Despite the fact that the OV-10 is one of the lesser-known airplanes when compared to F-4 Phantoms, A-1 Skyraiders, and other more "glamorous" aircraft of its time, you just can't keep a great airplane down. Here is a list of the books that we know of that mention or are about the Bronco or closely related subjects. Of course, please inform us of any other printed Bronco references!
Money from items bought through our store will directly benefit OBA by helping to support our museum, this website, holding Bronco Fests, etc. The PX is run in association with Aviation Collectibles of Texas. This is the best way to buy Bronco items when possible. ACT's OV-10 area often has a different set of items than the OBA PX, so please check them both out. ACT's proprietor, Jim "Grump" Hodgson, is a founding member of the OBA and currently serves as our Secretary and Treasurer.
The OBA / Partnership
The OBA and Amazon.com (the world's largest bookseller) have formed a partnership. Essentially, this means two things. We have linked you directly to Amazon.Com in order to make it easy for you to purchase any of the books listed here (if they carry the title, of course.) If you purchase a book - using the Amazon.com link we provide - the OBA receives a percentage of the purchase price, which is an easy way for you to help perpetuate the history of the Bronco. No, we aren't going to get rich on this, but a dollar or two here and there does add up to helping complete a massive and very expensive project. Your purchase might help buy a box of rivets, or it may help buy stamps for the next newsletter. In any case, running an organization like ours with museums, Bronco Fests, websites, etc. does take money - whether it comes in via direct donations, member dues, or online book profits.
Marine Colonel Cliff Acree was the CO of VMO-2 from 6/90 to 2/92. On the second day of the Gulf War, he was shot down and taken prisoner with his AO, CWO-4 Guy Hunter ("Great White" is well-known in the Bronco community as well.) After seven years of work, his wife Cindy finished memoirs about their experiences during the war and the struggle to regain a normal life after his return seven months after he was shot down. This book has been highly acclaimed by many people, and excerpts from it were in the January 2001 Reader's Digest in the "Today's Best Nonfiction" section. This is one of those rare books that every high schooler should be required to read... a fascinating insight into the human costs of warfare. Very highly recommended!!
Kit Lavell flew 243 combat missions with the Black Ponies in Vietnam. Among his many awards is the Distinguished Flying Cross. Kit is now a resident of San Deigo and a freelance author and screenwriter. This book has a foreword by Stephen Coonts and has received some very good reviews. The OBA helped out a bit in the research for it, we expect it to become popular. Here is a description (courtesy Amazon.com):
The tragic, the comic, the terrifying, the poignant are all part of the story of the Black Pony pilots who distinguished themselves in the Mekong Delta between 1969 and 1972. Flying their Broncos "down and dirty, low and slow," they destroyed more enemies and saved more allied lives with close-air support than all the other naval squadrons combined during the three years they saw action. Author Kit Lavell was part of this squadron of "black sheep" given a chance to make something of themselves. The U.S. Navy's only land-based attack squadron, Light Attack Squadron Four (VAL-4) flew support missions for the riverine forces, SEALs, and allied units in borrowed, propeller-driven OV-10s. For fixed-wing aircraft they were dangerous, unorthodox missions, a fact readers quickly come to appreciate.
After two years of research, Lavell has been able to match many of the air operations to those on the ground and tell the dramatic story from both perspectives. One of several offered in the book is the bringing together of SEAL Barry Enoch, a Navy Cross recipient, and Black Pony pilot Larry Hone, a Distinguished Flying Cross recipient, whose encounter is stunningly described in chapter 14. Lavell also provides vivid scenes of life and love away from combat and gives a concise history of the squadron along with details of its unique use of the OV-10.
If you have any interest in OV-10s or Vietnam flying in general, you must get a copy of A Lonely Kind of War by Marshall Harrison. Harrison was an OV-10 FAC in Vietnam and has a great ability to tell the stories in a captivating style. I immensely enjoyed this book and learned a great deal from it. The Australian book Hit My Smoke (see below) makes a mention of Harrison and one who flew with him says that he did tend to exaggerate slightly on some of the stories (not that that's all bad if you ask me, the point gets across very well), however it also pins down his descriptions of Forward Air Control as accurate and authoritative. In any case, this is a heck of a read and I'm sure you'll read it over and over. I have been told that Harrison is no longer alive, but it is very fortunate for us that he put these stories down on paper with such ability. I found two copies of this at Barnes & Noble in early 1998 and have seen it in the local library, hopefully it won't be too hard to find.
(Note: The similarly-titled book Hit My Smoke - Targeting the Enemy in Vietnam by Chris Couthard-Clark is a different publication from Australia and is described separately.)
This book covers Forward Air Controller (FAC) operations in Vietnam from 1962 through 1974. What is missing is any real coverage of USMC FAC operations conducted by VMO-2 and VMO-6 and later the HMA squadrons. She does cover the H&MS-11 Playboy A-4 operations in Laos however. Churchill is an accomplished writer and 12,000 hour pilot, with time in everything from J-3s to C-5Bs (and a lot of O-2 time.) There is a foreword by Col. George E. "Bud" Day.
(Note: The similarly-titled book Hit My Smoke - Forward Air Controllers in Southeast Asia by Jan Churchill is a different publication by an American author and is described separately.)
This book was kindly sent to me by Brendan Searle in Australia, and I very much enjoyed reading it. Many people are unaware that Australia participated in the Vietnam War, and throughout the course of the conflict the Royal Australian Air Force arranged to send 36 pilots to fly as FACs on an exchange program with the USAF. This book covers the whole history of the RAAF's Vietnam FAC program and includes the stories of the pilots who flew O-1 Bird Dogs and O-2 Skymasters as well as the Bronco drivers. This book is much more detailed than the Harrison book, but it is not difficult to read and reveals much from a non-American perspective.
I think the title pretty well explains it. I haven't seen it yet, but Couthard-Clark's other book (Hit My Smoke!) was quite detailed and enjoyable.
I haven't yet managed to get ahold of this book, which Darrel tells me contains a lot of OV-10 information. Darrel flew the Bronco/Pave Nail with the Nails in 72-74. He also flew on the wing of Capt. Steve Bennett during the mission for which he posthumously won the Congressional Medal of Honor. It had several very complimentary reviews on Amazon.Com, so I think this should be a good one.
Darrel kindly provided OV-10Bronco.Net with a good article about this mission for us to read: The Last Flight of Covey 87
This book covers both of the author's tours in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot, with a concentration on Bronco operations. He uses pseuodonyms for squadron pilots. Bob was the VMO-2 Administrative Officer at MCALF Marble Mountain, Vietnam during 1969. He also was the Commanding Officer of VMO-2, at MCAS Camp Pendleton, August 23, 1975 to October 7, 1976.
A Forward Air Controller's year of combat in Vietnam. Tom flew OV-10s with the 20th TASS from Da Nang, as well as flying over Laos for the Special Operations Group - Command and Control North for his last six months... a secret mission that officially didn't even exist.
Mike was the Commanding Officer of VMO-2 from January 12, 1970 until September 17, 1970. I'm told this is a great book with great stories about Bronco crews and operations from Marble Mountain and Da Nang. He uses the real names of pilots and observers except for a few cases which he explains. There is even an OV-10 on the cover.
This is the typical Squadron/Signal book, heavy on diverse photographs and pretty light on narrative. There are a number of errors mostly related to a rush to publish by the editors in 1995. The 3-views are not terribly accurate, but could be worse too. This book provides an easy-to-find and relatively inexpensive overview of Bronco highlights, but do keep in mind that many in-depth details of interest to serious Bronco fans or scale modelers won't be found in this publication (one typical example is the slotted flap system.)
Both these publications, being Koku-Fans, have a lot of color and black and white photos similar to the Squadron/Signal books, but are much more detailed. All the writing is in Japanese. Koku-Fan publications are generally well regarded (ok, make that, they're freakin' legendary) as sources of good photographs and other scale documentation. I haven't seen these yet but I've never heard of a Koku-Fan that wasn't excellent.
The Model 48 was Convair's little-known but quite interesting entry in the LARA competition. Much simpler in concept than the airplane that became the OV-10, the Charger was built and flown well before the North American entry ever left the drawing board. This forced the government to award a limited contract for flight testing, with the prototype first flying in November 1964 until its loss in October 1965. This book has a lot of great photos, cutaway drawings, test reports, comparisons, diagrams, schematics, and first-person accounts of the test program. This is a fascinating and very thorough book, in fact I haven't seen one quite like this on the OV-10 yet. If you like Broncos or slightly obscure aviation history, you will certainly find this book and this plane to be very interesting as well... this book is very well done and highly recommended!
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