"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Blades Carry Me: Inside the Helicopter War in Vietnam

by James V. Weatherill

With Anne Weatherill

About the Book

James V. Weatherill served as an Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam from November 1967 to November 1968.

His memoir, "The Blades Carry Me: Inside the Helicopter War in Vietnam", takes the reader into the CH-47 Chinook helicopter cockpit and involves them in the daily life of a 22-year-old pilot.

The young man must reconcile his ideals of patriotism, courage, and honor, with the reality and politics of a war where victory is measured by body-count ratios, instead of territory gained, or lost. 

When it's time to go home, he realizes he will leave more than war behind ...

The pilot's wife, Annie, provides the written perspective of a pregnant college senior and military spouse who waits for him back on the home front, during an unpopular war.  

With letters and tape recordings as their sole means of communication, how will they grow up without growing apart?

Anne Weatherill: 

"I think one thing that makes our book special is that we wrote it together, so it tells both sides of the personal effect of war. It was difficult, because we had to relive it over and over while we wrote it. For us, it was a milestone in our path to healing. 

What happened to each of us during that time is still with us, but it does not "own" us anymore. It has brought us closer together. 

We are encouraging others to "slay their dragons", refute the stereotypes, and tell the true history of that military action."

James and Anne Weatherill

Where to Buy:

eMail Jim

A Few of the Many 5-Star Reviews:

"I was there with Jim in 1968. I spent my time over the cargo hook watching ammo, 105 Howitzers, dismantled UH-1s, C-rations, concertina wire, and anything else that needed to be moved. Jim's recollection of the life in a "hook" company is spot on. It brought a flood of great (and not so great) memories as I relived my youth in the pages of this fabulous book. 
 Anne brought to life the worries of a wife coping with pregnancy, school, and the nightly news. A combined story of the generation that went to war in Southeast Asia. I highly recommend this work to anyone interested in that part of history that we label the Vietnam Conflict. A great tribute to "Big Windy".
--Jerry S. Sears 

"I still have butterflies in my stomach after completing this autobiography in three sittings. James Weatherill's painstakingly detailed memory had me hovering with him in the cockpit of his helicopters between the thunderclouds and the Vietnamese landscape. 
Punctuated by Anne's own domestic vignettes of life back home in America, juggling university and the birth of her daughter, the point-and-counterpoint flow of this highlight provided the right amount of adventure and relief, respectively. And James' aerial recollections occasionally read like poetry with descriptions such as "I feel like witness to murder, fleeing in disbelief, looking for an amnesia cloud. 
"THE BLADES CARRY ME" is a unique contribution to the great body of Vietnam War literature. I especially recommend it to anyone curious about the human beings who fought the war, because in this book one experiences the entire spectrum of human personality."
--Robert Grayson 

"A fine, expertly written book that provides indelible images of the Helicopter War, of those who fought it, and those who awaited anxiously for their safe return. Time and time again, Jim flies the huge CH-47 Chinook in and out of hot fire zones, delivering troops, ammo, food--extracting wounded or rescuing downed comrades from enemy infested sites. 
Annie, pregnant and determined to finish college, fights her own inevitably lonely battles on the home front. 
 They tell their stories in tight, well-chosen present tense prose that carries a reality spanning more than four decades, showing us how it was, and what it was for thousands of twenty something American patriots. 
There's pain, there's joy, and there's the eternal issue of how we treat those who go into harms way to protect our way of life. An important book. Read it."
--Robert Knotts 

"This book is not just another war story. It is an unveiling of a couple's lives and relationship while separated by the Vietnam war. The authors' unique perspectives and witty humor help to balance the heaviness of their reality. A personal and well written account about living to make history and honoring those who didn't make it. I recommend reading this book."
--Christine Mackleit 

"Jim and Anne Weatherill wrote the story of many of the Warrant Officer Pilots in Vietnam and their families at home. It has not been told any better or truer. 
I was a Chinook pilot in a sister company in Pleiku, Vietnam. The events and feeling he and Anne talk about did happen. I was also there at the same time in the same places in the central highlands. The exact story may vary, pilot by pilot, but a similar story could be told by most of us. 
I knew Jim in Vietnam only as one of the pilots that came up to help from the "Big Windys." I got to know him and his wife well in Fort Benning, after we both returned from Vietnam. 
The people in the book, Jim and Anne, are real people telling a true story. Their personalities as told in the book are authentic. Jim was a great pilot and was never afraid to tell someone what he believed. Anne is just as witty in real life as she is in the book. The emotions they shared were felt by many pilots and their wives and mothers back home. 
The book was a hard read at times and I had to put it down because it brought back memories I have tried to forget. I am buying a copy for my son because they tell the story better than I ever could.  Thank you Jim and Annie for telling our story."
--Roger N. Lesch 

"If you want the real story of flying Chinooks in Vietnam you have to read this book. Jim and Anne's story of surviving the deployment to Vietnam in 1968 is riveting. You will feel like you know this amazing couple after reading this book. 
Anne's perspective as an Army wife really moved me. As a Soldier I really never understood how hard it is on those left waiting on loved ones at home. Jim lived three lifetimes in his year as a 22 year old WO1 pilot in command in Vietnam. 
This book accounts what real bravery and patriotism look like."
--Travis W. Wallace

Jim with Wife, Anne
About the Author

James Weatherill lives in Texas with his wife, Anne, who also helped to write the book, but from her own unique perspective -- that of a young wife waiting at home.

James has been a pilot since 1963. He flew helicopters in Vietnam 1967-68 amassing 1,341 combat hours throughout the west, logging, fire fighting, and constructing dams, power lines and ski lifts.

He later flew for commuter, regional and national airlines, retiring as a Boeing 737 Captain with flights ranging from Alaska to Peru.

He is adding time to his schedule for more writing, playing his guitars, and is looking forward to traveling America with Anne.

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history.

Send it to me in an e-mail and I will be proud to post it for you.


  1. Having served in Nam as a door gunner on a "slick" - (the "hooks" had gunners as well) - All I can say is that I would rather have been on the Huey in lieu of the "Flying Gasoline Truck". We had one "hook" get shot down over FSB Ripcord in I Corps back about 7-18-70. Crashed and Burned on top of the FSB and set off the ammo dump as well. Looked like a moonscape afterwards to say the least. Hats off to the HOOK pilots and gunners - and all the men that they carried.

  2. It was an honor to serve the soldiers on the ground.


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