U.S. Air Force pilots are becoming reluctant to fly missions into North Vietnam from their bases in Thailand because the North Vietnamese are shooting them down from a missile site they cannot find. Together with the unexplained loss helicopters on deep penetration missions lead Josh Haman and his friend Marty Cabot, the leader of SEAL Team Sierra Six, to suspect a leak in the Navy's secure communications. No one believes them until Cabot aborts a reconnaissance mission after capturing several maps that that has their insertion and extraction landing zones plotted. At the secret missile base, Colonel Alexei Koniev, one of the Soviet Army's leading experts in surface to air missile warfare is testing his theories. His napalm scarred counterpart, Colonel Nguyen Thai, is being pressured to force Koniev to shoot down more airplanes while the Russian wants to be more selective to preserve the element of surprise that has helped them bag almost sixty airplanes. Both know that it is only a matter of time before the Americans find and attack the hidden missile base, but how and when? Ride with Josh Haman as he flies an HH-3A with the call sign BIG MOTHER 40 on combat search and rescues, inserting and extracting SEAL teams in the hunt for the secret missile base.
"If you like a quick-paced and action-packed story, you'll enjoy this one... The Soviets are working with the North Vietnamese at an experimental base to develop and test new strategies and tactics meant to cripple U.S. air and ground efforts in the Vietnam War. Navy pilots and the SEALS they support are a particularly deadly thorn in their side. Josh Haman, pilot of the helicopter with the call sign Big Mother 40, has proven himself to be cool under fire, steadfast when confronted with both belligerent hostiles and commanding officers, and a truly gifted and dedicated pilot...But as the action heats up, more than their lives and the lives of their men are at stake. The entire theater of war hangs in the balance. Liebman is veteran helicopter pilot himself and he has poured his first hand experience into Big Mother 40, his debut novel, so much so that you'll leave this novel feeling as though you might be able to fly a helo yourself. If you like a quick-paced and action-packed story, you'll enjoy this one." -- Historical Novel Society Review (review refers to an earlier edition)
A great read on Navy helicopter rescue operations in the Vietnam era. It is a very well written, exciting, fast moving book about the life of two Navy lieutenants, a Navy Helicopter pilot and a Navy Seal and their teams performing their duties in extremely hazardous conditions. Although fiction, Liebman's knowledge of Navy Helicopter and Navy SEAL operations and the planning it takes to complete these types of missions is evident throughout the novel. His understanding of the overall concept of joint and naval operations and the specifics of both Special Forces and helicopter missions during the Vietnam era makes this a very believable scenario." --Ken L. Fisher, Rear Admiral USN (Ret.), Naval Aviator and fighter pilot. (review refers to an earlier edition)
"It was my pleasure to review this magnificent book about U.S. Navy helicopter combat rescue operations for downed aviators and crews during the Vietnam War....Captain Liebman USN (Ret.) was an aviator in Vietnam and the Middle East. Liebman brought that background to the pages of this historical novel about the USN helicopter rescue crews that supported and extracted Navy SEAL combat surveillance teams in daring rescues behind enemy lines. The author reconstructs HH-3A Jolly Green Giant SAR missions from land bases and off carrier and destroyer decks against Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces. The HH-3A helicopters carried crews of five in huge, heavily armored and armed aircraft designed to hover, land, and fly over dangerous landing zones and heavy grass and forests where enemy troops waited to capture downed American helicopter and fixed wing aviators...The objectives of the rescue teams were to "get in and out" safely, authenticate operational procedures, and avoid flying into enemy traps. Riveting accounts of combat action, and helicopter approaches and take-offs from hot Landing Zones are frightening enough to read about, let alone do. Liebman's vivid descriptions put the reader into the action, with phrases like, "The crew watched as the tip of the (helicopter) blades chewed through the top of the elephant grass," with the enemy in close pursuit firing projectiles and bullets. And an aviator's radio warning that his helicopter "is hit. Losing gas out of my left wing tank. Gotta go home." And Liebman's description of combat action with "the ping of bullets going through the skin of the helicopter." And how an on-ground surveillance team discovers "the 10-foot chunk of a rotor blade that looks like it is from an H-3." --Thomas P. Ostrom, author of The United States Coast Guard: 1790 to the Present. (review refers to an earlier edition)
For a first novel, BIG MOTHER 40 by Marc Liebman is a suspense-drivenwork, from dynamic plot to fleshed-out characters to crisp dialogue to historic significance to dramatic suspense. Marc Liebman is the new ace inmilitary thrillers. He not only covers a time in history that too many people want to forget, he creates conditions that show the reader the mindsets of all the participants, including the enemy's, and gains for us a clearer understanding of the greater tragedy of the Vietnam war. The story is based on a U.S. military secret never told before, and Marc Liebman has written his novel as a tribute to those who lost their lives because of traitors who worked undetected betraying U.S. Navy encryption keys to the Soviets from 1968 to1986....Liebman's story shows how we prevail even when we are at a disadvantage and part of the reason is because there are always those who work "outside the box" to help us do it. Liebman's story is more than a taleabout a Navy helicopter rescue pilot, a Navy Seal and their teams performing under perilous hazards in the Vietnam war. His characters engage us. He even introduces romance where the heroine is an amputee. But the most outstanding "character "is the rescue helicopter itself: BIG MOTHER 40, the HH-3A, a modified Sea King for combatsearch and rescue. This helicopter had more lives than a cat and performed under grueling, near impossible conditions. Liebman skips macho combat images to plunk us into the deeper connections of war, from fear and courage to the truer realms of human relationships. His detail is authentic, and he lends even greater validity to the operations he describes with valuable author notes at the back of the book including a historic analysis of the time, military glossary and roster of characters...For a book you won't forget, you have to read BIG MOTHER 40." --Bonnie Toews, Military Writers Society of America (review refers to an earlier edition)
About the Author
Marc Liebman is an experienced writer as well as a Naval Aviator combat veteran of both Vietnam and Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He retired as a Captain after twenty-four years in the Navy and a career that took him all over the world. He has just under 6,000 hours of pilot-in-command/co-pilot flight time in a variety of tactical military, civilian-fixed and rotary-wing aircraft. In the business world, he has been the CEO of an aerospace and defense manufacturing firm, an associate editor of a national magazine and a copywriter for an advertising agency. Marc lives in North Texas with his wife of 42+ years, Betty, and two dogs. He spends a lot of time visiting his four grandchildren.