Silent Echoes

Story of a Man Torn Between Duty and Conscience

by Gene Baldwin



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 4/04/2001

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 5.5x8.5
Page Count : 264
ISBN : 9780738847498
Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 5.5x8.5
Page Count : 264
ISBN : 9780738847504
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : 5.5x8.5
Page Count : 264
ISBN : 9781462806249

About the Book

Captain Davd Barfield prepares for a short notice deployment of a composite Air Force squadron to Vietnam.  The news is unsettling because of the present hurdles encountered with his marriage.  He must leave at a time when he knows it could be devastating to his relationship with Leslie and their future.

The deployment gets of to a rocky start with his immediate encounter with the misson planning by the Operations Officer and the Commanding Officer.  He tries to maintain a loyalty to this quickly formed unit and relies heavily on his co-pilot and friend, Zack Williams. David’s newly formed crew and “B” flight undergo the metamorphous of personality  adjustments.  Bonded quickly by the rigors of the mission and the requirements of Lieutenant Colonel Norwood, they become a cohesive group.  

After flying half-way around the world, the squadron lands at DaNang, Vietnam, and are assigned operationally to the First Air Commando Group.  The living is harsh, with eight Officers to a tent, and only the rudiments of human conveniences.  The mission assignments require maximum  flying skill in the mountainous regions of the I Corps area, as they support the Special Forces.  Their are stringent and ridiculous requirements, established by the Squadron Commander, has a drastic effect upon morale in the unit.  His puppet Operations Officer does nothing to alleviate the oppressive requirements or the missions which place the crews in harms way daily. The story is a study in the dynamics of personalities engaged in war and rebellion.

After the loss of a crew from David’s flight to hostile fire, he rebels against the Colonels egotistic requirements.  His flight, loyal to David, also begin to defy the system and the chain of command.  This only places ‘B” flight in the position of being assigned the most hazardous missions.  This comes to a head as David accuses the Commanding Officer of the deaths in the unit.  He knows there will be retribution from this dangerous man who is devoid of integrity.

David writes Leslie that there is hope for their marriage and she indicates she agrees.  The letters keep the ties and love together during this six-month deployment.  Zack Williams, faces his own conundrums of life.  His father, from whom he is estranged, has cancer with only a few months to live.  He tries to sort his life and the love he left behind, realizing he will resign his commission as soon as they get back to the States.

David is goaded into a dangerous mission by Colonel Norwood that has severe consequences.  The mission haunts David, even after returning to the States.  Here he must recuperate his body, his spirit, and his marriage.  The conflict requires difficult decisions about his future.  The resolutions changes his life.

About the Author

A Montevallo, Alabama native, Gene Baldwin graduated from Mississippi State University and the University of Alabama. As an Air Force fighter pilot, he flew combat missions during the Korean War and in Viet-Nam. Now retired, he lives in Athens, Georgia with his wife Martha and his German Shepherd Nikko.