Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat

Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat

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by Dan Hampton
     
 

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Action-packed and breathtakingly authentic, Viper Pilot is the electrifying memoir of one of the most decorated F-16 pilots in American history: U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Dan Hampton, who served for twenty years, flying missions in the Iraq War, the Kosovo conflict, and the first Gulf War.

Both a rare look into the elite world of fighter pilots

Overview

Action-packed and breathtakingly authentic, Viper Pilot is the electrifying memoir of one of the most decorated F-16 pilots in American history: U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Dan Hampton, who served for twenty years, flying missions in the Iraq War, the Kosovo conflict, and the first Gulf War.

Both a rare look into the elite world of fighter pilots and a thrilling first-person account of contemporary air combat, Viper Pilot soars—a true story of courage, skill, and commitment that will thrill U.S. Special Forces buffs, aviation and military history aficionados, and fans of the novels of Tom Clancy and Dale Brown.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hampton, one of America’s most renowned fighter pilots—a retired, decorated Air Force lieutenant colonel—shares a brash and bold account of his 20 year military service in this fast-paced adventure memoir. He recounts his early education at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma, his personal experience of September 11th, and the hair-raising missions of two Gulf wars. A member of the Wild Weasels, an elite group of pilots who fly into enemy territory to draw fire so that threats can be exposed and eliminated, Hampton has amassed an almost unbelievable collection of tales, including how he survived the Khobar Towers bombing and countless other experiences "seeing the Elephant" as he engaged in close calls that forced him to acknowledge the probability of his demise. While military buffs and those who have endured combat will enjoy Hampton’s fast, unfiltered tales, civilian readers may have a more difficult time, as each chapter contains so much military jargon that a glossary of terms has been appended at the end of the book. Still, Hampton’s honest, audacious style makes for an entertaining read, and those instances where the author digresses, offering unfiltered opinions or a rare glimpse of life outside of the cockpit, are especially intriguing. (Oct.)
Colonel - JACKSEL BROUGHTON (USAF)
"Dan Hampton’s Viper Pilot truly impressed me—if you’re a combat vet, it’s sweaty palms again; if not, strap in and get ready. Filled with lots of action, here’s a real and up-close look at modern fighter combat, told straight from the cockpit."
Kirkus Reviews
A colorful memoir of a pilot who had a great deal of fun during his career, which included 726 career combat hours flown and service throughout the world, including Iraq during both wars. Hampton emphasizes that he performed a fighter pilot's most dangerous assignment--and it wasn't air-to-air combat, which is probably a dying profession. He was a Wild Weasel, a member of the group of first planes sent into a conflict whose mission it is to suppress surface-to-air missiles. Barely mentioning his personal life, the author delivers 300 pages of aviation fireworks and strong opinion--noncombatant airmen, politicians and most foreigners do not come off well--accompanied by a torrent of technical details and military acronyms that will mystify military buffs but not discourage them. Hampton is not shy about recounting brushes with death, many of which involved mechanical failure, bad weather or human error (occasionally his). Though the Iraqi air force struck fear into no one's heart, the author's accounts of fending off anti-aircraft missiles during the 2003 Iraq invasion provide the book's most dramatic combat experiences; however, none of the enemy missiles reached their targets. As a result, Hampton never describes a routine occurrence in memoirs of earlier wars: the deaths of comrades. A patriot and a warrior, the author expresses incomprehension that America's crushing victories over evil Saddam Hussein have brought so little satisfaction. The author concentrates on the fighting and does a fine job communicating the camaraderie, adolescent horseplay, conservative politics and hair-raising incidents of service in the elite macho fraternity of American fighter pilots.
Booklist (starred review)
“Offers a gripping cockpit view of modern air combat ... Hampton is a vivid writer and an unabashed warrior. ... An outstanding work.”
Booklist
"Offers a gripping cockpit view of modern air combat ... Hampton is a vivid writer and an unabashed warrior. ... An outstanding work."
New York Post
“Hampton’s one of the most decorated pilots in Air Force history. ... We may never see his like again.”
W.E.B. GRIFFIN & WILLIAM E. BUTTERWORTH IV
“A rare riveting memoir of a highly decorated fighter pilot that’s packed with grit, swagger, and great humor. Do not miss this one!”
ALEX KERSHAW
Viper Pilot is an awesome adrenaline rush. If you love action packed modern day war stories then strap yourself in and get ready for a gut-wrenching, g-force defying thrill ride!”
DALE BROWN
Viper Pilot is fantastic. Lt. Col. Dan Hampton offers a personal, irreverent, no-holds-barred look into the life of an Air Force fighter pilot. A great read!”
BRIGADIER GENERAL DAVID L. MOODY (Retired USAF)
Viper Pilot is an instant aviation classic. Dan Hampton’s thrilling portrayals of combat missions kept me glued to the story, and he has captured the essence of Wild Weasel fighter operations as no one has before.”
COLONEL JACKSEL BROUGHTON (USAF
“Dan Hampton’s Viper Pilot truly impressed me--if you’re a combat vet, it’s sweaty palms again; if not, strap in and get ready. Filled with lots of action, here’s a real and up-close look at modern fighter combat, told straight from the cockpit.”
Colonel - Jacksel Broughton (USAF)
"Dan Hampton’s Viper Pilot truly impressed me—if you’re a combat vet, it’s sweaty palms again; if not, strap in and get ready. Filled with lots of action, here’s a real and up-close look at modern fighter combat, told straight from the cockpit."
COLONEL Jacksel Broughton (USAF
“Dan Hampton’s Viper Pilot truly impressed me—if you’re a combat vet, it’s sweaty palms again; if not, strap in and get ready. Filled with lots of action, here’s a real and up-close look at modern fighter combat, told straight from the cockpit.”
Tyler Rogoway
“The best air combat memoir I have ever read... An incredible look into the unique culture of Wild Weasels.”
W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV
"A rare riveting memoir of a highly decorated fighter pilot that’s packed with grit, swagger, and great humor. Do not miss this one!"
Alex Kershaw
"Viper Pilot is an awesome adrenaline rush. If you love action packed modern day war stories then strap yourself in and get ready for a gut-wrenching, g-force defying thrill ride!"
Dale Brown
"Viper Pilot is fantastic. Lt. Col. Dan Hampton offers a personal, irreverent, no-holds-barred look into the life of an Air Force fighter pilot. A great read!"
David L. Moody
"Viper Pilot is an instant aviation classic. Dan Hampton’s thrilling portrayals of combat missions kept me glued to the story, and he has captured the essence of Wild Weasel fighter operations as no one has before."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062130358
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/02/2012
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are saying about this

W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV
“A rare riveting memoir of a highly decorated fighter pilot that’s packed with grit, swagger, and great humor. Do not miss this one!”
Alex Kershaw
Viper Pilot is an awesome adrenaline rush. If you love action packed modern day war stories then strap yourself in and get ready for a gut-wrenching, g-force defying thrill ride!”
David L. Moody
Viper Pilot is an instant aviation classic. Dan Hampton’s thrilling portrayals of combat missions kept me glued to the story, and he has captured the essence of Wild Weasel fighter operations as no one has before.”
Dale Brown
Viper Pilot is fantastic. Lt. Col. Dan Hampton offers a personal, irreverent, no-holds-barred look into the life of an Air Force fighter pilot. A great read!”
Jacksel Broughton
“Dan Hampton’s Viper Pilot truly impressed me—if you’re a combat vet, it’s sweaty palms again; if not, strap in and get ready. Filled with lots of action, here’s a real and up-close look at modern fighter combat, told straight from the cockpit.”

Meet the Author

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Dan Hampton flew 151 combat missions during his twenty years (1986–2006) in the United States Air Force. 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. He is a graduate of the USAF Fighter Weapons School, USN Top Gun School (TOGS), and USAF Special Operations School. A frequent guest analyst on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC discussing foreign affairs, military, aviation, and intelligence issues, he has published in Aviation History, the Journal of Electronic Defense, Air Force Magazine, Vietnam magazine, and Airpower magazine, and written several classified tactical works for the USAF Weapons Review. He is the author of the national bestsellers Viper Pilot and Lords of the Sky, as well as a novel, The Mercenary.

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Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was impressed with the story and with the author's literary skills in portraying the complexities of air combat in heavily defended areas. I was an Air Force fighter pilot, but a generation earlier. Like the author, I too "have seen the elephant" in Vietnam. (You'll have to read the book if you don't know what that phrase means.) Like all true fighter jocks, Lt Col Hampton has little use for staff weenies and ticket punchers looking for another promotion. He makes that crystal clear throughout the book. The author displays a sense of humor, albeit at times somewhat sarcastic and irreverant, that reminded me of John Corey, Nelson DeMille's fictional NY counter-terrorist detective. Actually, this made the book far more interesting and readable. The author did an excellent job of walking the fine line between telling a fascinating tale while necessarily preserving classified information on aircraft equipment, software and tactics. His point that UAV's, like the Predator and others, are unlikely to survive in a hostile air environment must be impressed upon the current Administration, which appears to be totally enamored with them. There will always be a need for strike fighters and weasels and especially for guys like Dan Hampton to help the troops on the ground. Sierra Hotel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book !! As former member of VA-215 attack squadron, it got to me in many places! Read it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I heard the author on radio and immediately bought the book. I wasn't disappointed. Great read and a true hero. We're lucky to have men like him defending us.
Sgt_Slaughter More than 1 year ago
An excellent book about a subject most folks will never experience, but that many fantasize about. Dan Hampton may come across to some of you as cocky, but consider this...if you really ARE that good and you KNOW it, is it cockiness, or just supreme confidence? I say it's confidence, and since I work with a lot of people who are supremely confident in life or death situations, I feel competent to judge him. This is a very interesting look at what it is like to be a modern day fighter pilot. I know a retired F-15 jock, and I can't wait to ask him about the characterization (I'm sure tongue-in-cheek in the same way Marines feel about Navy) of F-15 drivers. Please read all of Dan hampton's books, especially if you are, or ever were interested in fighter planes/pilots. He gives a particularly vivid representation of a fairly unknown fighter pilot role, that of the Wild Weasel. Basically, A Wild Weasel pilot is like a matador in a bull fight, except he is fighting surface to air missiles instead of bulls! Someone needs to make a movie about this guys life, because the stories int his book are that good. Top Gun had nothing on Dan Hampton's story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is hands down one of the best reads for military and aviation enthusiasts! Dan Hampton recounts his intense experiences as an F-16CJ "Wild Weasel" fighter pilot, ranging from his undergraduate pilot training (UPT) days to his near death encounters facing the "Elephant" in combat. I purchased this book two days ago and have not been able to put it down! I strongly recommend this book.
Crystaldeedee More than 1 year ago
Great read. Very well written and very exciting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A well written adventure with lots of personal thoughts and the nitty gritty details of flying a complex fighter. I marvel at the wondrous weapons systems built into the F 16 and Dan's ability to use them while under the stress of combat. It seems long ago that I did this same thing as an A6A Intruder pilot in Vietnam flying from the USS Enterprise, but somehow Dan Hampton put a lot more pizzazz into the experience than I did. The really big difference between Dan's experiences and mine is the tremendous weapons systems capabilities of the F16CJ over that of the A6A intruder. At night, my BN and I could not find targets nor could we hit them with our dumb bombs, caused mostly by the failures of our track radar, Inertial Navigator, analog spinning drum computer, and hundreds of wire bundles connecting everything together. But the SAMs and AAA tracers looked the same . I'll note that we also had our share of arrogant and incompetent civilian leaders, and senior officers whose leadership skills were limited to the use of the sword and dagger. Russell (CDR, USN, Ret)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read many books by pilots and enjkoyed most of them. Halliday, Rasimus, Marret to mame a few. However this book seemed like the auther was to busy telling us hoe great he was and how little everyone else was. He truly only sees the world through his eyes and don't forget we are all mere peons and he kniws best. I you truly enjoy these great books you might think twice before buying this one. Luckly i checked it out at the library and didn't easte money on it!
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sunsetrider More than 1 year ago
The author is a legend in his own mind. This is reflected by his inappropriate comments regarding other officers, other commands, and other services. He's an equal opportunity offender. He tells more than one appalling story (re his actions) and sadly, he boasts about an incident regarding disobeying an order and attempts to justify his actions. Most civilians would not understand the situation and probably laud his behavior, but so far, every person I have had to read this book has made uncomplimentary statements regarding the author's character, or lack thereof. This includes enlisted personnel, non-commissioned officers, warrant officers, and other commissioned officers of varying rank, all of whom "have seen the elephant". I am also a member of the Old Bold Pilots (there are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold, pilots...). However, the book does cover interesting technical and tactical updates over the author's service and these are written in an entertaining manner. So if you can get past the baloney this might be the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Y r u here?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book on a combat pilot's experiences. Fun read for Walter Mitty types.
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