The Hunter Killers LP: 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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9780062392947: The Hunter Killers LP: 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Using first-hand accounts, declassified documents from both sides of the conflict, and featuring unpublished photographs, The Hunter Killers takes readers into the skies, and up close to the bloody duels that left half the Weasels dead or captured.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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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.

About 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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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. large type edition. 214 x 149 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. From New York Times bestselling author Dan Hampton comes one of the most extraordinary untold stories of aviation historyVietnam, 1965: On July 24 a USAF F-4 Phantom jet was suddenly blown from the sky by a revolutionary 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 Phantoms. More tragic losses followed, 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 find a solution to 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 deadliest anti-aircraft threat in history. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062392947

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. large type edition. 214 x 149 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. From New York Times bestselling author Dan Hampton comes one of the most extraordinary untold stories of aviation historyVietnam, 1965: On July 24 a USAF F-4 Phantom jet was suddenly blown from the sky by a revolutionary 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 Phantoms. More tragic losses followed, 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 find a solution to 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 deadliest anti-aircraft threat in history. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062392947

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