Dr. Mark Garrison is an Illinois native, and the author of the book "Guts 'N Gunships, What it was Really Like to Fly Combat Helicopters in Vietnam."

From the book's synopsis:

In the summer of 1967, Mark Garrison had dropped out of college at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, just before entering his third year. He had run out of money and had to work for a while. These were the days before the lottery and the draft soon came calling. In order to somewhat control his own future, he enlisted in the U.S. Army’s helicopter flight school program. Little did he know that this adventure would be the most profound experience of his life.

Garrison flew hundreds of missions for the 119th AHC, stationed in the Central Highlands at Camp Holloway in Pleiku, Vietnam. He was awarded twenty-five Air Medals, four campaign Bronze Stars, and The Distinguished Flying Cross among numerous other awards. His narrative takes you through the whole process, from basic training, flight school, flying combat in Vietnam, and his return to the United States. His description includes many incidents in combat flight, including being hit by rocket propelled grenades and being on fire in the air, over hundreds if not thousands of enemy troops. But this is not all. He elaborates on the daily lives, emotions, and nuances of the pilots and what they considered their mission to be.


Not long after completing his book, Dr. Garrison somehow came into possession of an audio recording of one of the missions described in the book. His son, Andrew, took that audio and combined it with video to give us a look into what life was like for the rescue helicopters and their crews.