The Hunter Killers: The Extraordinary Story of the First Wild Weasels, the Band of Maverick Aviators Who Flew the Most Dangerous Missions of the Vietnam War

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9780062375131: The Hunter Killers: The Extraordinary Story of the First Wild Weasels, the Band of Maverick Aviators Who Flew the Most Dangerous Missions of the Vietnam War

A gripping chronicle of the band of maverick aviators who signed on for the suicidal, dangerous top-secret “Wild Weasel" missions during the Vietnam War—which used controversial and revolutionary tactics to combat Soviet missile technology—from New York Times bestselling author Dan Hampton.

On July 24, 1965, Soviet advisors to North Vietnam launched an SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM), blowing an American F-4 Phantom out of the sky—the first of several kills using this menacing system. To counter this new weaponry, stunned Pentagon officials created a classified program—“Wild Weasel I”—pairing experimental equipment with a highly select group of electronic warfare officers and fighter pilots to combat this deadly threat. The men who did this became the "Hunter Killers"-- and it is time to know their names.

Fifty years later, Dan Hampton provides a cockpit view of this highly classified military program that was a radical departure from conventional fighter jet tactics—and carried with it a fifty-percent casualty rate. Yet despite the odds, these courageous, daring, and skilled warriors risked their lives to fight the SAMs and save their brother aviators.

Using first-hand accounts, declassified documents from both sides of the conflict, and featuring unpublished photographs, The Hunter Killers takes readers into the skies, and up close to the bloody duels that left half the Weasels dead or captured. At its center are the men who risked everything to fight the most dangerous anti-aircraft weapons the world had seen. Hampton brings them into focus, exploring their lives and personalities, and the characteristics—a combination of ego, bravery, heroism, and duty—that motivated them. He also looks at their legacy, which continues to influence the military today.

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Review:

“Exciting. ... Hampton’s command of the nuances of technology, in addition to his knowledge of the Vietnam War on the ground and in the air, renders this book both informative and moving. A fast-paced Vietnam War story.” (Kirkus)

“Intense. ... [Hampton’s] overall writing style is excellent; in particular, his vivid, fast-paced combat narratives. ... Will appeal to military history fans or anyone looking for an absorbing read.” (Library Journal)

“An in-the-cockpit air combat chronicle. ... Hampton uses the words of surviving Wild Weasel aviators to imaginatively recreate dramatic and dangerous missions over enemy territory. ... Gripping.” (Publishers Weekly)

From the Back Cover:

At the height of the Cold War, America's most elite aviators bravely volunteered for a covert program aimed at eliminating an impossible new threat. Half never returned. All became legends. From New York Times bestselling author Dan Hampton comes one of the most extraordinary untold stories of aviation history.

Vietnam, 1965: On July 24 a USAF F-4 Phantom jet was suddenly blown from the sky by a mysterious and lethal weapon—a Soviet SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM), launched by Russian "advisors" to North Vietnam. Three days later, six F-105 Thunderchiefs were brought down trying to avenge the Phantom. More tragic losses followed, establishing the enemy's SAMs as the deadliest anti-aircraft threat in history and dramatically turning the tables of Cold War air superiority in favor of Soviet technology.

Stunned and desperately searching for answers, the Pentagon ordered a top secret program called Wild Weasel I to counter the SAM problem—fast. So it came to be that a small group of maverick fighter pilots and Electronic Warfare Officers volunteered to fly behind enemy lines and into the teeth of the threat. To most it seemed a suicide mission—but they beat the door down to join. Those who survived the 50 percent casualty rate would revolutionize warfare forever.

"You gotta be sh*#@ing me!" This immortal phrase was uttered by Captain Jack Donovan when the Wild Weasel concept was first explained to him. "You want me to fly in the back of a little tiny fighter aircraft with a crazy fighter pilot who thinks he's invincible, home in on a SAM site in North Vietnam, and shoot it before it shoots me?"

Based on unprecedented firsthand interviews with Wild Weasel veterans and previously unseen personal papers and declassified documents from both sides of the conflict, as well as Dan Hampton's own experience as a highly decorated F-16 Wild Weasel pilot, The Hunter Killers is a gripping, cockpit-level chronicle of the first-generation Weasels, the remarkable band of aviators who faced head-on the advanced Soviet missile technology that was decimating fellow American pilots over the skies of Vietnam.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc. Hardback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, The Hunter Killers: The Extraordinary Story of the First Wild Weasels, the Band of Maverick Aviators Who Flew the Most Dangerous Missions of the Vietnam War, Dan Hampton, A gripping chronicle of the band of maverick fighter pilots who signed on for the suicidal, dangerous top-secret "Iron Hand" program during the Vietnam War--which used revolutionary tactics to combat Soviet missile technology--from New York Times bestselling author Dan Hampton.On July 24, 1965, Soviet advisors to North Vietnam launched an SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM), blowing an American F-4 Phantom out of the sky--the first of several U.S. kills using this fearsome new technology. To counter this new weaponry, stunned Pentagon officials created a classified program--"Iron Hand"--that offered a small group of maverick pilots a chance to counter this deadly threat.Fifty years later, Dan Hampton provides a cockpit view of this highly classified military program that was a radical departure from practiced tactical jet aviation--and carried a fifty-percent casualty rate. Yet despite the odds, a band of courageous, daring, and skilled pilots--warriors who took the name Wild Weasels--risked their lives to save their Air Force brothers.Using first-hand accounts, declassified documents from both sides of the conflict, and featuring unpublished photographs, The Hunter Killers takes readers into the skies, and up close to the bloody duels that left half the Weasels dead or captured. At its center are the men who risked everything to be a part of history. Hampton brings them into focus, exploring their lives and personalities, and the characteristics--a combination of ego, bravery, heroism, and duty--that motivated them. He also looks at their legacy, which continues to influence the military today. Bookseller Inventory # B9780062375131

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Book Description William Morrow, 2015. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: The New York Times bestselling author of Viper Pilot, U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Dan Hampton flew 151 combat missions during his twenty years in the USAF (1986-2006). For his service in the Iraq War, Kosovo conflict, and first Gulf War, Col. Hampton received four Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor, a Purple Heart, eight Air Medals with Valor, five Meritorious Service Medals, and numerous other citations. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_006237513X

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 229 x 160 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. At the height of the Cold War, America s most elite aviators bravely volunteered for a covert program aimed at eliminating an impossible new threat. Half never returned. All became legends. From New York Times bestselling author Dan Hampton comes one of the most extraordinary untold stories of aviation history. Vietnam, 1965: On July 24 a USAF F-4 Phantom jet was suddenly blown from the sky by a mysterious and lethal weapon-a Soviet SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM), launched by Russian advisors to North Vietnam. Three days later, six F-105 Thunderchiefs were brought down trying to avenge the Phantom. More tragic losses followed, establishing the enemy s SAMs as the deadliest anti-aircraft threat in history and dramatically turning the tables of Cold War air superiority in favor of Soviet technology. Stunned and desperately searching for answers, the Pentagon ordered a top secret program called Wild Weasel I to counter the SAM problem-fast. So it came to be that a small group of maverick fighter pilots and Electronic Warfare Officers volunteered to fly behind enemy lines and into the teeth of the threat. To most it seemed a suicide mission-but they beat the door down to join. Those who survived the 50 percent casualty rate would revolutionize warfare forever. You gotta be me! This immortal phrase was uttered by Captain Jack Donovan when the Wild Weasel concept was first explained to him. You want me to fly in the back of a little tiny fighter aircraft with a crazy fighter pilot who thinks he s invincible, home in on a SAM site in North Vietnam, and shoot it before it shoots me? Based on unprecedented firsthand interviews with Wild Weasel veterans and previously unseen personal papers and declassified documents from both sides of the conflict, as well as Dan Hampton s own experience as a highly decorated F-16 Wild Weasel pilot, The Hunter Killers is a gripping, cockpit-level chronicle of the first-generation Weasels, the remarkable band of aviators who faced head-on the advanced Soviet missile technology that was decimating fellow American pilots over the skies of Vietnam. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062375131

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