Catkiller 3-2

An Army Pilot Flying for the Marines in the Vietnam War
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Published:September 15, 2018

Catkiller 3-2 provides unique insights into the role of the tactical air controller, airborne (TACA) in I Corps as seen through the eyes of one of the pilots who flew low-flying, unarmed, single-engine aircraft in support of Marine ground units during the Vietnam War. When Gen. William Westmoreland changed the Marines’ role in I Corps into a combat one, the Marines found themselves in need of more fixed wing aircraft to handle the TACA missions. The advance party of the Army’s 220th Reconnaissance Aircraft Company (RAC) arrived in Vietnam in late June 1965 thinking they were going to be assigned to III Corps Tactical Zone. However, because of the shortage of existing Marine Birddogs, the 220th was immediately reassigned to I Corps and came under the operational control of the Marines.

No other work details the tactics, restrictions, aerial maneuvers, and dangers experienced by the Army pilots and Marine aerial observers flying these missions. As young lieutenants and captains, they had at their beck and call as much authority to request and control artillery and air strikes as ground commanders of much higher rank. Raymond G. Caryl provides unrivaled examples of the cultural mores, attitudes, and recreational activity of these young pilots and observers supporting the ground forces.



List Price: $29.95
Member Price: $23.96
Product Details
  • Hardcover : 264 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (September 15, 2018)
  • ISBN-10: 168247352X
  • ISBN-13: 9781682473528
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 18.4 oz
  • Finalist for the 2018 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Awards.
  • American Warrior Radio Interview TAKEAWAY: “I wouldn’t trade my experience in Vietnam for a million dollars. Supporting those troops on the ground gave me a sense of accomplishment that is hard to define.”
  • “Aficionados of military history and aviation will appreciate its contribution to their interests. Others will appreciate for its peek into the cool, collected competence of pilots.” —Arizona Daily Star
  • "Raymond G. Caryl's Vietnam War story is ... unique." —The VVA Veteran
  • "This is a unique story, previously untold... Caryl has written an engaging account of his war in Vietnam, flying for the USMC. In the process he has provided many new insights in a war which had a major impact on US society and the ways in which the military came to adapt. A book that deserves a wide readership. Very highly recommended." —FIRE Reviews
  • “A Shau Valley. Northern I Corps. The most dangerous piece of real estate in the world. Every time he took off in his 100mph Birddog, Ray Caryl knew that a virtually invisible enemy were waiting to kill him. This is a reminder of what brave men did to protect fellow Americans in combat.” —Jim Hooper, author of A Hundred Feet Over Hell
  • “Raymond Caryl’s Catkiller 3-2 is a well-written and thoughtful first person account with an unusual two-service perspective. The author comes across as fair-minded and decent, someone you would like to know or serve with, and has given us an excellent contribution to the literature of the Vietnam War.”—Lewis Sorley, author of A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam
  • “Grippingly authentic, Catkiller 3-2 is a harrowing descent into the war in Vietnam from the cockpit of a low-flying Army ‘Birddog’ observation aircraft, and a sterling reminder that the iconic image of a steely nerved, swashbuckling wartime aviator is more than the stuff of legend.” —Warren Wilkins, author, Nine Days in May: The Battles of the 4th Infantry Division on the Cambodian Border, 1967 and Grab Their Belts to Fight Them: The Viet Cong's Big Unit-War Against the U.S., 1965-1966

Raymond G. Caryl's aviation career began in 1966 in the U.S. Army and extended until 2004. After leaving active duty, he continued to fly in the Army Reserves and National Guard until 1997. He has flown as a pilot for the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Customs Service, and as a contract helicopter pilot. He lives in Oro Valley, Arizona.



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