Maddog and Miss Kitty by Bert Carson
Love overcame both war and time and brought them back together.
Captain Kathleen Timmons was winding up her third tour at the Evac Hospital in Saigon when the call came for a medic to fly with a dust off crew to the site of a downed helicopter. All of the medics were on other assignments. Kathleen hesitated a moment and responded, “Send the dust off, a medic will be on the pad.”
Though it was against regulations for a woman to go into a combat situation, Kathleen was waiting at the landing pad when the chopper sat down. The pilot tried to talk her out of going. Kathleen said, “It’s me or nobody. We’re wasting time here.”
The wreckage of the downed Huey was scattered over a large area and the landing zone was still a target for VC snipers. Kathleen and the dust off crew loaded the two survivors they found and were preparing to leave when one of the wounded men grabbed her arm and shouted, “Did you get Maddog.”
Straining to be heard above the sound of the screaming turbine, Kathleen shouted, “Who is Maddog?”
She leaned close to the wounded man and heard him say, “Maddog is our crew chief.)
Kathleen stood, leaned across the back of the dust off aircraft commander’s seat and shouted into his helmet, “Hold here. We’ve got to find Maddog.”
Before he could reply she jumped from the chopper. Kathleen spotted Maddog fifty feet from the the main fuselage and with one of the dust off crew men, carried him back to the chopper.
As they lifted out of the landing zone Kathleen touched the door gunners arm. When he opened his eyes, she shouted. “We’ve got Maddog.”
Maddog left Vietnam on the hospital flight that took Kathleen back to the states.
A reader said:
“I don’t read war stories. Ever. This is not a war story. This is a life story.
There are bits of romance, bits of joy, bits of pain, and a lot of reality.
As always, Bert Carson grabs you by the heart and gently carries you through a world that you never thought you could love.
Honestly, I never would have read this book if I hadn’t met the author. It is far from my usual world of light-hearted fiction and mystery. I would have really missed out. Bert’s ability to mix reality and fiction makes history come alive and often leaves you wondering how much of the story is truly fiction.
Read it, you won’t regret it.”
Review by Brooke Frederick:
You don’t have to be a war veteran yourself to fall under the spell of this elegiac novella by Bert Carson. I’m the proof of it. Carson is a southern storyteller par excellence whose previous books Fourth and Forever and Another Place, Another Time, already hooked me. Maddog and Miss Kitty continued the series and fully lived up to my high expectations.
This is the story of a helicopter door gunner named Gerald who fought in Vietnam, then came home to find the world had changed. If you’ve ever wondered what it is that troubles our returned soldiers, what really goes on in their minds, and why they are so troubled, you will understand it much better when you have read Gerald’s story. Gerald earns the moniker Maddog on his first day in Vietnam because of his grit and determination.
The novella alternates between Maddog’s point of view and that of one Katherine Timmons, who has been christened Miss Kitty during her years as a medic saving lives in Vietnam as soldiers are helicoptered back from bloody battles. Like Maddog, Miss Kitty is no perfect person with no flaws; the author puts the spotlight on both characters’ flaws, and they become real.
Our country has been at war in faraway countries for the last ten years, and has been almost continuously at war for the last 70 years, if you consider our declared and undeclared engagements in Korea, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Iraq (twice), Afghanistan and Libya. There is no more topical issue for modern fiction than the issue Bert Carson is exploring in Maddog and Miss Kitty and his other books: the human costs of war. I can think of no better way to begin your own exploration of this theme by spending a few hours reading this book.