be enjoyable.

That was when Craig and I began working in earnest on the project—I wrote the narratives and supplied the photos, while Craig did the maps and supporting documents.

All of my sons, David, Craig, Eric and Mark plus my wife, Kaye, have participated in one fashion or another during the creation of this book.

What makes this book special to you?

It brings back a time when I was able to make a difference in the lives of a few other people.

What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?

I tried to be both factual and dispassionate in my storytelling. Many people have very different conceptions of the Vietnam War, both positive and negative. I was involved in the effort to save American lives, without regard to politics. I hope people will read about this and perhaps get a new view or slant on what went on—this time from a positive view.

What people NEED to read this book and WHY?

Both those who lived through the Vietnam years and those who new only know about it from history books.

Surprisingly enough, a lot of females have been fascinated by this book. I would have thought it would appeal mainly to males, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Several women have commented that it has allowed them to take a peek into what happened to their father or husband.

I did not keep a diary while I was there, so I wasn’t able to give a day to day account of my experiences. What I tried to do, and what some people have said they find fascinating, was to record the bare facts and avoid any hyperbole, while still communicating the details of rescue operations.

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?

In my case, there was little creativity involved, as these are tales of what actually happened to me in a manner that is burned into my memory.

In my case, I had constant support and input from my wife and all four sons, who encouraged me and occasionally prompted me to include tidbits I might have forgotten to include.

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?

Motivation, motivation, motivation. I initially wrote this as a bit of private correspondence to my sons, then expanded it to the general public when it became obvious there was some interest.

As I mention in my ‘Note to the Reader’, this is the 5th edition of basically the same work. Each time, I had to consider to whom I was now writing. This affected not only what I included, but how I phrased it.

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?

See answer to 2nd question.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?

To date, my promotion has been limited to speaking to churches, civic clubs and historical societies.

One bit of advice I received, which I believe has been of benefit, was to make bookmarks advertising the book and give them away. This has seemed to work quite well.

NON FICTION - Why are you the BEST person to write this book? What in your background or in your research makes you qualified to do justice to this topic?

Because I lived it. Others, even those who also performed rescues, who might attempt to create a similar book would, of necessity, come up with a completely different type of book.

This is because of the personal experiences involved. I was startled recently to have another rescue pilot confide to me that he had admired the way I did things and had attempted to pattern himself after me. I would never have imagined anything like that. It is totally amazing how each of us affect the lives of others without realizing it.

NON FICTION - If a potential reader thinks that your book wouldn't interest them, what would you say to convince them to buy? I'm thinking something better than "Its the greatest book ever." Give me something more specific :)

This is a book that is more about saving peoples lives than war itself. I would encourage them to read a single rescue sequence to see if they found the descriptions interesting.

I knew that not all my readers would know about or remember the background of the Vietnam War, so I put in a section detailing my impressions of how and why we, as a country, became involved.

For the same reason, I included a background of life as a Jolly Green pilot and a bunch of anecdotes not directly related to rescue itself.

My hope was that even those who were vehemently opposed to the war would find something interesting they could relate to.

NON FICTION - Why does the topic of your book interest you? Why would it interest potential readers? Give us a hook to reel in new readers.

I think most people are intrigued by ‘how it really was’ stories. The Air Force rescue portion of the Vietnam War, for some reason, has been mostly overlooked, so this is something new for most readers.

It interests me because I was there and experienced all the various incidents described.

Others, I think, find themselves fascinated by the lengths our country went to in attempting to rescue those in harms’ way.

NON FICTION Is there a way to tie your book topic to current events? If so, tell us about how you could do that. I have a blog to feature information and examples about tying books into current events that might be a good place for you to promote your book.

Not directly. The war in Iraq comes to mind, but that is a totally different episode. The strictly military offensive warfare part is long over and even when we were engaged in active bombing campaigns, there was not then and is now no current correlation.

If there's anything else you would like to share, this is the time and place.

I appreciate your efforts to assist me in the promotion of my book.

Thank you for visiting with me and in closing, give us your website address and a link to order your book.

For anyone who would like to take a look inside the book, I compiled a "sampler" which gives you excerpts from the book and the entire first rescue along with pictures from the book. To download your free sampler - visit


Order link:

We've posted an excerpt from the book to share Dave's first rescue - visit

Feel free to ask questions or leave a comment at every stop on the tour to increase your chances to win a copy of this exciting book. For full details about Dave's tour and to see the schedule -


Anonymous said...

Good morning! Thank you for featuring my book on your website.

I thought I would check in to say thanks and to see if there were any comments that I should answer.

I will check back periodically today.

Dave Richardson

Nikki Leigh said...

Hi Dave

Its great to have you here. I really enjoyed your book and am still learning new things from it.

Nikki Leigh