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United States Air Force in Vietnam

United States Air Force in Vietnam Book Review

By Rachel E. Veres

Date of Review February 2013 Title United States Air Force in Vietnam
Author Lou Drendel & Norm Taylor Publisher Ginter Books
Published 2013 ISBN 9780989258302
Format 160 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $39.95


Authors Lou Drendel and Norm Taylor regale readers with United States Air Force in Vietnam from Ginter Books – a photographic historyof USAF aircraft and missions over North Vietnam.

Taylor dedicates the first nearly two-thirds to fighters, focusing primarily on F-105 Wild Weasels and F-4 Phantom IIs – lovingly christened "Double Ugly" by its pilots.  Other aircraft from bombers to forward air controllers (FACs) dominate the remaining third.

The authors couple their historical text to first-hand, often nail-biting accounts from the heroic aviators serving during Vietnam.

For example, retired Lt Col Dick Jonas recounts a late afternoon F-4 mission to Tchepone as the lead GIB (Guy in Back).  As his Phantom II begins its slide, North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap bombards them with AAA.  "'I had never seen an angry bullet so close in my life!  And there were thousands of them.  Big as golf balls.  And glowing in ugly flame color.  Over the wings, under the wings, and past the canopy'," Jonas recalls.  FACs BDA (bomb damage assessment) concluded Giap fired 4,000 AAA rounds – and missed every time!

Artwork by Lou Drendel and 363 – including 100 previously unpublished – historical photographs augment this exceptional account.

Only one very minor criticism: I wish the authors included a brief acronym glossary.  Military novices would greatly benefit.

Nitpick aside, wholeheartedly recommended.

With thanks to Ginter Books!