A Vietnam veteran takes you into the cockpit and shares true stories of his flying career in this compelling memoir. In this action-packed memoir, Jules Harper recounts the unique process of becoming a naval aviator, revealing his experiences as a brand new pilot in a combat squadron and, finally, a flying warrior. He survived two combat cruises aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk from 1966–1968, compiled 332 career carrier takeoffs and landings, and was shot at daily by enemy fire while completing 200 combat missions over Vietnam, and shares the views of the aviators who flew along with him on these missions while fighting this unpopular war. A recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, twenty-one Air Medals, and many other accolades, he offers readers a new understanding and appreciation of the warriors who protect not only their comrades in arms, but the defense of the nation as well.
My Life as a Naval Aviator During the Vietnam War
Author: Jules Harper
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Less than five years after Naval Aviation had been in the forefront of the forces that defeated Imperial Japan, it found itself in serious trouble. The force had been slashed in people and numbers and growing national sentiment supported by no less than the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs argued that the new Air Force could do anything Naval Aviation might be required to do. Not helping matters was that the Naval Aviation accident rate was soaring. The very survival of Naval Aviation was at stake. One of the first steps to re-order priorities and save Naval Aviation was to solve the problem of increasing numbers of accidents. Over the next fifty years that problem was indeed solved to the extent that today, despite hot wars, cold wars, contingencies and peacetime operations in support of friends and allies the Navy/Marine accident rate is at least as good as that of the Air Force and approached that of commercial aviation. This book tells the story of how that was done. Despite the advent of new and more complicated aircraft including jets, the increasing demands of night and all-weather flying, an unsettled world and continual high operational tempo Naval Aviation is second to no other flying organization in readiness to answer the Nation’s call, safely. The keys to how this was achieved lies with dedicated and professional leadership, a focus on lessons learned from mishaps and near-mishaps, a willingness to learn and adopt new leadership, training, management, maintenance and supply styles and procedures. All this and more is described in this book. Checkouts in new airplanes became more than, “Show me how to start it and I’ll fly it.” Leaders were assigned based on past performance, not on who somebody knew. Maintenance and supply got more scientific and responsive. Flight surgeons were made part of the team and made major contributions to aviation safety. The place of Human Factors was recognized and contributed significantly to the remarkable downtrend in the numbers of Naval Aviation mishaps. Simulator training became increasingly important as did the more recent disciplines of Operational Risk management and Crew Resource Management. From the 1950s to 2000 the number of Navy/Marine major mishaps fell from a high of 2,213 in 1954 to 29 in 2000. Even more impressive, the number went As low as eleven in 2010 and continues to fall. This book tells how all that came about and more. It’s a recipe which might be followed by any high risk enterprise seeking to reduce accidents and improve readiness. That’s exactly what Naval Aviation has done since 1950.
The Evolution of Naval Aviation Safety, 1950-2000
Author: Robert Dunn
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior, though something of a cult favourite, remains a largely unremarked classic of Naval Aviation. Built for nuclear weapon delivery, the A-3 made its name in Vietnam as a conventional bomber, tanker and Electronic Warfare platform. It was the largest aircraft ever regularly operated from the decks of aircraft carriers, earning it the fleet-wide nickname 'Whale'. It excelled in every mission area assigned to it and operated in the US Navy for more than four decades, from 1956 through to 1991. Fully illustrated to depict the incredible array of paint schemes and its awesome size, this volume focuses on the type's Vietnam service, which saw the aircraft briefly used as a bomber over both North and South Vietnam from March 1965, before the Skywarrior proved far more valuable as a multi-role tanker (KA-3B) and tanker/tactical jammer (EKA-3B). The title includes details on all of these operations as well as more clandestine reconnaissance missions, and provides information about the men that flew them.
Author: Rick Morgan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Author: United States. Naval Air Systems Command,United States. Office of the Chief of Naval Operations,Naval Historical Center (U.S.)
The war in the skies above Vietnam still stands as the longest our nation has ever fought. For fourteen years American pilots dropped bombs on the Southeast Asian countryside -- eventually more than eight million tons of them. In doing so, they lost over 8,588 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. They did not win the war. Ironically, Vietnam, though one of our least popular wars, produced one of the most effective groups of warriors our nation has ever seen -- men of dedication, professionalism, and courage. In Fast Movers, official navy historian John Sherwood offers an authoritative social history of the air war, focused around fourteen of these aviators -- from legends like Robin Olds, Steve Ritchie, and John Nichols to lesser-known but equally heroic fighters like Roger Lerseth and Ted Sienecki. Sherwood draws on nearly 300 interviews to tell stories of great pilots and great planes in the words of the men themselves. Fliers recall jets such as McDonnell Douglas's famous F-4 Phantom, "a Corvette with wings"; the F-05 Thunderchief, the workhorse of the war; the F-8 Crusader, the last of the gun fighters; and the block-nosed but revolutionary A-6 Intruder with its fully computerized attack systems, terrain mapping radar, and digital all-weather navigation system. Ultimately, though, it was the men who mattered. Sherwood shows us the brash confidence of famous iconoclast Robin Olds, who does not hide his thrill of the hunt -- and the kill. Roger Sheets looked like Don Knotts but prepped his "Vulture Flight" of Marine A-6s with the simple, unequivocal line, "Gentlemen, let's go out and kill something." But Sherwood lets us know that it wasn't all glory, that pilots suffered fear just like other soldiers. Ed Rasimus later admitted he thought that an assignment to Thailand was "like getting diagnosed with terminal cancer: everyone is hoping the cure will come before you die." There were things worse than death, too. Fast Movers offers fascinating portraits -- based on Sherwood's interviews and just-declassified naval archives -- of Vietnam's POWs. Pilots lucky enough to suffer only broken bones and burns from the violence of 1960s-era Martin-Baker ejection seats struggled to find honorable ways to negotiate half-decade-long periods in captivity. Passive resistance, like Commander Jeremiah Denton's famous blinking of TORTURE in Morse Code, was sometimes successful, often brutally reprised. Escape was impossible. Those who avoided shootdown learned to live with other frustrations. Most wanted to "go downtown" (bomb Hanoi) but were foiled by their civilian superiors, who dictated the numbers and types of aircraft that could be used in a given strike, the kinds of ordnance that could be levied against a target, and even the flight paths that could be flown. Against all odds, the pilots spawned a culture of success in the midst of failure and frustration. Fast Movers captures a hidden and crucial story of America's least successful war.
Jet Pilots and the Vietnam Experience
Author: John Sherwood
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Vietnam. A USMC A-4 Skyhawk pilot. PTSD. He survived Vietnam, but would he survive its aftermath? The experiences of combat produce different memories by those whom have served. Some return as warriors, seemingly unscathed. With others, their life is never the same. The horrors of each mission come back to haunt them for years. Ten years after returning from Vietnam as a two time decorated A-4 Skyhawk pilot, Captain Robert “Gene” Lathrop described war as hell. Flying the scooter as a part of VMA-311, he completed over 275 missions. His squadron completed 54,625 sorties dropping over 9 million tons of bombs. That record will never be broken. But the bomb damage assessment was steep for Captain Lathrop. The nightmares and emotional rage he experienced threatened to tear apart his family. To keep from unraveling, he sought a voice in the written word. This memoir serves as part of his mission to honor the men and women of the military. He believed veterans who return to peacetime should never feel eternally at war.
Author: Jeanette Vaughan,Robert G. Lathrop
In early May 1961, a U.S. military aircraft taxied toward a well-guarded terminal building. The plane slowed to a halt; steps were maneuvered up to its side, and the door was pulled open. The tropical night air was heavy and dank, and the moon shone dimly through high thin clouds. On board the aircraft were ninety-two members of a specially selected team. The men were dressed in indistinguishable dark suits with white shirts and dark ties, and each man carried a new red U.S. diplomatic passport inside his breast pocket. The men held copies of their orders and records in identical brown Manila envelopes, and each man’s medical records were stamped “If injured or killed in combat, report as training accident in the Philippines.” In such clandestine fashion, the first fully operational U.S. military unit arrived at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in South Vietnam. The unit was so highly classified even its name was top-secret. It was given a codename, a cover identity to hide the true nature of its mission. The unit’s operation was housed in a heavily-guarded compound near Saigon, and within two days of its arrival, Phase I was implemented. Its operatives were intercepting Viet Cong manual Morse communications, analyzing it for the intelligence it contained and passing the information to the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group-Vietnam. The Army Security Agency was on duty.
The Army Security Agency's Secret War in Vietnam 1961-1973
Author: Lonnie M. Long Gary B. Blackburn
Thoughts on issues of character, leadership, integrity, personal and public virtue, and ethics, the selections in this volume converge around the central theme of how man can rise with dignity to prevail in the face of adversity--lessons just as valid for the challenges of present-day life as they were for the author's Vietnam experience.
Author: James B. Stockdale
Publisher: Hoover Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
spellbinding history , the how, what, when, where and why some never told and certainly not always understood. This is a story that has begged to be told, with sources and substance heretofore missing Historians, military scholars, and aviators, will rely on this work for years. Carl H. McNair, Jr., Major General, U.S. Army (Retired) "This is worth a good read a welcome and long overdue history of Army Aviation." Joseph L. Galloway, senior military correspondent, Knight Ridder Newspapers and co-author, We Were Soldiers Once and Young Soldiers, scholars, and aviation enthusiasts alike can learn much from this comprehensive examination . successfully blends lively and insightful historical narrative with astute analysis. unfailingly honest assessment of contributions to our national defense. Carol Reardon, Pennsylvania State University, author of LAUNCH THE INTRUDERS tightly written and focused traces the aviation branch from its inception through two world wars, the loss of a major portion to the new Air Force, up through its current role . required reading for anyone who desires to understand Army aviation. Darrel Whitcomb, author of The Rescue of Bat 21, and Combat Search and Rescue in Desert Storm tells the whole story concisely by addressing seven key themes. crisp prose and well-chosen illustrations . This old ground-pounder owes his life to brave crews of Army birds. Henry Gole, Ph.D./Colonel (ret.), author of Soldiering
From Its Beginnings to the War on Terror
Author: James W. Williams
In 2012, after sharing a number of sea stories with my only grandson, I was told I needed to write a life journal to include my years as a child in the Philippine Islands just following World War II. The journal, which addressed a time from June 7, 1935 to December 28, 2013, includes the important events of my life, including my twenty-seven years in the US Navy. As could be expected, there are more reflections from my years as a naval aviator, flying combat missions in Vietnam and numerous secret missions against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Not as exciting, but just as important, was my journal following my naval service after my retirement in December 1982. Most importantly, I have shared what took place in my life on June 9, 1977, two days after my 42nd birthday and two days before my oldest son graduated from high school, when I accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of my life. This event radically changed my life and immediately healed a broken family. It also addressed the thirty-plus years in which I was called as a volunteer to serve the least of these in our prison systems. If I have a desire for the journal, it would be that it encourage others to address the importance of their spiritual needs before age forty-two and that it would challenge my grandchildren in their walk with Christ.
A Grandson’s Journey into His Grandfather’s Life
Author: Tom Maxwell
Publisher: WestBow Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Louis Zamperini, Sohn italienischer Einwanderer, wird vom jugendlichen Schlitzohr zum Mittelstreckenläufer von Weltrang. Nach seinem fulminanten Schlussspurt beim Finale der Olympischen Spiele in Berlin 1936 beginnt seine Odyssee während des Zweiten Weltkriegs im Pazifik. Er gerät mitten ins Inferno der Gefangenschaft, wo er Folter und Hunger erträgt und überlebt. Laura Hillenbrand, die zurzeit erfolgreichste Sachbuchautorin der USA, erzählt mitreißend und erzeugt eine atemlose Spannung: den Flugzeugabsturz, die 47-tägige Irrfahrt im Schlauchboot durch den Pazifik, den Kampf gegen Haie, die Kriegsgefangenschaft unter einem der grausamsten Verbrecher des Zweiten Weltkriegs.
Die unfassbare Lebengeschichte des Louis Zamperini
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Category: Aeronautics, Military
The history of a near-century of combat search and rescue, with an account of how the discipline was created and how it is administered—or neglected—today.
The Saga of Combat Search and Rescue
Author: George Galdorisi,Thomas Phillips
Publisher: Zenith Imprint
Barely escaping death in a light airplane when he was 10 years old, Tom Fitzgerald spends the next eight years avoiding all things challenging and adventurous. During his second year of college he is bored and out of money when he encounters a dashing US Navy pilot recruiting naval aviation cadets (NavCads). He listens to the debonair officer make his pitch and decides that if he is ever going have a life, this is his big chance. He signs on the dotted line, determined to prove his mettle by becoming the dauntless warrior he admires in all of the recruiting posters. The following summer he reports to the Naval Air Training Command in Pensacola, Florida and is greeted by Technical Sergeant Dempsey Flanagan, a Marine more frightening than any non-commissioned officer he has ever seen on the silver screen. From that moment he knows that his life will never be the same. The days of flight training are occasionally terrifying, often uproarious, and always turbulent. A timid college sophomore who has never succeeded at anything, Tom is increasingly anxious before each flight, and then depressed about his mediocre performance when it is over. On several occasions he barely escapes being washed out for lack of flying aptitude. Though tempted to quit, he decides to hang around and struggle through one disheartening day at a time, always hoping things will improve. Instead of getting better,however, the days get worse. He is hounded by his lack of self-confidence, the disturbing memories of his near-disastrous flying experience eight years earlier, the often expressed doubts of his parents and mentors, and the incessant pleas by his cousin and idol, a WWII fighter pilot, to give up his foolish idea and come home. As he progresses many of his classmates quit or wash out, and a few are killed in aircraft accidents. In the meantime, he must battle the ever-present harassment by an adversary from his youth who is now a fellow cadet. When Tom tries to boost his confidence by participating in reckless rites of passage, the results are usually comical and sometimes painful. He learns that what may seem a good idea over a few beers can prove to be a mistake with long-lasting consequences. Frustrated by the lack of encouragement from home, Tom joins a group of cadets who surrender their fate to guardian angels, accepting the premise held by many pilots that they are colleagues killed in combat or aircraft accidents. When he finally develops confidence in his flying, his childhood nemesis works hard to tear it down. Tired of dodging the daily attacks, Tom confronts the bigger and stronger cadet in impromptu wrestling and boxing matches and later, in a reckless, illegal dogfight over central Texas that nearly takes both their lives. It is after this frightening experience that their adversarial relationship takes a new and surprising twist. With graduation day approaching, Tom and his surviving classmates are given their assignments in the fleet. Although disappointed, they struggle to keep a positive attitude and vow to somehow be assigned together at their new duty station where they will strive to make their squadron the finest in the Marine Corps. Later that week, however, an unexplained tragedy torpedoes their renewed enthusiasm. But again, the NavCads camaraderie binds them together. They bury their sadness and focus on the adventures awaiting them over the horizon. With Flying Colors is a must read for all young men and women about to make a major change in their lives. Journeying through Tom Fitzgeralds calamitous and humorous escapades while in quest of his Navy wings reminds us how people, culture, and events shape us--good or bad--into what we eventually become.
Confessions of a Navcad
Author: Col. Richard L. Upchurch
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
Subtitled: The American Aces Speak, Volume IV. A highly charged excursion into life and death in the air, told by men who lived through it. Ride with Flying Tigers ace Charlie Bond as he is shot down in flames over China, and share the lonliness of command as Lt. Commander Tom Blackburn decides the fate of the fellow Navy pilot whose F4U Corsair malfunctions in a desperate battle over Rabaul. Hdbd., 6"x 9", 263 pgs., 37 b&w ill.
Author: Eric M. Hammel
Publisher: Pacifica Pr
Category: Biography & Autobiography
They are America's best fighter pilots -- from the Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Heroes who push the envelope with their machines, their bodies, and the will to fight and win on their... WINGS OF FURY Here, these airborne warriors reveal themselves as never before. Ride shotgun with TOPGUN pilot Dale "Snort" Snodgrass as he becomes the first student pilot ever to land an F-14 Tomcat on an aircraft carrier. Silver Star winner Rob Graeter recalls a Cold War close call as he flew his F-15 Eagle over Soviet waters -- almost triggering World War III. Feel the adrenaline as Brian "Rocky" Fitzpatrick remembers test-flying the F/A-18 Hornet when it suddenly went haywire, leaving him with a crippled plane, a faulty parachute -- and a very long way down.... From the training grounds of Miramar to combat in Vietnam and Desert Storm, these are the stories of those who defend our skies -- and the dramatic evolution of modern air warfare.
From Vietnam to the Gulf War the Astonishing True
Author: Robert K. Wilcox
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Rising from aviation cadet to vice admiral, Donald D. Engen played a key role in the Navy's remarkable transition from propeller planes to jet fighters that flew at twice the speed of sound. In this account of his first 25 years as a naval aviator during a time of great change, Engen vividly recalls the slow start, heroics, and hardships of the golden age of jet airplane development. 44 photos.
Author: Donald Davenport Engen
Publisher: Smithsonian Inst Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography