This novel is a dramatization of many of CDR Jeff Ahlin’s experiences
on the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63)in Vietnam and South East Asia between the summer of 1969 and the summer of 1971.
During that time then Lt. Ahlin became friendly with one of the Naval Pilots from Squadron VA-192, The Golden Dragons. Lt. Dennis Pike flew the A7-E Corsair II and was a trombone player in the ship’s band, -The Yankee Air Pirates, – with
Lt. Ahlin, who played the banjo.
The story outlines some of the difficult circumstances, logistical problems and abject terror that permeated the jungle warfare. The U.S. Army Rangers and the U.S. Marines were subjected to many difficult battles in the Central Highlands, A Shau Valley, and near the borders of Cambodia, Laos, and the 17th Parallel, the border of North Vietnam.
LCDR Pike was lost over Laos in the spring of 1972. Dennis and his aircraft vanished off the face of the earth. There were unconfirmed reports of him being held in a prison camp in Laos in the summer of 1972.
In the fall of 2011 his helmet was found by a farmer in a stream in Laos. There were reports the Russians and Chinese took pieces of downed aircraft and six of our pilots as POW’s; but all the pilots were released after the war. The question remains, what happened to LCDR Dennis Pike?