As the ground war struggled for success in Vietnam, it became intensely clear that the skies had to be owned by the allies for victory to have a chance. It was the F-4 and its pilots that made that possible. The author, a Phantom pilot himself, details intense stories of undaunted and valiant American pilots with their legendary fierce Phantom. These are personal stories of intrepid courage and self-sacrifice to get the mission done - whatever the cost. Fierce, unflinching battles to save friendlies and destroy a ruthless enemy are all recorded 40 years later. True tales of war at 500 knots!
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- Mark Murphy
Duty, Honor, Country
Dick Hill's narration brings the book alive and makes you feel as though you're in the back seat of the F-4 flying combat missions in Vietnam. Through his words, you share in the life and death decisions aircrews make on a daily basis, often times in split seconds.
While there are many great moments in Robert's book, the most memorable one was the mining operation on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. As a retired Air Force pilot myself, flying 500 knots at 500 feet through a hail of enemy gunfire takes immense courage and dedication to mission. Taking battle damage, which forced multiple high "G" pitch ups, followed by high "G" pitch downs, then recovering the aircraft shows superior airmanship and coolness under fire.
The correct pronunciation and annunciation of unfamiliar Air Force flying terms and acronyms, plus the reader's pacing of and emphasis on events leads to unforgettable drama that makes the reader want more.
Experience the real life drama of F-4 pilots flying combat missions under the most difficult of circumstances. Know the fear and joy of aerial flight as you ride along at 500 knots, pulling high "G" turns in afterburner, while dodging enemy gunfire, knowing that weather obscures near by mountain tops.
Robert Kirk's book brings to life the experiences of ordinary men, some exceptional, some flawed, as they grapple with the realities of combat. The book doesn't glorify war or the military. Rather, the book takes an in-depth look at the men who risked their lives on a daily basis. These men did this not for glory, but for each other--their only goal to complete each mission successfully then go home at the end of their tours. This is a must read for anyone who wants to experience the courage and raw emotions Air Force pilots experienced fighting an unpopular war. In the end, the author answers the question, "Where do we get such men."
- Tom Owen