One Hundred Stingers
A Novel of the Air War Over the Ho Chi Minh Trail
The Secret War
Throughout most of the Vietnam War, a clandestine war raged in the flak-filled skies of neutral Laos as American airmen sought to cut off the flow of enemy combatants and war materiel headed for the battlefields of South Vietnam via the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail.
This debut novel by former US Navy bombardier Peter Adams Young relates untold stories of courage and sacrifice on both sides of this undisclosed conflict.
This book is dedicated to the memories of the American aircrewmen who gave their lives in the covert war conducted over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. They made the ultimate sacrifice in a gallant but vain attempt to stem the flow of Communist combatants and materiel to the battlefields of South Vietnam.
Of them who running on that last high place
Leapt to swift unseen bullets, or went up
On the hot blast and fury of hell’s upsurge,
Or plunged and fell away past this world’s verge,
Some say God caught them even before they fell.
Peter was awarded the Bronze Medal in the "Historical Fiction" category for One Hundred Stingers.
One Hundred Stingers: A Novel of the Air War over the Ho Chi Minh Trail by Peter Adams Young is a well told story for both sides of a portion of the Vietnam War: American Navy fliers and North Vietnamese battery operators on the ground in neutral Laos. In spite of all the detail and all the dialogue, the story moves along nicely. The characters are fully defined with lots of back stories on both Vietnamese and American characters. The reader gets the full effect of being on an aircraft carrier with all of its discomforts, the carefulness of the fliers in the air, the struggles of being in the batteries with poorly trained gunners, and the pressures on their superiors at various levels. Both sides were well aware of their respective goals: get supplies to the south from North Vietnam; stop the flow of enemy combatants and war materials on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The book shows the many levels of support in the air for the American fliers from spotters, to intelligence, to overhead directions to keep the fliers safe from ground fire and from friendly fire shooting by various Navy and Marine fliers. The fleet of support on deck is also well described. There is lots of action, and the action is often described from multiple points of view. One also senses the repetitiveness of flights that could be deadly if not for the professionalism of air and ground personnel. The Epilogue mainly follows navigator/bombadier Davis but also circles back to his Laos years. Well worth reading.