Brace yourselves, because this is going to be the week of book reviews! This last month, as you can tell from last few posts, has seriously been crazy to say the least. Reading has been the last priority on my list this semester -- survival being number one.
So I admit that I am way behind these book reviews, and I feel terrible about it. But hey, when you ask an Army wife of 3 kids to review your book, it's going to take some time.
Harper-Collins sent me Viper Pilot by Dan Hampton around Christmas time... yeah, I know, sad. Thing is, I actually started it the day it came in the mail. But I have to be honest, it was really hard for me to get into. Now, it doesn't have as much to do with the book as it does with me. I have a really hard time getting into aviation stuff. It's just one of those things that don't interest me much. I like to feel like I am on the ground in the action, not so much flying around, if you know what I mean.
Also, if you have read some of my other reviews, you know I have issues with arrogance. I love down to earth guys, who tell it like it is, give credit to where it is deserved, and even though they are totally awesome, they maintain a modesty that is heroic and inspiring. Dan Hampton seems like a super cool guy, has a great sense of humor and is not only a great writer, and an excellent storyteller... but definitely likes himself, a lot. And honestly, there is nothing wrong with that... it only makes me twitch now and then.
That being said, here is a little about the book and it's author from the cover:
151 combat missions21 hard kills on surface-to-air-missile sites4 Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor1 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.
If you love fighter pilot stuff and all things aviation, you will LOVE this book! Seriously, go order it right now. It is full of all things technical, great stories of fighting while in the air and other cool stuff. I mean this guy has done it all and more -- you are sure to be sucked into an amazing, yet true, adventure of things you have never imagined and are too crazy to be in a movie.