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The Viper Story, Part I F-16s of the Air National Guard

The Viper Story, Part I F-16s of the Air National Guard Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2007 Title The Viper Story, Part I F-16s of the Air National Guard
Author Jake Melampy Publisher Reid Air Publications
Published 2007 ISBN 978-0-9795064-0-6
Format 248 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $42.95


The F-16 has been in service with the USAF since the late 1970s as the multirole fighter to compliment the F-15 Eagle. As numbers of the type swelled into Air Force fighter wings around the world, and as the Air Force continued to downsize and put more emphasis on ready reserves and the Air National Guard, the F-16 soon found its way into Guard units replacing a wide range of aging airframes with a first-class dogfighter.

While the active duty Air Force has been slow to 'colorize' their Vipers, not so the Air National Guard. While initial 'color' schemes were still subdued grays, more and more unique design patterns started to emerge on these F-16s as the heritage of these proud units were being properly expressed on their aircraft. With the end of the 'cold war', more color started to emerge and today we have far more variety on Viper flightlines around US. Nevermind that none of these aircraft can hold a candle to the Belgians and their colorful Vipers, the Americans are getting more colorful (finally).

Nevermind all of the flowery review language. I received a copy of this title from Afterburner Decals and was instantly in love. In fact, I've had my nose in this book for several weeks and nearly forgot to review the bloody thing! The title breaks its coverage down by Air National Guard unit and there is a brief description of each unit, but your eye is instantly drawn to the photography. This is bar-none THE BEST photo journal of the F-16 ever published and I wish coverage of other subjects were this well populated with magnificent photography. These aren't historical archive shots either, these are contemporary photos taken by the author and a number of contributors, including from the Guard units themselves.

If you only buy one F-16 photo reference book, this is the one to get! Okay, you'll want the Part II as well, as coverage on that volume covers active duty Vipers.

Definitely recommended!!!

My sincere thanks to Afterburner Decals for this review sample!