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Busy Us Upside Down

The Misty Pilots and the Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail

“[A] thoroughly readable, absorbing history . . . a distinguished addition to Vietnam War aviation literature.” – Publishers Weekly

"Bury Us Upside Down unfolds in crisp vignettes and remarkable detail … A fabulous read."– Washington Post

"An exemplary account, vivid with its scenes of war and bravery." – Wall Street Journal

"A taut, well-written account of an unknown chapter in the Vietnam War … a welcome addition to the military history of Vietnam." – Kirkus


They had one of the most dangerous jobs in the Air Force. Now, Bury Us Upside Down reveals the never-before-told story of the Vietnam War’s "Misty" pilots—a top-secret unit comprised of truly extraordinary men and the kinds of missions that produce unlikely heroes.

In today’s wars, computers, lasers, and smart bombs help pilots identify and destroy targets from safe distances. But in the search for enemy traffic on the elusive Ho Chi Minh trail, pilots had to drop perilously low to spot the tell-tail signs of enemy movement: suspicious dust on treetops, disappearing tread marks on a dirt road, subtle variations in rugged terrain that suggested the hand of man. The risk of enemy fire, capture, and death was constant.

Written by an accomplished journalist and a Misty veteran, Bury Us Upside Down is the stunning story of these brave Americans: the men who flew in covert Commando Sabre or “Misty” missions, the most innovative air operation of the war.

In extended missions that lasted for hours, the Misty pilots flew zigzag patterns searching for enemy troops, vehicles, and weapons, without benefit of night vision goggles, infrared devices or other sensors now commonly used. What they gained in exhilarating autonomy also cost them: out of 157 pilots, 34 were shot down, three captured, and seven were killed. Here is a first-hand account of courage and technical mastery under fire. Here, too, is a tale of forbearance and loss, including the experience of the family of a missing Misty flier—Howard K. Williams—as they learn, after 23 years, that his remains have been found.

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