Saturday, January 17, 2015

Viper Pilot - A Great Flying Read Indeed

Few books drag you in at high speed and keep you engrossed in them like Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat

Written by Lt. Col Dan Hampton, it is his memoir of his service in the US Air Force.   And quite a service it was. To be a pilot in the US Air Force you have to be pretty elite, and then even more so to be selected to fly fighters.  Then he graduated from the Fighter Weapons School and he flew F-16CJs on Wild Weasel missions and killed Surface To Air Missile sites in both Iraq wars. That makes him part of a very select group indeed.

He successfully completed 151 combat missions, earned 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and a Purple Heart.

SAM killing as described mainly consists of baiting the SAM sites to fire missiles at you so you can then find and destroy them.

How Col. Hampton and other Weasels manage to fit in that small F-16 cockpit with the set of big clanking ones needed to pull off such missions repeatedly and expertly is an interesting question.

In addition to comprehensively killing SAMs, he also did close air support, aiding Marines in Nasiryah that were cut off and in danger of being overrun -- that is until he showed up.

The book is a great read by an expert on the subject.  Flying memoirs don't get much better than this book.  Apparently the eBook version, unlike the print version I purchased, also has some embedded video and other multimedia  excepts that compliment the story very well.  You won't be disappointed with either version and it is a recommended read.

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