The Flying Grunt

The Story of Lieutenant General Richard E. Carey, United States Marine Corps (Ret)

Alan E Mesches

Richard Carey fought at Chosin Reservoir, then flew 204 combat sorties in Vietnam—this is the inspirational story of a Marine Corps legend.
Date Published :
January 2023
Publisher :
Illustration :
B/W and color
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781636242583
Pages : 240
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Richard Edward Carey came from a broken home. Enlisting in the Corps in 1946 he later earned a commission, fighting at Inchon and Chosin in Korea before becoming a pilot—flying every aircraft in the Marine arsenal. During his 38-year military career he witnessed and participated in major historical events, though a high school wrestling injury would eliminate him from the Mercury-7 space program.

As a second lieutenant, he tackled General Douglas MacArthur on the way to Seoul in 1950. Carey would provide critical intelligence decisions enabling the successful defense of the Chinese attack on Hagaru-ri at the Chosin Reservoir. In 189 days of combat, he escaped death seven times, and was awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star Medals. In Vietnam, he flew 204 combat sorties, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and 16 Air Medals. In 1975, from Saigon, Carey led history’s largest helicopter evacuation of refugees.

Subordinates praised his leadership and courage. Never afraid to stand up for his principles, Carey faced down an Air Force general in Vietnam, and organized air defense for supply helicopters at Khe Sahn; he countermanded a senior Naval officer’s order during the 1975 Saigon evacuation, refusing to cease air operations and forcing a reluctant ambassador onto a flight.

In retirement, Carey served as a cabinet member for the governor of Ohio and ran the airport in his native home of Columbus. When the Careys moved to Texas, Carey continued supporting veterans, advocating for veterans’ health care, aiding the drive to build accommodation for families of hospitalized veterans, and was a leader in the effort to build a veterans’ cemetery in Dallas. He would lead the drive to build two Chosin Few memorials even as he cared for his ailing wife.

This biography is based upon hours of interviews with the general, his papers, speeches, and Marine Corps documents that captured an exceptional and inspiring life.

About The Author

Alan E. Mesches from Gowanda, New York, earned a BA in political science from Grove City College and an MS in journalism from Ohio University. Mesches served in the Air Force as a public affairs officer. He worked for Procter and Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Coca-Cola, and Naturally Fresh, Inc. He retired from Naturally Fresh as vice president foodservice distributor sales and marketing and has since dedicated himself to research and writing. As part of the research for his first book, Major General James A. Ulio, he successful campaigned to have Ulio inducted to the Adjutant Generals’ Corps Hall of Fame. Mesches resides in Frisco, Texas.


1 Lt. Gen. Carey - The Early Years
2 On to Korea
3 Marine Aviation
4 Pre-Vietnam
5 Vietnam
6 Senior Leadership
7 Career Winding Down
8 Continuing to Serve
9 Family Challenges
10 Chosin Few Memorial Project

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