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Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat

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151 combat missions 21 hard kills on surface-to-air-missile sites 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor 1 Purple Heart Sure to rank as one of the greatest aviation memoirs ever written, Viper Pilot is an Air Force legend's thrilling eyewitness account of modern air warfare From 1986 to 2006, Lt. Col. Dan Hampton was a leading member of the Wild Weasels, the elite Air Forc 151 combat missions 21 hard kills on surface-to-air-missile sites 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor 1 Purple Heart Sure to rank as one of the greatest aviation memoirs ever written, Viper Pilot is an Air Force legend's thrilling eyewitness account of modern air warfare From 1986 to 2006, Lt. Col. Dan Hampton was a leading member of the Wild Weasels, the elite Air Force fighter squadrons whose mission is recognized as the most dangerous job in modern air combat. Weasels are the first planes sent into a war zone, flying deep behind enemy lines purposely seeking to draw fire from surface-to-air missiles and artillery. They must skillfully evade being shot down—and then return to destroy the threats, thereby making the skies safe for everyone else to follow. Today these vital missions are more hazardous than direct air-to-air engagement with enemy aircraft. Hampton's record number of strikes on high-value targets make him the most lethal F-16 Wild Weasel pilot in American history. This is his remarkable story. Taught to fly at an early age by his father, Hampton logged twenty years and 608 combat hours in the world's most iconic fighter jet: the F-16 "Fighting Falcon," or "Viper" as its pilots call it. Hampton spearheaded the 2003 invasion of Iraq, leading the first flight of fighters over the border en route to strike Baghdad. In the war that followed, he engaged in a series of brilliantly executed missions that earned him three Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor; he notably saved a U.S. Marine unit from certain death by taking out the surrounding enemy forces near Nasiriyah. Two years earlier, on 9/11, Hampton's father was inside the Pentagon when it was attacked; with his dad's fate unknown, Hampton was scrambled into American skies and given the unprecedented orders to shoot down any unidentified aircraft. Hampton also flew critical missions in the first Gulf War, served on the Air Combat Command staff during the Kosovo War, and was injured in the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist attack. With manned missions rapidly giving way to remote-controlled UAV drones, Viper Pilot may be the last memoir by a true hero of the skies. Gripping and irreverently humorous, it is an unforgettable look into the closed world of fighter pilots and modern air combat.


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151 combat missions 21 hard kills on surface-to-air-missile sites 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor 1 Purple Heart Sure to rank as one of the greatest aviation memoirs ever written, Viper Pilot is an Air Force legend's thrilling eyewitness account of modern air warfare From 1986 to 2006, Lt. Col. Dan Hampton was a leading member of the Wild Weasels, the elite Air Forc 151 combat missions 21 hard kills on surface-to-air-missile sites 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor 1 Purple Heart Sure to rank as one of the greatest aviation memoirs ever written, Viper Pilot is an Air Force legend's thrilling eyewitness account of modern air warfare From 1986 to 2006, Lt. Col. Dan Hampton was a leading member of the Wild Weasels, the elite Air Force fighter squadrons whose mission is recognized as the most dangerous job in modern air combat. Weasels are the first planes sent into a war zone, flying deep behind enemy lines purposely seeking to draw fire from surface-to-air missiles and artillery. They must skillfully evade being shot down—and then return to destroy the threats, thereby making the skies safe for everyone else to follow. Today these vital missions are more hazardous than direct air-to-air engagement with enemy aircraft. Hampton's record number of strikes on high-value targets make him the most lethal F-16 Wild Weasel pilot in American history. This is his remarkable story. Taught to fly at an early age by his father, Hampton logged twenty years and 608 combat hours in the world's most iconic fighter jet: the F-16 "Fighting Falcon," or "Viper" as its pilots call it. Hampton spearheaded the 2003 invasion of Iraq, leading the first flight of fighters over the border en route to strike Baghdad. In the war that followed, he engaged in a series of brilliantly executed missions that earned him three Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor; he notably saved a U.S. Marine unit from certain death by taking out the surrounding enemy forces near Nasiriyah. Two years earlier, on 9/11, Hampton's father was inside the Pentagon when it was attacked; with his dad's fate unknown, Hampton was scrambled into American skies and given the unprecedented orders to shoot down any unidentified aircraft. Hampton also flew critical missions in the first Gulf War, served on the Air Combat Command staff during the Kosovo War, and was injured in the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist attack. With manned missions rapidly giving way to remote-controlled UAV drones, Viper Pilot may be the last memoir by a true hero of the skies. Gripping and irreverently humorous, it is an unforgettable look into the closed world of fighter pilots and modern air combat.

30 review for Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat

  1. 5 out of 5

    Trike

    2 stars means "It Was OK." And it is. Some of this is memoir, but a large portion of it is declassified radio transcripts that Hampton has fleshed out. Hampton seems to be accomplished as a Wild Weasel, and he never lets you forget that. After a while the constant bragging starts to wear quite thin. He also explains things to the point of oversimplification and then adds something like, "Get it?" which comes across as condescending. I've been reading this on and off for about three weeks and I jus 2 stars means "It Was OK." And it is. Some of this is memoir, but a large portion of it is declassified radio transcripts that Hampton has fleshed out. Hampton seems to be accomplished as a Wild Weasel, and he never lets you forget that. After a while the constant bragging starts to wear quite thin. He also explains things to the point of oversimplification and then adds something like, "Get it?" which comes across as condescending. I've been reading this on and off for about three weeks and I just finished it a couple days after the massive terrorist attacks in Paris. So one part of the book that was already bugging me really started to stand out, and that was Hampton taking unnecessary potshots at the French. He never misses an opportunity to insult them or their fighting prowess... or lack thereof, in his opinion. [Massive Ranty Tangent Alert] His entire attitude towards the French can be summed up in the phrase "cheese-eating surrender monkeys." This is a guy who seems to feel personally insulted that France did not join the Coalition of the Willing in the war in Iraq. It seems as if most people have forgotten the ugly attacks American politicians and conservative pundits leveled against the French, even doing ridiculous things like calling French fries "Freedom fries." It's especially bizarre when you consider the fact this book was published in 2012, when it was obvious to even the dullest mouth-breathing jingoist that France was right . The war in Iraq was a bad idea, on every level, and that our excuse for going there -- "There are WMDs!" which morphed into "spreading democracy" -- was a blatant lie that cost the US $6 trillion and more than a million dead civilians. It ultimately led to exactly the sort of divisions French intelligence predicted, as well as further radicalizing existing extremists, resulting in the creation of apocalyptic religious fanatics like ISIS, who attacked Paris on November 13th. France was right about what would happen, and they are sadly paying the price for our hubris. Also, France's reputation as Official Surrenderers isn't exactly fair, either. Yes, they surrendered to Germany in WWII, but they saw the hammering England was taking, watched the Nazis take Czechoslovakia, steamroll over Poland, conquer Denmark, Norway, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Holland, as well many other countries, which all fell quickly after their infrastructure was smashed by the Nazi blitzkrieg. The two biggest powers still standing were the USSR and the US. The Soviets signed a pact with Germany and started dividing up Europe with them and the US declared itself officially neutral and isolationism swept the country. France put up a helluva a fight despite all of this but they saw the writing on the wall: they could either fight tooth and nail and get millions of their people killed and all of their treasured art and architecture destroyed, or they could surrender before they lost anything else. They made the hard choice, something Americans with our privilege can't understand because we've never been faced with it. What people don't give them credit for is they set up one of the most extensive underground resistance movements in a matter of weeks, one that we took full advantage of when we finally got around to fighting over there a full two years after they surrendered in May of 1940. France essentially executed a jujitsu move on a national level. I can't even imagine the US being that subtle. So no, their rep as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" is not deserved. [Rant End] Hampton exemplifies the stereotypical "fighter jock" mentality. These guys are incredibly gifted on every level, no doubt about it, but not so keen on big picture reflection. I'm happy to report that they aren't all like this. Having grown up in the Air Force town of Dayton, Ohio (I grew up five miles away from where the Wright brothers built the first airplane), a lot of my friends went into the Air Force. But there's always that gung-ho yahoo that ruins the reputation of the rest of them, and Hampton comes across as one of those. Hampton never fails to inform us how smart he is, yet he makes mistakes one would think an intelligent, educated person wouldn't. Such as confusing Einstein for Newton... and getting the quote wrong, to boot. (Hint: when trying to be clever, look up your references. There's this new dealio we got now that gives y'all access to a significant portion of human knowledge, and you can access it from your home! It's called "telephoning a reference librarian.") All in all, the book is moderately interesting but overlong, and Hampton is exactly the kind of guy you want at the tip of the spear when it comes to going to war: balls to wall, fearless as hell, and not overly burdened with a conscience.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I skimmed through most of this book because my son chose to be Dan Hampton for Historical Halloween at school. We found few reference to this "Top Gun" Ace Fighter Pilot in our search aside from what was in this book. As every other word was fuck this and fuck that it was completely inappropriate for me to read it to him. So I just went through it and highlighted the important facts about his career so that my 8-year old & I can read just the highlights to write his report. I think that unless yo I skimmed through most of this book because my son chose to be Dan Hampton for Historical Halloween at school. We found few reference to this "Top Gun" Ace Fighter Pilot in our search aside from what was in this book. As every other word was fuck this and fuck that it was completely inappropriate for me to read it to him. So I just went through it and highlighted the important facts about his career so that my 8-year old & I can read just the highlights to write his report. I think that unless you have a keen interest in military Viper Pilots this is an egocentric dialog of one man's experience in the wars he fought in. He may be a great man for all his victories. But he is far to full of himself. But maybe like a great surgeon he has to be in order to go through what he has.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    Definitely interesting. Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat started off on a pretty good note. I was definitely getting the Top Gun vibe, which if I'm being completely honest here - I STILL HAVEN'T SEEN THE FULL MOVIE YET. Just bits and pieces.. so yeah, I'm definitely slacking in that department. Maybe, just maybe, one day I will finally be able to see the movie from start to finish with zero distractions. Besides all of that, I was never really interested in anything military type of books but Definitely interesting. Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat started off on a pretty good note. I was definitely getting the Top Gun vibe, which if I'm being completely honest here - I STILL HAVEN'T SEEN THE FULL MOVIE YET. Just bits and pieces.. so yeah, I'm definitely slacking in that department. Maybe, just maybe, one day I will finally be able to see the movie from start to finish with zero distractions. Besides all of that, I was never really interested in anything military type of books but my dad is completely fascinated with anything revolving around WW2. So, I try to dive into some books every now and then. Luckily for me, I've found some gems that I love and even this one was completely likable. A lot more than I thought it would be too and laughed every time YGBSM was mentioned. I will definitely being using that acronym in messages from now on. Overall, it was a fun book and I'm kind of excited for my next WW2 adventure.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I am a fan of aviation and military history that is focused on aviation. Thus the reason that I wanted to check this book out. I found this book very informative and Mr. Hampton has a talent for story telling. Even though what he is sharing about are real life events. He makes the reader feel like they are viewing everything though his eyes. This is what I liked so much about this book. Reading this book I did not feel like events or information was glossed over to hide. With other military type I am a fan of aviation and military history that is focused on aviation. Thus the reason that I wanted to check this book out. I found this book very informative and Mr. Hampton has a talent for story telling. Even though what he is sharing about are real life events. He makes the reader feel like they are viewing everything though his eyes. This is what I liked so much about this book. Reading this book I did not feel like events or information was glossed over to hide. With other military type books, you get the sense that there are thing that the author can not share. I do understand due to confidentiality but at the same time, I do want to know up to the point that the author can not divulge certain information what the conditions were like that the author experienced. This is the reason I read these books. So again with this book, I felt like I got my money’s worth. For anyone who is not well versed in aviation terminology, you will still have a good time reading this book. Mr. Hampton explains things well and if you forget what an acronym stands for there is a nice glossary in the back of the book for reference. Viper Pilot soars the skies and is a thrilling read!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Miles

    I bought this for my 15 year old son who has a particular interest these days in books about combat and war, in Iraq and Afghanistan. For my part, the only war stories that have ever really interested me involve airplanes. So I thought I could get something we'd both like. The story of Dan Hampton's air force career is filled with cockpit narratives of electronic warfare and aerial combat, and much discussion of training and education and career building in the air force. It's also VERY full of I bought this for my 15 year old son who has a particular interest these days in books about combat and war, in Iraq and Afghanistan. For my part, the only war stories that have ever really interested me involve airplanes. So I thought I could get something we'd both like. The story of Dan Hampton's air force career is filled with cockpit narratives of electronic warfare and aerial combat, and much discussion of training and education and career building in the air force. It's also VERY full of Dan Hampton, because he is a fighter pilot, and there is nothing that fighter pilots are more full of than themselves. That's just the way it is with those guys - if you have a problem with it, then don't spend time with their stories. You get to be a fighter pilot by believing you are God's gift to the military and then being able to prove it in a jet, beating out many, many other similarly cocky competitors. On the way, you become a Bush admiring, Arab-trashing, loud-mouthed military guy, and when you're all done, if you write a book, you are not shy about sharing the amazingness of you with the reader. (As a democratic socialist and anti-imperialist I choose not to reconcile my dislike of American imperialism with my interest in stories about military aviation, technology and combat. Some contradictions must remain unresolved.) That said, the idea of whipping an F-16 through the sky, dodging missiles and attacking ground radars, is fun to imagine. I guess the problem here is that air warfare is ultimately a three dimensional art/game/fight, and rendering it in a one dimensional string of words is just hard to do well. Unless you can see the action in three dimensions, and only to that extent, it is difficult to fully assimilate the reality that is being conveyed. Hampton does an OK job in this respect but maintaining positional and situational awareness is difficult for the reader. True, an inordinate and unnatural love of military acronyms will help. But unless you've paid attention, at least at an amateur level, to the variety of SAM types, gun types, aircraft types, and the like, the distinctions upon which the author's life, and this narrative depend, this book may seem impossibly obscure. Sad to say, I have paid attention to those details so the narrative is fully coherent to me on that level. I doubt that my son will pick it up when I toss it on his desk, casually, so as not to suggest that I care one way or another if he reads it, and all the while secretly hoping that he does read it. I think he is attracted to the camaraderie of the ground combat war stories he reads - this is a story of a lone wolf. Maybe his lack of interest would be a good thing - I've been trading off the encouragement of reading (anything, even war stories) against exposing him to the world of militarism. But in the end, if I have to choose I'd rather risk the militarism if that's what draws him into reading and more reading. There's plenty of time for him to sort out his real political and moral beliefs in the future. If I hadn't had a lifelong fascination with airplanes I probably wouldn't have stuck this one out. But I did and I do and it was a moderately interesting telling of a 20 year career that concluded in about 2004 in Iraq, as a Wild Weasel anti-missile fighting F-16CJ pilot. It's readable enough if you're into that kind of thing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    Started out good, faded badly The author fuss a good job of pulling you into the writer's if the fighter pilot, but it felt like he got bored about half way in with speaking to civilians and reverted to telling stories at the O club with his flying buddies. The further into the book you get, the more mired in jargon you become. I stopped caring and just wanted it to be over. Started out good, faded badly The author fuss a good job of pulling you into the writer's if the fighter pilot, but it felt like he got bored about half way in with speaking to civilians and reverted to telling stories at the O club with his flying buddies. The further into the book you get, the more mired in jargon you become. I stopped caring and just wanted it to be over.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen (Kat) Smith

    First of all I wanted to say that having men like Dan Hampton in the Air Force and military for the United States of America is what makes our country the greatest nation in the world! I could not believe the stories that Dan has told throughout the book about all of the missions he has been on, along with all of the other fighters in his unit and in Iraq! From the moment you read this book, you get a thrill ride that puts you in the back seat (if there was one) of the F-16 “Fighting Falcon” or First of all I wanted to say that having men like Dan Hampton in the Air Force and military for the United States of America is what makes our country the greatest nation in the world! I could not believe the stories that Dan has told throughout the book about all of the missions he has been on, along with all of the other fighters in his unit and in Iraq! From the moment you read this book, you get a thrill ride that puts you in the back seat (if there was one) of the F-16 “Fighting Falcon” or Viper as the fighters call it! Thank you Dan and all of the other fighters, front line and support groups for all that you do to take it to our enemies and keep the fighting away from our homeland! You all deserve the highest honors our country has to offer and I for one am honored to call you a fellow American! From 1986 to 2006 Lt. Col. Dan Hampton performed 151 combat missions as a Wild Weasel fighter pilot, flew over 600 combat hours around the world and has logged over 3000 flight hours while in the USAF from 1986-2006. He has 21 hard kills on surface-to-air-missile sites. 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor, 1 Purple Heart, and more medals and accommodations than I can list. He is a graduate of the USAF Fighter Weapons School, USN Top Gun School (TOGS), and USAF Special Operations School. Dan spearheaded the 2003 invasion of Iraq, leading the first flight of fighters over the boarder and deep into Iraq and Baghdad and also has several awards for tactical innovation. Now retired, he has time to write about all of his experiences within the USAF and all of his missions while in Iraq and other places around the world. This book, if not to tell you how dangerous his combat missions really are, will make you realize that men like Dan risk their lives on a daily basis for our freedoms we hold so dear in this country. So sit down, buckle up, and hold on for a kick ass ride so to speak! I could not put the book down when I started to read the real life story of this amazing man who not only lived through every mission and ordeal, but wrote about each mission as if he can recall every detail that happened at every moment within that mission. I am sure that each time he went up it was like tattooing a mental image of all of his surroundings when his life was on the line. Each mission he describes puts you in the cockpit with him and brings you into the life and times of Dan’s life while in Iraq! From actually flying an F-16 that goes into battle to not only be used as a target for surface-to-air-missiles (SAMS), and all other types of rockets, and gunfire being aimed at him to hunting, targeting and destroying these sites. Their acronym of “YGBSM” (You Gotta be Shittin Me!) is perfect for the type of Wild Weasel fights these fighters incurred on a daily basis. Who else but the Wild Weasels would go into a heavily defended area, have missiles and all other types of gunfire target them and try to destroy them while they seek out each missile site and destroy them! Dan I had respect for you and all of the other fighters like you, but this book gives me a new found respect for all of our military. I received Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat by Dan Hampton compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars and would give an additional 5 stars if I could! Thank you Dan for such a well written, action packed and authentic in every detail memoir of your life as a fighter pilot! READ THIS BOOK!!!!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    As an aircraft geek, I'm not a huge fan of the F-16; gimme an F-15 variant any day. But I still have much respect for the men and women of our armed forces that fly these and other machines, and more so for the "Wild Weasels", the small cadre of aviators whose primary mission is seeking out and destroying the AAA and SAM sites that other pilots generally go out of their way to avoid. From F-100Fs, to F-105Gs, to F-4Gs, and now F-16CJs, the Weasels have made it their business of playing cat and m As an aircraft geek, I'm not a huge fan of the F-16; gimme an F-15 variant any day. But I still have much respect for the men and women of our armed forces that fly these and other machines, and more so for the "Wild Weasels", the small cadre of aviators whose primary mission is seeking out and destroying the AAA and SAM sites that other pilots generally go out of their way to avoid. From F-100Fs, to F-105Gs, to F-4Gs, and now F-16CJs, the Weasels have made it their business of playing cat and mouse with radar operators and gunners, and to put those threats out of commission...permanently. While I've read books covering Vietnam and 1st Gulf War Weasels, I'd never seen anything covering contemporary operations until I came across "Viper Pilot" on Amazon.com. And I'm glad I did; I must say, this is one of the most gripping books I've read in a long time. One of those books you pick up during a slow moment in the office, thinking you'll read a couple of pages, only to get so engrossed in the story, you end up spending an hour or more reading. Lt. Col. Hamilton is an excellent storyteller, bringing the reader along with him on deployments overseas, and into the cockpit of his F-16CJ as he and his comrades take on Iraqi air defenses. He goes into great detail of various missions, and I can almost feel the Gs, and feel the button pushes as he dodges SAMs, drops chaff, and returns the favor in the form of HARMs and CBUs. Even the non-combat aspects of his career are interesting and well-told, including his deployment to Egypt as an instructor; the fact American pilots are (or were) used as guinea pigs to test fly freshly-overhauled Egyptian F-16s was eye-opening, especially when the flights don't go as planned! Lt. Col. Hamilton has had a distinguished career, spanning from the 1st Gulf War, graduation from Fighter Weapons School, to Operation Iraqi Freedom, and he pretty much tells it all. I'd heartily recommend this book to any aviation fan, or anyone looking for an excellent read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    Earlier today, a B-1 bomber strike had leveled a city block in the al-Mansur neighborhood of Baghdad, trying to kill Saddam. Cool, cool, no reason at all for the average Iraqi to hate Coalition forces. Anyway, it’s fine… …but it’s a recruiting tool. It’s for 16-17 year olds wannabe fighter jocks dreaming of telling chubby majors to “get f**ked” and grey-haired colonels to “get f**ked” slightly more politely. However, a better read is Loud and Clear, by an Israeli who attacked a nuclear reactor (a Earlier today, a B-1 bomber strike had leveled a city block in the al-Mansur neighborhood of Baghdad, trying to kill Saddam. Cool, cool, no reason at all for the average Iraqi to hate Coalition forces. Anyway, it’s fine… …but it’s a recruiting tool. It’s for 16-17 year olds wannabe fighter jocks dreaming of telling chubby majors to “get f**ked” and grey-haired colonels to “get f**ked” slightly more politely. However, a better read is Loud and Clear, by an Israeli who attacked a nuclear reactor (and, uh, the USS Liberty). Department of Defence approved, including slurs against Vietnamese, Iraqis, Egyptians and the French. Best read while drinking Budweiser as bald eagles fly overhead, shooting red, white and blue fireworks from their talons.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I received the book Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat By Lt. Col.Dan Hampton From A GoodReads giveaway. Thank You. There was a lot of technical information about combat aviation and the aircraft used by these pilots but I felt that this was important to the story he told. The meat of the book was indeed the thrilling, terrifying and deadly combat missions that Lt. Col. Dan Hampton was involved in. These were so descriptive that you felt a part of the event. I truly cannot imagine what Hampton I received the book Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat By Lt. Col.Dan Hampton From A GoodReads giveaway. Thank You. There was a lot of technical information about combat aviation and the aircraft used by these pilots but I felt that this was important to the story he told. The meat of the book was indeed the thrilling, terrifying and deadly combat missions that Lt. Col. Dan Hampton was involved in. These were so descriptive that you felt a part of the event. I truly cannot imagine what Hampton and other pilots of this caliber feel when they are involved in actions that are so threatening and deadly to their very life yet they do so willingly. Every American whether they have served in the military or not should read this book. Lt. Col. Hampton also makes no bones about how he feels about Washington politicans that attempt to understand the applications of military power but many times fail futility. I agree with him. America owes a lot to pilots like Lt.Col. Dan Hampton for he and others like him are the true American heroes. I personally would like to thank and salute each and every one of them.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laurent

    **Can of worms: opened** This book is incredibly badly written and full of egotistical nationalistic simplistic BS. The author's head is so inflated it's a wonder he got it in a cockpit. He seems to genuinely believe anyone that isn't a fighter pilot (including any other kind of pilot) is a stick insect that can be trodden on - and crushed mercilessly. Much better, humble and insightful books in this genre include 'Chickenhawk' (Robert Mason) and the superb 'Tornado Down'and 'Team Tornado' (both b **Can of worms: opened** This book is incredibly badly written and full of egotistical nationalistic simplistic BS. The author's head is so inflated it's a wonder he got it in a cockpit. He seems to genuinely believe anyone that isn't a fighter pilot (including any other kind of pilot) is a stick insect that can be trodden on - and crushed mercilessly. Much better, humble and insightful books in this genre include 'Chickenhawk' (Robert Mason) and the superb 'Tornado Down'and 'Team Tornado' (both by John Nichol, John Peters).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michaela Eby

    I received this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was thoroughly impressed by the author's style of writing and his ability to convey emotion while still stating raw facts. Hampton allowed for me as the reader to understand terminology that I otherwise may have not been able to fully comprehend. He made me feel as though I was viewing the scenes and events through his eyes. Overall, it was a very impressive read and I look forward to reading more of Dan Hampton's work! I received this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was thoroughly impressed by the author's style of writing and his ability to convey emotion while still stating raw facts. Hampton allowed for me as the reader to understand terminology that I otherwise may have not been able to fully comprehend. He made me feel as though I was viewing the scenes and events through his eyes. Overall, it was a very impressive read and I look forward to reading more of Dan Hampton's work!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Steve Crane

    I love military books in general but more so the ones that are anecdotal and read like fiction. This book is one of those. The author is not only a gifted pilot, but a funny guy too and I found myself chuckling in many places. I listened to the audiobook version from Audible read by John Pruden who did an excellent job. No mispronunciations of military terms one sometimes finds in similar audiobooks and the combat scenes are read in a way that have you feeling you're in the cockpit. I love military books in general but more so the ones that are anecdotal and read like fiction. This book is one of those. The author is not only a gifted pilot, but a funny guy too and I found myself chuckling in many places. I listened to the audiobook version from Audible read by John Pruden who did an excellent job. No mispronunciations of military terms one sometimes finds in similar audiobooks and the combat scenes are read in a way that have you feeling you're in the cockpit.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    I enjoyed this more than I though I would. I don't usually read non fiction books and find them boring, but this had a lot of action and kept me engaged for the most part. There were a lot of stories of missions that had a crazy amount of detail and felt like I was there. Dan obviously told things as he saw them and experienced them, so there was some racism and language, but that made it his story and more authentic. A couple spots were boring because they were about the history of planes or th I enjoyed this more than I though I would. I don't usually read non fiction books and find them boring, but this had a lot of action and kept me engaged for the most part. There were a lot of stories of missions that had a crazy amount of detail and felt like I was there. Dan obviously told things as he saw them and experienced them, so there was some racism and language, but that made it his story and more authentic. A couple spots were boring because they were about the history of planes or the airforce and I didn't so much care about that. Dan and his fellow pilots come across as very cocky and I don't know that I would've liked him back then, but it is a very difficult process to become a fighter pilot and hard to stay alive, so I'm sure they earned a bit of the cockiness. The narrator was great and I definitely recommend the audio.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    My thought on reading the back of the book was that it would have stories about the author on his many combat missions as a Wild Weasel. I'm drawn to the Weasel missions, as these guys are serious about killing SAMs and protecting other air assets. It takes a lot to poke your head up in order to get shot at. But the author is a horrible writer. While he is highly successful as a fighter pilot, it is this fact that blinds him to everything else in the world. To him, there are fighter pilots and th My thought on reading the back of the book was that it would have stories about the author on his many combat missions as a Wild Weasel. I'm drawn to the Weasel missions, as these guys are serious about killing SAMs and protecting other air assets. It takes a lot to poke your head up in order to get shot at. But the author is a horrible writer. While he is highly successful as a fighter pilot, it is this fact that blinds him to everything else in the world. To him, there are fighter pilots and then the rest of the population. He pounds again and again that since he has his wings, he is special. He belittles our allies (France especially) and shoves his politics front and center when discussing historical facts. (He believes President Clinton used Kosovo as a distraction from his impeachment and that President Bush was courageous in not leaving the classroom for Air Force One as the Twin Towers fell). Arrogant doesn't even begin to describe the tinted glasses he wears. (There is a lot more wrong with this book, from getting Einstein & Newton wrong, to flip flopping statements, such as the USAF is the super best in the world, but has some of the crappiest equipment. Ugh.) What pains me is that his attitude doesn't represent the Air Force as a whole. Most of the men and women in the service are nice and quite professional. They are there to learn and do their job. I know, as my dad was a maintainer of aircraft for many, many years. It was his job to make sure those pilots had planes that didn't fall out of the sky, as their lives are on the line. It was serious stuff, yet here the author wants to piss on everyone not a USAF fighter pilot. For my last point, I'd put his bravery and skills up against a CSAR or combat medic helicopter pilot. Those folks go into a hot LZ to get the wounded out. I've met them. They are not arrogant, they are quite nice and easy to talk to. Their stories will make your palms sweat, but you won't walk away thinking he/she puts pilots on a pedestal. So while the last 1/3 of the book is interesting detailing his missions over Iraq, the book as a whole is an immature mess that hopefully won't spoil the public's view of people in the USAF. (Read the biography of Robin Olds for a better view of fighter pilots...)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    The arrogance of this guy is staggering. Even Chuck Yeager didn't pat himself on the back this much! Read "Forever Flying" by Bob Hoover if you want a TRUE aviation hero. Mr. Hoover's autobiography makes this book look like a slow episode of Oprah, and Bob is a HUMBLE gentleman. Mr. Hampton should take note... The arrogance of this guy is staggering. Even Chuck Yeager didn't pat himself on the back this much! Read "Forever Flying" by Bob Hoover if you want a TRUE aviation hero. Mr. Hoover's autobiography makes this book look like a slow episode of Oprah, and Bob is a HUMBLE gentleman. Mr. Hampton should take note...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ru

    Lt. Dan Hampton gives a pretty thorough account of his time in the Air Force, and does so with a great mix of suspense, danger, and humor. This is not just a book about flight, as Lt. Hampton recounts stories from his perspective of bureaucracy and his experiences in combat in foreign lands. With the mystery surrounding the fate and whereabouts of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, I thought this book would detail the unique perspective of a pilot, especially one who has to make snap life-or-death Lt. Dan Hampton gives a pretty thorough account of his time in the Air Force, and does so with a great mix of suspense, danger, and humor. This is not just a book about flight, as Lt. Hampton recounts stories from his perspective of bureaucracy and his experiences in combat in foreign lands. With the mystery surrounding the fate and whereabouts of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, I thought this book would detail the unique perspective of a pilot, especially one who has to make snap life-or-death decisions. I was not disappointed. To say Lt. Hampton underwent an extreme amount of stress in his "day job," so to speak, is an understatement. And, while that is a very different life than a commercial airline pilot, it does lend some insight into control of such a high-precision piece of machinery, and the pressure to have such control, the likes of which most people will never know. Apart from the flight stories, Lt. Hampton comes across as a very noble, hard-nosed figure. There are enough funny anecdotes within this memoir to keep the reader loose, while mixing in a tremendous amount of very stressful tales, ranging from dodging anti-aircraft fire, to having run critically low on fuel while in the not-so-friendly skies. There are definitely some white-knuckler stories in here that will stay with me for quite a while. The general public takes virtually everything about Lt. Hampton's life for granted; his career is filled with life-threatening situations, his tools of the trade are just as dangerous, and flight in general is a risky proposition, at minimum. Reading this book truly makes you appreciate the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces and all that they do for people like you and I.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    This is a great memoir. Lt. Col. Hampton writes with the suspense and drama of a fiction writer. The opening of the book has Hampton nearly out of gas, low on ammo and a sandstorm building; he is trying to help some marines being overrun on the ground. Then out of ammo and nearly bingo on fuel he heads for a tanker but cannot find it in the haze from the storm. Then Hampton leaves us hanging and tells the story of his military life and how he got to this point in the Iraqi war. At the end of the This is a great memoir. Lt. Col. Hampton writes with the suspense and drama of a fiction writer. The opening of the book has Hampton nearly out of gas, low on ammo and a sandstorm building; he is trying to help some marines being overrun on the ground. Then out of ammo and nearly bingo on fuel he heads for a tanker but cannot find it in the haze from the storm. Then Hampton leaves us hanging and tells the story of his military life and how he got to this point in the Iraqi war. At the end of the book he finally completes the opening story. I learned about the role of the Wild Weasel Fighters. Hampton tells the history of the Weasels and the various planes modified for use hunting SAMs (surface to air missiles) over the years up to his last plane, the F-16 Fighting Falcon also called Viper. Col. Hampton also gave an overview of the modern Air Force, descriptions of the various schools he attended from pilot school to the prestigious Fighter Weapons School as well as a general overview of the Air Force. The book is very well written. Hampton’s method of writing has the reader sitting in the cockpit with him. The reader can see, hear, feel and smell everything Hampton does. Hampton comes across as a typical macho fighter pilot, cocky, arrogant, irreverent and invincible. Hampton is one of the most decorated fighter pilots in the Air Force and that only adds to the story. Hampton writes great combat scenes. I agree with Hampton that there should be an ACE category for destroying SAMs, as more pilots are downed by SAMs than by other planes. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. John Pruden does a good job narrating the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael Flanagan

    While this was an entertaining read about the career of one of the top F-16 pilots, I found his arrogance held me back from really enjoying this book. The author gives a great background to the plane and the missions he flew. His main role being a "Wild Weasel" pilot. This involves flying around trying to get a SAM fire at you so your wingman can take it out. I have a new found respect for F-16 pilots after reading this back and was in awe of the skill and dedication it takes to fly one of these While this was an entertaining read about the career of one of the top F-16 pilots, I found his arrogance held me back from really enjoying this book. The author gives a great background to the plane and the missions he flew. His main role being a "Wild Weasel" pilot. This involves flying around trying to get a SAM fire at you so your wingman can take it out. I have a new found respect for F-16 pilots after reading this back and was in awe of the skill and dedication it takes to fly one of these planes. But like I said his arrogance shines through in many parts of the book and if I was a pilot of some of the other aircraft he talks about I would be more than annoyed. He tries to pass his arrogance off as confidence but I don't buy it. Still it was an enjoyable read giving you a great feel of what it is like to be a pilot during war time in this great plane.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    This non-fiction book was packed with action! I admit I skimmed through parts of it because of the technical language, however, it provided a great insight to US military air flying and tactics. I also appreciate that Hampton wrote this himself and never included any classified information regarding personnel, missions or locations. Bravo to him. I also liked his tone throughout the book - adding his perspective on how things ran stateside, what bases were like around the world and his sense of This non-fiction book was packed with action! I admit I skimmed through parts of it because of the technical language, however, it provided a great insight to US military air flying and tactics. I also appreciate that Hampton wrote this himself and never included any classified information regarding personnel, missions or locations. Bravo to him. I also liked his tone throughout the book - adding his perspective on how things ran stateside, what bases were like around the world and his sense of humor. This was a book a little outside my usual read, but I'm glad I picked it up and learned a few things about F-16 fighter jets. Oh - and Dan Hampton is not a bad looking guy - be sure to check out all of his flight suit pictures (think Maverick only taller) in the middle. :)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Hard to write a specific book review. This is a real combat pilots narrative of his time flying the F-16 Fighter jet. Very detailed and very descriptive. Lt. Col Dan Hampton knows of what he speaks. He was there. The F-16 is called the Fighting Falcon. Nice catchy name. But to the pilots it was known as "The Viper". Much more appropriate as you will see.You have to read the book to understand the Colonel's last sentence, but I have a good friend who was a fighter pilot in Vietnam. He will know w Hard to write a specific book review. This is a real combat pilots narrative of his time flying the F-16 Fighter jet. Very detailed and very descriptive. Lt. Col Dan Hampton knows of what he speaks. He was there. The F-16 is called the Fighting Falcon. Nice catchy name. But to the pilots it was known as "The Viper". Much more appropriate as you will see.You have to read the book to understand the Colonel's last sentence, but I have a good friend who was a fighter pilot in Vietnam. He will know what this means..."I flew with the Wild Weasels". Thank you, Col. Hampton, to you and all your comrades. We can NEVER repay the debt owed to you.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andd

    This extraordinary memoir will create hero-worshipping. Thanks to this special guy and his colleagues for completing dangerous U.S. Air Force missions. I received this book free through the goodreads FIRST READS program.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marc Dorval

    Great book! If you feel the adrenaline rushing just by reading blow-by-blow descriptions of aircraft maneuvers, cluster bombs, and HUD displays, then this is the book for you. A fast pace, much humour, and colourful details add up to a very fun read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jonn

    Was pretty good for a memoirs, but tends to forget about support personnel until the end. Also, his view and definition of a warrior is questionable. Pretty good book with fun stories and interesting insight into the mind of a fighter jocky.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    The prologue captured me. Well written, easy to read. Even reading about his training is interesting and engaging. This was a good book, loaded with entertaining and action packed stories. Well worth reading and enjoying!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Collin

    A well written account of the life of a fighter pilot. A recommended read but not for the "politically correct" as Lt. Colonel (Ret) Hampton tells it like it was. I read the Kindle ebook. I look forward to reading more of this author's books. A well written account of the life of a fighter pilot. A recommended read but not for the "politically correct" as Lt. Colonel (Ret) Hampton tells it like it was. I read the Kindle ebook. I look forward to reading more of this author's books.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Excellent memoir of an F-16 fighter pilot. Longer review here: http://eyesandearsblog.blogspot.com/2... Excellent memoir of an F-16 fighter pilot. Longer review here: http://eyesandearsblog.blogspot.com/2...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ken McConnell

    Excellent personal account of modern war fighting from the cockpit of an F-16.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Keith Jackson

    Interesting look at the advent of anti-missile missions and planes. Talk about a scary job. Fly around until an enemy radar lights you up, then try and kill the radar before the SAM's kill you. Interesting look at the advent of anti-missile missions and planes. Talk about a scary job. Fly around until an enemy radar lights you up, then try and kill the radar before the SAM's kill you.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    A great seat of your pants action book. Very fun. Also an eye opener on how we deal with anti aircraft missle batteries. These guys are nuts!

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