Ed Denny

Ed Denny

Denton resident and military veteran Ed Denny had never heard of post-traumatic stress disorder in the 1990s, even though he couldn’t seem to kick the dull, stubborn numbness that followed him home from Vietnam.

Denny flew with the 116th Assault Helicopter Company for the United States Army — the Hornets — in 1970-71 in Vietnam.

That year would claim more time from his life — 23 more years, to be exact.

“When I came back, I realized I had undergone an enormous transformation,” Denny said. “I realized that the person who went to Vietnam wasn’t the guy who came back.”

Detailing his year in combat started as an assignment from Veterans Affairs. Denny had tried to kill himself, and was in the VA hospital in Dallas. To pay for his treatment, the VA wanted a record of his trauma, with dates, locations and witness verification.

But calling up the horror wasn’t easy. It took another 21 years before Denny wrestled the memories and got the upper hand. The result is his book, Hornet 33: Memoir of a Combat Helicopter Pilot in Vietnam, published by McFarland last month.


Hornet 33

Memoir of a Combat Helicopter Pilot in Vietnam


Combat helicopter pilots in the Vietnam War flew each mission facing the possibility of imminent death. Begun as a series of attempted letters to the Department of Veterans Affairs, this compelling memoir of an aircraft commander in the 116th Assault Helicopter Company—“The Hornets”—relates his experience of the war in frank detail.

From supporting the 25th Infantry Division’s invasion of Cambodia, to flying the lead aircraft in the 101st Airmobile Division’s pivotal Operation Lam Son 719 invasion of Laos to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail at LZ Hope, the author recounts the traumatic events of his service from March 1970 to March 1971.

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