The narrative of the Black Pony pilots who distinguished themselves in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War includes sad, comical, horrifying, and heartbreaking elements. Using their turboprop Broncos to fly “down and dirty, low and sluggish,” they killed more enemy soldiers and saved more allied lives with close-air support than all other navy squadrons combined during their three years of service. Kit Lavell, the author, was a member of this squadron of “black sheep” who were given an opportunity to establish a name for themselves by flying these deadly missions. Light Attack Squadron Four (VAL-4) was the US Navy’s only land-based attack squadron, flying support missions for counter-insurgency troops, SEALs, and ally groups with borrowed, propeller-driven OV-10s. They were risky, unusual missions for fixed-wing aircraft, which readers rapidly grow to admire

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