I have been involved in aviation most of my life, beginning with a childhood fascination, then jumping out of airplanes right after high school. Then as a helicopter door gunner in Viet Nam where I made my first serious photographs. Since then I have written and illustrated many books and magazine articles on aviation. I've had some adventures in the process -- my first ride in a fighter aircraft was a combat mission and I flew about half the mission despite never having been trained in the aircraft. I like to say that I have flown more military aircraft badly than anybody else -- not that other people haven't flown more kinds of military aircraft, just that they were probably better at it than I. Included here is a photograph I made at the age of 18 during a combat assault in the highlands of Viet Nam. I've made many thousands of photographs in the almost sixty years since but I still think that one is among the best. It's the first in the series, an H-21 putting out troops in a "hot LZ," a landing zone under fire. We came back from that mission with a bullet hole in the helicopter.