More than fifty years after the Vietnam War, Bartlett’s vivid combat experiences are brought to light in a fast-moving, well-written, first-person narrative expressing the horror, fear, anguish, and sometimes illogical humor of that war.
Helicopter Combat Assaults
The cover photo shows the platoon leader’s view of a helicopter combat assault (commonly referred to as Charlie Alpha). It is a view I encountered more than 60 times during my tour, sometimes twice a day, except when I rode in the first chopper. I always rode in the first bird when it was my platoon’s turn to lead the assault. The first helicopter and the men in it were the most vulnerable despite an intense five-minute artillery prep, Cobra helicopters working the perimeter firing rockets and miniguns, and door gunners blasting away at the edges before landing.
The men aboard the first helicopter would often ride on the skids as it came in for a landing. They wanted off and to get to cover as quickly as possible. A premature jump often resulted in falls and injuries. Pilots of that first bird also wanted to pull pitch and get out of harm’s way and back to the safety of the sky. A hot LZ was the worst possible scenario for pilots, soldiers, helicopter, and crew – sometimes resulting in death and tragedy.
Delve into this first-hand account of Robin Bartlett’s extraordinary combat experience as a 22-year-old 1st Lieutenant in the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) deploying on helicopter assaults into hot landing zones in I Corps at the height of the Vietnam War. It’s a story that will stay with you long past the last page.
These are the code words all Vietnam Veterans use in greetings. My Vietnam veteran brothers have a deep understanding of these words. They are so meaningful to us. They will bring tears to our eyes and lumps to our throats.
Watch the two videos below to better understand my book and my tour as a combat infantry platoon leader and staff officer with the 1st Cav Division (Airmobile) from 1968-1969.
- 288 pages | 6×9
- 90 full-color photographs & illustrations
- ISBN: 978-1-63624-242-2 hard cover
- Autographed copies available for pre-order. Advance orders ship January 2023. Price: $25
Vietnam Combat: Firefights and Writing History is also available at independent bookstores as well as the online bookstores below. Shipping February 2023.
The year 1968 was arguably the most significant year of the war. It was the height of the American involvement, and because officer casualties had been so great after the Tet Offensive of January 1968, all prior officer assignments were cancelled.
1st Lieutenant Robin Bartlett, originally on orders to the 101st Airborne Division, suddenly found himself at the “repo-depo” in Bien Hoa reassigned to the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). The unit had more helicopter support than any other unit in Vietnam. The soldiers carried lighter packs, more ammo and water because of the availability of rapid helicopter resupply. Immediate support from artillery, helicopter gunships and ARA (aerial rocket artillery) was only minutes away to support a firefight. Wounded troops could be medevaced even in dense jungle using “jungle penetrators.” It also meant that Bartlett’s platoon could deploy through helicopter combat assaults into hot LZs (landing zones) at a moment’s notice if an enemy force had been spotted. And they did.
It was with extreme anxiety that Bartlett made his way to join his battalion and company – it was the worst of times to be a platoon leader in Vietnam, let alone a grunt serving in a combat unit. Bartlett also had to cope with personal issues of commitment to a war that was rapidly losing support not only back home but among the soldiers he was leading through the jungles along the DMZ.
Includes timeline, glossary of military terms, bibliography, resources, index.
About the author
Promoted to 1st Lieutenant after only one year, Robin Bartlett at 22 assumed the leadership of the 1st Platoon, A Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Over the next seven months, he led a platoon on more than sixty helicopter combat assaults and search and destroy missions.
Bartlett grew up in a military family. His grandfather, father and brother all attended West Point, but after thirteen elementary and middle schools and four high schools, he decided he’d had enough of the military. But in college, as the Vietnam War escalated and eighteen-year-olds were drafted daily, Bartlett joined his college’s ROTC program and fell back into a familiar routine. Upon graduation as a Distinguished Military Graduate he volunteered for Infantry, Airborne, and Ranger training, and assignment to the 82d Airborne Division. He got everything he asked for…and more.
Bartlett holds a BA degree in Comparative Literature from Claremont McKenna College in California and a master’s degree in Media from Pace University in NYC. He has written numerous business publications and a professional book published by Dun & Bradstreet.
He is the President of the NY/NJ Chapter of the 1st Cavalry Division Association, and a proud member of the 82d Airborne Division Association. He and his wife live in Norwood, New Jersey, and have three sons, none of whom have pursued military careers.
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