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Naked in Da Nang: A Forward Air Controller in Vietnam    by Mike Jackson & Tara Dixon-Engel order for
Naked in Da Nang
by Mike Jackson
Order:  USA  Can
Zenith Press, 2010 (2004)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Mike Jackson spent 366 days in the 1970s as a forward air controller (FAC) in Vietnam. His office in the air was the O-2A. The rather odd looking, some would say ugly, aircraft wasn't pretty nor was it fast, but his sky pig did get the author through 210 combat missions.

FAC's mission was to control the bomb, rocket and napalm laden attack aircraft which flew over the battlefield awaiting instructions on where to offload their deadly cargo. Jackson was also part of the team of FACs who managed the rescue of BAT-21, immortalized in the movie of the same name.

Every time he flew into the combat zone, Jackson had to keep an eye out not only for the enemy but also for situations where friendly fire could knock his plane out of the sky.

A U.S. Air Force veteran with 23 years of service, Jackson explains in the preface of this memoir that, 'The mission of this book is simply to confirm that human beings bring to war exactly what they bring to life - humanity, in all its many tones and hues. That humanity, in order to be genuine, must include laugher. It's what keeps us sane when nothing else makes sense.'

There's plenty of humor in this book that combines sardonic wit with historical accuracy and a central character who is likeable and courageous, usually in spite of himself.

Already drawing comparisons to M*A*S*H* for its irreverent humor, this book will appeal to anyone who served in the military as well as to civilian audiences.

'I offer this record - a personal odyssey - of what Vietnam was like for me, one little guy from Tipp City, Ohio, who remembers Southeast Asia with a range of emotions, including, always, laughter', writes Jackson. I think you'll share his mirth as this remarkable tale unfolds.

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