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Thursday, 7 August 2008
Talking With Dave Richardson
Topic: Author Interview

Dave Richardson The Person:

1.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.


2.  Why helicopter rescue instead of some other branch of the military?

That's a very good question, and one that requires a bit of an answer.  When I was in the 7th grade, I decided I wanted to become an Air Force pilot, retire and teach school and, believe it or not, that is what I did!

Naturally, when I was younger, I thought I wanted to be a fighter pilot, but I was delayed in entering pilot training (another long story) and began to realize how restrictive a fighter pilot's life is.  My wife, Kaye, introduced me to helicopters by purchasing me a ticket on a commuter helicopter.  Then, while on deployment to Turkey, I got a chance to fly with the helicopter unit there.

It was so much fun!  When I returned to the States, I switched my request to helicopters. While in helicopter training, I had the opportunity to choose between transport and rescue helicopters.  Since I had served in Civil Air Patrol as both an Aircraft Observer and Ground Team Commander on search and rescue missions, my inclination was with rescue.

Didn't matter.  Following graduation, I was assigned to haul VIP's around Washington D.C.  When I was alerted that I would receive orders to Vietnam (no I did not volunteer), I again had the choice between rescue and transport.  I choose rescue.

3.  Do you believe putting your experience in words helped your children understand who their father is better?

Yes, I think it helped. They not only got to hear about a part of my life that otherwise would have been closed to them, but all have actively helped in the publication of this book.

4.  If we find ourselves in such a situation again and one of your sons (or grandsons) wanted to follow in your footsteps, what would you say to them? 

Go for it!  Oddly enough, my 2nd son did follow somewhat in my footsteps.  He was an Army helicopter pilot and flew in the Grenada conflict as well as both Gulf wars.  Two of the three times he flew as a Medevac pilot, retrieving wounded soldiers.

5.  Did your spiritual outlook change at any point during your time as a helicopter rescue pilot?  If so, would you care to elaborate?

No, I do not believe it changed.  I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 9 years old and have attempted to follow Him to the best of my ability all my life.  When I was 29 years old, I was sent to Vietnam.  I did not hear any voices or anything like that, but I felt confident that the Lord would protect me when in danger and He certainly did!

6.  Knowing what all you went through, if given the choice to enter a different branch of the military, do you think you would or do you believe this was the one path you were meant to take?

No, I would not change to a different service.  I loved the Air Force and had a lot of fun while in it.  Without knowing all the reasons why, I do feel this was the path I was meant to take.

Dave Richardson The Writer:

7.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I originally wrote this book as ‘eyes only' for my children.  Somehow, word got out and others began requesting a copy.  I was stunned to realize that anyone would be interested in what I had written for my children.  I suppose that is when I felt I was truly a writer.

8.      What is going on with your writing these days?

Obviously, my book is out and available.  In addition to the print copy, readers can order it as a downloadable eBook; both of these can be done from my website:  I will soon have the book available in audio format from the same website.  Visitors to the website can view many of the pictures contained in the book, plus short actual film clips of two of my rescues.  The book is now available in Kindle format at:  I have a 30-minute power point presentation, which has been well received at a local civic club and the Historical Society.  I plan to advertise my services to speak at churches, civic clubs and the like in an effort to promote the book.

9.  What are your future goals for your writing?

At the moment, I have none.  Several individuals have asked if I plan to write any more books and my answer to date has been, "No".

10   Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I try to pick a time when I am fresh and not involved in other things; then ‘write up storm' for awhile; then quit and do something else.  Finally I review what I have just written and make corrections as they occur to me.

11.  Why do you write?

Originally, it was to leave a legacy for my children.

12.   What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I am a somewhat eclectic reader; always with an ‘emergency book' or two on hand, therefore, I find it difficult to pick a favorite writer.  My choice would vary, depending on the type of book I was describing.

13.  How do you define your writing?

I tried to be both factual and dispassionate in my writing.

14.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

His trust in the Lord while in difficult circumstances shines through as an object lesson to us.

Dave Richardson The Details:

15.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

16.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

17.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Vietnam Air Rescues

18.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

"Vietnam Air Rescues" comes in several parts.  Part 1 is my take on the history of the Vietnam War.  Part 2 gives general background on how the rescue system worked.  Part 3 presents the details of my 7 rescues.  Part 4 is a collection of 30+ anecdotes concerning things that happened to me apart from a particular rescue.  Part 5 is a summation of general topics.  Part 6 contains a final word. and Part 7 is a glossary of military jargon for the non-military minded.  Scattered throughout the book, at appropriate places, are over 100 photos, maps and drawings.

In conclusion:

19.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

My 2nd son, Craig, (I have 4 sons), had tried for years to get me to put down in writing the stories I had related to them regarding my Vietnam experiences.  (Incidentally, he has followed somewhat in my footsteps by becoming an Army helicopter pilot who served in the Panama incursion as well as Gulf Wars 1 & 2.  He did Medevac [the Army version of rescue] in Panama and Gulf War 2.  By the way, I have forgiven him for being in the Army instead of the Air Force!)

I resisted his efforts until I received a preliminary account of the ‘Streetcar' rescue by Kenny Fields, the last guy I rescued.  I thought it might be fun to write a counterpoint narrative, telling the story from my point of view, and found it to be enjoyable.

That was when Craig and I began working in earnest on the project-I wrote the narratives and supplied the photos, while Craig did the maps and supporting documents.

All of my sons, David, Craig, Eric and Mark plus my wife, Kaye, have participated in one fashion or another during the creation of this book.

I am a Christian.  Decided while in the 7th grade I wanted to attend college; become a pilot with the USAF; retire and teach school-that is what I have done.  (I flew a variety of helicopters and taught 8th grade Mathematics.)  Wife and I are High School sweethearts.  We live on the shore of a small lake in rural Kansas. 

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:54 AM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink

Thursday, 7 August 2008 - 9:52 AM EDT

Name: "Ron Berry"

A very insightful interview. It's also one of the few positive takes I've seen on 'Nam. I may have to look into getting this book.

 You both did a good job here



Thursday, 7 August 2008 - 3:41 PM EDT

Name: "Dave Richardson"
Home Page: http://www,

Glad you enjoyed it, Ron.  Take a look at for some good photos and more information about the book.


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