"In the Sanctity of the Snake Pit" discloses the tribulations of the Vietnam helicopter war, and provides deeply moving insight into the lives of those crewmen who routinely flew combat assault missions. Written in narrative non-fiction, the book reveals the rarely told account of air to ground combat, and the surreal events of adolescent soldiers, many exposed for the first time to their mortality. In 1969 sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll dominated most of these young lives, but they stood and fought hard believing they were doing the right thing irrespective of politics, and public opinion! Setting the backdrop is the 135th Assault Helicopter Unit, a fighting contingency made up of Royal Australian Navy personnel and members of the United States Army. As the only multi-national experimental military unit in Vietnam, they maintained the highest order of discipline and wrought devastation on the Viet Cong in South Vietnam's delta region. With a year long adventure before him, the protagonist, MITCHELL COLLINS reflects on his desire to fly in the machines he was trained to repair.Almost immediately he is transformed into an aerial combatant of the unit's elite Taipan platoon flying helicopter gunships. Their mission is to protect the troop transport choppers carrying ground forces into the fight. Once the troops are in the landing zone, the Taipan's provided gun support and reconnaissance. His experiences were unlike other combatants who fought on the ground, the intensity and frequency of actions were multiplied by their mobility. Mitchell soon contemplates on his heartfelt emotion of the carnage and of losing comrades. In his last three months he fly's the night missions of the hunter/killers", and his chances for survival dwindle.
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