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MASH Angels: Tales of an Air-Evac Helicopter Pilot in the Korean War    by Richard Kirkland order for
MASH Angels
by Richard Kirkland
Order:  USA  Can
Burford Books, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

A decorated air-evac helicopter pilot during the Korean War, Richard Kirkland shares how he and a group of other chopper pilots revolutionized battlefield medical evacuation.

Before the war the helicopter was pretty much used for plucking downed pilots out of the water and wounded soldiers caught behind enemy lines. A former World War II fighter pilot, Kirkland was one of a handful of men who brought the helicopter to the forefront in battlefield evacuation. Given the mountainous terrain of Korea, this was a no brainer if the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) units were going to be able to provide the immediate, frontline care that was so desperately needed.

'Helicopters of the Third Air Rescue Group were given credit for picking up pilots and aircrews from behind enemy lines during the Korean War,' writes Kirkland. 'Add to that 8,373 soldiers and airmen were snatched from the battlefields and air-taxed to the front-line MASH. Quite a feat for a handful of taxi drivers.'

As Kirkland shares his experiences he also introduces some of the engaging nurses, surgeons, and fellow pilots he came to know while maneuvering his H-5 chopper in and out of tight spots in Korea.

This highly readable and entertaining first-person narrative will be of interest to a range of individuals, from history and aviation buffs to those who might have benefited from these mercy flights during the Korean or Viet Nam conflicts.

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