Introducing Jack Heslin, author of Thunder: Stories From the First Tour

“After considerable research, I decided that Outskirts Press was the best option for me. From the first phone call to Outskirts Press to the announcement that my book was published, it has been a very positive experience working with a very professional team of people. I strongly recommend this team to anyone thinking of publishing a book.”

Jack Heslin is a two-tour Vietnam veteran who flew helicopters in the Highlands of Vietnam. He completed a 20-plus year military career as an Army Lt. Col. Jack had a variety of command and staff assignments and is a graduate of the Naval War College Command and Staff Course. He has had a number of articles published in military journals. Jack has been awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with V device and 24 oak leaf clusters and many other medals and awards. Jack’s civilian career included 19 years with John Tyler Community College in Virginia where Jack served as a sociology professor, campus administrator, apprenticeship coordinator, and Workforce Development Program coordinator. Jack is founder and owner, along with his daughter, of Black Jack Enterprises, Inc. which is focused on workforce development and integrated computer solutions for business. Jack was a founding member of the Chester Rotary Club and is a life member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association VHPA, the VFW and the Distinguished Flying Cross Society. He is the author of the award-winning website “The Battle of Kontum,” and the book “Reflections From the Web.”

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Book description…

“Jack Heslin tells the powerful true story of his first combat tour of duty in Vietnam.He brings that long-ago war to life as he recounts his baptism under fire and his subsequent mastery of the flying skills and tactics so essential to his surviving some of the most intense combat of the war. He gives extraordinary insights into battlefield leadership and unit dynamics. He tells what it was like being an Army helicopter pilot engaged in special, highly classified missions supporting secret commando operations behind enemy lines in Laos and Cambodia. Jack writes of hovering below treetops with bullets ripping into his aircraft; flying battle-damaged aircraft, shedding pieces of rotor blades in flight; and many other harrowing actions.A fascinating read.” -William Reeder Jr., Author of Through the Valley: My Captivity in Vietnam. “THUNDER: Stories From the First Tour” is a riveting account from a combat helicopter pilot in the period of the most intense combat for American forces during the Vietnam War, including Tet of 1968. Climb into the front seat of a combat assault UH-1 helicopter with Jack, and experience the intense fear and exhilaration of flying through a hail of bullets to save dying men. The intensity of the action is matched only by the gravity of the situation at this crucial time in the war. Jack takes you from his arrival in-country with an assault helicopter company, where, on his first night in Vietnam, the only thing he had to defend himself with was a single, silver .38-caliber bullet. The journey from “peter pilot” to being “Blue One” as a Platoon Commander and, finally, as an assault helicopter company operations officer in the Highlands of Vietnam will keep you on the edge of your seat as Jack flies into one terrifying situation after another. Feel the sense of power thundering through the skies of Vietnam, where you know any moment could be your last. Read about the top secret SOG missions into Laos and Cambodia where small Special Forces teams battle against huge odds along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. You are there when Jack is shot down in Laos on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and fights his way to the rescue helicopter. Visit a leprosarium with Jack as he listens to small children sing Christmas carols and then travel in a jeep through the night under the protection of a Catholic nun. Experience a Montagnard ceremony with Jack and elite Special Forces soldiers where rice wine is liberally served and brass bracelets are presented by the village chief. This non-fiction book is the real deal. It is all real; it all happened, and Jack lived through it to return home to his wife and family.

“My Dad did two tours in Vietnam and your book verifies his stories. I believe he helped plan some of those SOG sorties. But, being MI, he didn’t get specific about his duties. At his funeral, one of his friends said he hopped helicopters to see situations for himself. Again, thanks for a well-written history. -Gwenyth J.”

Introducing Michael Rand, author of WW VIETNAM

“It appeared to me that Colleen was working 24 hours a day to help me!”

Michael Rand, is an Author, Architect, Artist, Aviator, Photographer and Music Composer who lives in Frederick, Maryland

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Book description…

This book is written so that my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren hopefully will better understand my experience in the Viet Nam WAR. War is evil and life altering. Everyone who has experienced war is mentally and physically affected by war for the rest of their lives. This book will give a written description of the History of war, however the emotional, heartbreaking, actual experience of war is the only way to truly understand how traumatic war is to its soldiers. “There are no unwounded soldiers in WAR.” The greatest General of all times is SUN TZU, a Military General and Strategist who live in the 5th Century AD, he died in 470 BC. Many or the successful battles in the history of WAR were won by using SUN TZUs guidelines and teachings. In the history of earth, many of the Nations or Countries have been the most feared and powerful on earth at one time. It is constantly changing and evolving and will continue to do so. First it was the Chinese, then the Persians, the Greeks, the Mangolds, Romans, Germans and the Americans. Warfare is taught and sometimes it is not taught well. This is when many soldiers die without reason! On November the 23th 1963 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated the world as we new it changed forever, the safety and security changed. “Older men declare war but it is the youth and the poor that must fight and die.” -Herbert Hoover. In the American Civil War rather than be drafted the rich could pay 300 Dollars and they did not have to go to war. In the Viet Nam war if your family was rich they could have their sons serve in the National Guard and they did not have to serve in combat. Many things that are taught to a soldier are complete wrong and will get you killed, if you stand up and charge and ambush, you will die. If You charge up a hill to take a hill, you will die. If Stand up in a fire fight, you will die. If You pick up anything in a war zone, you will die. If you charge a machine gun, you will die. If you step on a boobie trap or trip wire, you will die. If you fall to get down when you here the word incoming, you will die. You will need to learn these and many more examples of how not to die! The Vietnamese Army soldiers was brave, fearless and had been fighting war his or her entire life. They were seasoned, hardcore veterans and 100% believed in what they were fighting for unlike the American Soldier who had trained for 180 days and did not know or believe in why they were in Viet Nam they just wanted to finish their tour and rotate out of Viet Nam back to the United States. Landing in Vietnam, our plane landed at Tan Son Nhat air base in February 1968. I lined up to get off the plane a little scared and nervous not knowing what to expect. I walked out the door of the aircraft and I was immediately hit by the heat and humidity. I struggled to breath. The first think I saw was 150 soldiers waiting to get on the plane. All of the soldiers were very thin, they had a look in their eyes that I later learned was called the thousand-mile stare. The next thing I saw was luggage carts being pulled by trams, the carts were caring caskets of dead soldiers. The same planes that flew soldiers home also fly dead soldiers home in the luggage compartment in the bottom of the plane. A few days later I was told I was assigned to The First Air Cavalry Airmobile Division, 2nd of the 5th, Bravo Company Second platoon second squad. In a few more days I was flown out to meet with my Platoon. I was introduced to my squad leader Sargent Rust Strab. Sargent Strab was cooking rice and fish it smelled uneatable; it was Vietnamese army food. He ate the same food that the Viet Cong ate. His clothes and skin were the color of the dirt brown earth he looked as if he had never bathed in his life. He smelled like the jungle. He spoke pure war slang. He spoke quickly to me in Vietnamese De De Mow, and pointed to a fox hole about twenty yards away from his. He never told me anything that would help me survive the war. I later learned that no soldier wonted to meet a new soldier in country as they could be dead in hours or days and they did not need to think about a new guy. All new soldiers were called FNGs. Fucking New Guys. At dawn, I was told to pack up. We were to fly out at 0700 hours. Strab stopped by my foxhole and looked thru my back pack. He threw away my soap, tooth paste, cigarettes and deodorant. These actions keep me alive and taught me not to smell like an American. Strab again spoke to me DE DE MOW FNG. I humped over to the LZ and stood next to Second Squad. No one spoke to me. The Hueys started to landing and six soldiers climbed on each bird. Interesting no seats, no seat belts. Some soldiers just sat in the opening of the helicopter with their feet dangling out the side……

Introducing Kermit Watson, author of The Cul De Sac of Death

“Your support was superb and I include those who worked with you. Without the quality of support offered by Outskirts, the amateur self-publisher would be lost. No one would undertake to attempt to compose/write an initial production.”

Kermit Watson was with the First Infantry Division on this date, serving as Trial Counsel (Prosecutor) for the division. He is a retired 0-6 living in the mountains of W.N.C. with Phyllis, his wife. This is his 3rd book on combat in RVN; the only one factual in its entirety. He is a member of the Georgia Bar Association since 1963. His military awards are the BS, AirMedal and MSM (2dOLC).

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Book description…

A massacre in the Republic of Vietnam. This is a factual, accurate report of the Battle of Ong Thanh, 10/17/67, in the jungles about 40 miles West of Saigon, not far from the Cambodian border, near the termination of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The words herein are the words of the 70 survivors (out of 144) of the 2d/28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. The enemy, 271stVC Regiment was an experienced and crafty foe; our bravery could not balance the massive odds against us.

Introducing Željko Drinjak, author of The Island of Krk and the Croatian War of the Independence, An Untold Story

“My book is published! Thank you, thank you, Outskirts Press! I could not have done it without your help. The best gift for Christmas – ever!

Željko Drinjak was born in 1964 in Šibenik. He is a veteran of the Croatian War of Independence. With the military rank of second lieutenant he is a reserve officer of the Croatian Armed Forces and a member of the Croatian Army Officer Corps. He lives in Njivice on the island of Krk in the Republic of Croatia.

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Book description…

A book on the contribution of the island of Krk and its inhabitants to the Croatian War of Independence. Although the title of the book may give the impression that it has a local character, the truth is exactly the opposite-the book describes the backdrop of the events that occurred on the territory of the former Yugoslavia at the end of the previous century, told through the prism of the participation of the island of Krk and its inhabitants in the Croatian uprising with the aim of defending and establishing the independent Republic of Croatia. The contents of this book respect all of the historical circumstances that preceded the Croatian War of Independence. The events of the 1990s stem from the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the establishment of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, when the Great Serbian hegemony (which had been visible even earlier) began, up until the end of the Croatian War of Independence. Since each region has its own specificities, it was necessary to describe how the people of Krk fought different forms of Fascist ideology no less than three times in the previous century. Linking the Croatian War of Independence with anti-fascism was truly courageous, and it represents a rarity in the contemporary Croatian historiography. In a similar vein, the descriptions of religious and humanitarian activities of religious communities present on the island at the time, apart from the Catholic Church, which has been present on the island since the Late Antiquity, the descriptions of the Islamic Community, Evangelical Church, Seventh-day Adventist Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses constitute the first written texts on those communities on the island. This book is truly different from other books about the Croatian War of Independence, and it describes many of the hitherto unexplored areas. The book was written under the auspices of the highest scientific institution in the Republic of Croatia-the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. All this guarantees the highest scientific, professional and moral approach to the subject matter. In the 2014 literary and journalism contest for the best book on the subject of the Croatian War of Independence, the book received special mention by the jury and won the second prize. It should be pointed out that the book has already found its place in highly respectable and world- famous libraries of educational and cultural institutions, such as Harvard University, Library of Congress, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, British Library, University College London and Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.

Introducing Douglas W. Roussin, author of Canteens and Horseshoes

“I was not sure of all that was involved with this process. Everything went very well. I will publish my next book with Outskirts Press and will ask for Lisa.”

Douglas W. Roussin has been collecting and studying Civil War and Grand Army memorabilia for nearly 60 years. This is his second book on GAR memorabilia. Doug is a current member of the Civil War Veteran Historical Association and present Camp Commander of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. He enjoys relic hunting, traveling, gardening and antiquing with his wife Kathie.


Product description…

In the 83 years following the American Civil War, a powerful organization known as the Grand Army of the Republic dominated the life of the Civil War veterans. Founded in 1866, the organization’s membership peaked in the 1890’s, with nearly 450,000 veterans. In 1949, the last surviving members disbanded the organization and it became history. The organization was all but forgotten except by Civil War enthusiast, historians and collectors of Grand Army of the Republic memorabilia. During its existence, the Grand Army produced souvenirs in the form of badges, canteens and good luck horseshoes. “Canteens and Horseshoes,” is an in depth study of what the veterans left behind. This volume containing approximately 280 colored photos of Veteran’s badges, miniature canteens and canteens used to hold the veteran’s liquid of choice, “whiskey.” Their motto, “We Drank from the Same Canteen” had real meaning to the veteran. Along with canteens, this study contains a large variety of little known, and often overlooked, decorative horseshoes which the Civil War veteran proudly displayed in his home. After nearly 60 years of collecting, researching information at numerous museums and conversing with other avid collectors, I have compiled and cataloged this study on Grand Army canteens and horseshoes. This study will give the novice and advance collector a better understanding of what can be found on the collecting market. The last remaining veterans never realized how fascinating their souvenirs would become to future generations.

Introducing Capt Bob Grant, author of Salty Dog

“This was FUN and I am selling books! I have already started my next book. Outskirts Press made it easy and fun. The help just keeps coming. I feel like Colleen, my Author Representative, was working for me full time. Great Job. Keep it up.”

Born Robert E. Grant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Bob grew up along the coast of New England. After graduating Dover New Hampshire High School, he joined the US Navy, became a naval aviator and spent twenty years serving his country. Bob is an accomplished captain and aviator. He possesses a wealth of practical experience gained by cruising the oceans of the world. He is an avid “HAM” radio enthusiast, KD4HCR, renowned for his sparkling wit.


Product description…

After more than 30 years of retirement, US Navy Captain Bob Grimes is summoned to Washington DC. Returning to active duty, he is flown to an Air Traffic Control facility on a “Rock” in the middle of the North Atlantic. Orders are to take command and investigate without raising any suspicion about some unusual activity. What the Salty Dog finds could affect the entire world.

Introducing Catherine Harris, author of Finding Frances

“Very pleased. I can’t wait to see my book.”

Catherine was born in November 1943 during an air raid. Growing up in post-war London, the eldest of seven children, born to an English father and an Irish mother, she was always acutely aware of the sacrifices made by the brave young men of the Royal Air Force. Their bravery was something she carried with her throughout her life. Half a century after the armistice, Catherine met Frances who had kept all of Eric’s letters and she gave them to Catherine. The letters inspired her to write this book, “I couldn’t just put them in a box and forget them” she said. This book is a tribute to her uncle and is a particular chronicle of one young man at war and his unfailing love for a young woman. It is also a story of human hope and triumph over the everarching forces that shape our lives and dreams. Catherine lives in Tucson, Arizona where she volunteers her time to The Irish Heritage Foundation; the Celtic Academy of Tucson; The Maguire Academy of Irish Dance; The St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival and the Doolen Fruitvale Neighborhood Association. More information on the author, including a radio interview at http://www.transatlanticmanagement.com


Product description…

Eric Hutchin was 17 when he joined the Royal Air Force to fight the Nazis in World War II. He trained as a fighter pilot at Falcon Field, a Hollywood-financed military base built in Mesa, in the Arizona desert, and there he fell in love with 17-year-old Frances Mackenzie. For the remainder of that savage war, Eric flew iconic Spitfires and Typhoons, protecting the shores of England, intercepting V-1 rockets, liberating Holland. And writing to Frances. Clever and poignant, his love letters, sketches and photos form the personal chronicle of one young flight lieutenant and his love for his special girl, but of course this is also a universal story — the coming-of-age tale of every young man who goes to war.