Answering the Call
Life of a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and beyond
By Bob Grandin
Published by Big Sky Publishing
RRP $20.99 in paperback • ISBN 9781922265401
The dedication at the beginning of this book is telling. “I dedicate this book to all the veterans who ‘Answered the Call’ of duty and then struggle as they attempt to settle back into civilian life.”
In 1966, Bob Grandin was an RAAF helicopter pilot stationed in Vietnam. He has written this book from the logbook he kept while working in Nui Dat.
It is a fascinating look at life during the war – the dangers, the challenges and the mundaneness.
On 18 August he was co-pilot on a 9 Squadron Iroquois ‘Huey’ helicopter that flew over the enemy to resupply desperate solders engaged in battle at the Long Tan rubber plantation.
Enduring extremely poor weather conditions and enemy fire the critical role played by Bob and 9 Squadron in the Battle of Long Tan contributed to the success of this battle.
But this is more than the story of his Vietnam experience.
It is the lived experience of a life, post-Vietnam. It is a story of disintegrating mental health, the impact of the war on his psyche and relationships, and his subsequent struggles with PTSD.
This book does provide a unique perspective of a wartime helicopter pilot and may well be considered as an important addition to Vietnam War history but it is the acknowledgement and understanding of his mental health battles that are the real value.
How much better might another man feel reading that he is not the only one to struggle in this way? In my opinion, the honesty of his writing about his mental health struggles are to be applauded.