As a Skywitness to History, helicopter pilot LTC Gene T. Boyer flew tours of duty in Korea and Vietnam before joining the Executive Flight Detachment, gradually working his way up to the White House Senior Pilot position during the Johnson, Nixon, and Ford administrations....
|Title||:||Inside the President's Helicopter: Reflections of a White House Senior Pilot|
|Number of Pages||:||420 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Inside the President's Helicopter: Reflections of a White House Senior Pilot Reviews
In August, 1974, I was busy watching over an active toddler and pregnant with our second child. The preceding twelve years had been chaotic - for me personally and for our country. Frustrated, angry, confused and scared, I was no different than anyone else. I remember sitting on the couch, dry-mouthed, watching the first family troop out to a helicopter on the White House lawn. The President's wife and daughters were stoic, but I knew they'd been crying and would cry again. Nixon paused in the doorway of Army One and flung his arms into the air in his signature "victory" gesture, but his over-shiny eyes betrayed him. I wanted to curse at him, but only a sob came out. What the heck was going on in the world? LTC Gene Boyer was also a witness to this event - not from the perspective of a prying-eye television set, but from the cockpit of the helicopter waiting for the Nixons and their entourage to board. His description of the sad tableaux inside the craft as it carried the first family to Andrews AFB where Air Force One waited is both sensitive and revealing--as is the rest of Colonel Boyer's book. This intriguing memoir is filled with many familiar images in American History told from the perspective of a publicly invisible but crucial participant - the President's helicopter pilot. Gene Boyer was already an accomplished pilot with thousands of hours in the air, when he was assigned to the Army's Executive Flight Detachment in October 1963. He was no stranger to carrying VIPs at that point, but this job was special - it was to ferry the President and his guests to official and unofficial events. Boyer was excited about the new position and honored by the opportunity. However, he had not yet arrived at his new duty station when John Kennedy was assassinated. He only worked a short time when new President Lyndon Johnson split the group - sending half to Austin and the other half to Vietnam. Boyer went to Nam. Helicopters were useful in Korea, but in Vietnam, they became a ubiquitous tool of combat - used to insert and extract troops, rescue the trapped and provide medical assistance to the wounded. Boyer's time in-country built his love for rotary aircraft and enhanced his already impressive abilities. Those skills were to come in handy when he returned from Southeast Asia to fly Presidents Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. The sheer breadth of Boyer's experiences makes this a terrific read. There was the time that he flew Dwight Eisenhower and Walter Cronkite over Omaha Beach while filming a documentary for the Twentieth Anniversary of D-day. There was the struggle to dump Agent Orange out of the back of a Chinook in Vietnam, which turned out to have dire consequences for the health of American troops on the ground and for the pilots charged with dispersing the poison, as well. There's the story about flying a mile ahead of a motorcade carrying LBJ and Mexican President Diaz Ortez. With a secret service agent strapped to one side of the helicopter and his Mexican counterpart on the other side, they saw a sniper on top of a building overlooking the route. They radioed ahead and the man was arrested. The presidents had no sooner arrived at their destination in Juarez than security had to subdue and arrest a young woman with a pistol. There's also many neat things that only an insider would know--like the time LBJ loaned a helicopter with pilot to ailing ex-President Eisenhower. When then Major Boyer arrived, Ike asked him to take a covey of pretty girls for a ride...and when he returned, before landing, to hover near his hospital window so that he could take their picture. Then there's the story about taking off from St. Peter's square with Nixon and a load of presents from the Pope--and the one about a harrowing trip to Peru with Pat Nixon after a catastrophic earthquake. However, in the end, this book spoke to me more than other accounts of the Watergate travesty. Boyer doesn't see the political side of Nixon--or the desperate or criminal one. He describes a human being under incredible pressure--a man who was unfailingly polite and appreciative of the service Boyer provided. Along with Colonel Boyer, I had to imagine what the world would have remembered of Nixon had Watergate not happened...certainly history would have shown a productive and successful presidency. I was struck again by the tragedy of it all. This is a book that made me want to meet the author - to ask him about Julie and Tricia, to talk about the wild party at his home after the Frost/Nixon interviews, to chat about choppers and bloopers - and a host of cultural happenings that we both lived through...he on the edge of reality, me from afar peering through my TV. Joyce Faulkner Author of "In the Shadow of Suribachi" Co-Author of "Sunchon Tunnel Massacre Survivors" President of Military Writers Society of America
Loved this one. So much presidential history! Some of which I know, a lot of which I did not know. The author's writing style made this an enjoyable read.
The author, Gene Boyer, retired from the Army as a Lt. Col. (His service as a White House pilot actually limited his promotion potential.) He led an amazing life -- the people he met, the places he went, the amazing experiences. Just one example, while working in Venezuela he saw Sputnik fall to earth in flames. A number of near misses with death. Many famous people.Still, the book is an easy interesting read rather than a simple catalog of his life. He's a man I would like to know and his integrity, loyalty and devotion to our country and its presidents clearly represent the best of our military.He has little use for LBJ who he portrays as a rule-breaking egotist whose whims actually took lives. On the other hand, despite Nixon's resignation (he actually flew Nixon from the White house on the day Nixon resigned), Boyer had both admiration and sympathy for the man who was unfailingly polite to him.All in all, a retelling of a remarkable life and the book includes many photos.
This book is truly a time machine and you really get a sense of what this guy experienced as the president's helicopter pilot. He served under Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and finally before retiring Gerald Ford but he did not complete a full presidential term with Gerald Ford he retired before the end of forts term.He starts out with a lot of background about himself and gives you a literal birds eye view of Vietnam and won a graphic and horrendous time this was for our nation. In addition you also get a lot of perspectives in what it takes to maneuver the president in the most efficient way possible. Also you see what dedication the pilot provides to his commander-in-chief. Mr. Boyer was also in charge of transporting many VIP officials and during those missions he demonstrated a great deal of professionalism that would not be easy to do under the circumstances of his job.Anyone who read my reviews knows that I am very keen on pictures and I can say this is the first book I have read in a while that not only adds personal touch and perspective but the pictures also help tell the story. The pictures also add a lot of up close and personal imagery that no other book that I have read can even come close to doing.Finally Mr. Boyer's sense of humor throughout this book really gives this book the character that it deserves. I was glad to hear they had restored Nixon's helicopter and it will go on to tell stories for future generations. Whether you're a military buff, presidential buff, aviation buff, and lastly history buff this book appeals to a wide range of audience that you just cannot wait until the end to see how it turns out.
Fascinating history. There are recounts about President Johnson that made me laugh out loud: When the air conditioning on the helicopter wasn't functioning, LBJ looks for an axe to break out a window; LBJ hires seven secretaries...at least 2 of them could type; trips to the LBJ ranch 'under the radar'.
Major Boyer details some experiences with the Presidents that he was privileged to transport. Very insightful. But he does jump back and forth alittle and gives too much detail on his family life that doesn't enhance the story. Overall worth reading!
Found it to be an interesting book.
Insightful sharing of the life of the preident's pilot. Full of opinions formed at duty and well thought out. What I really wanted was his 'slant' on the presidents and it was there as hoped.