The best books written by pilots who experienced combat during the Vietnam War

Richard E. Diller Author Of Firefly: A Skyraider's Story About America's Secret War Over Laos
By Richard E. Diller

The Books I Picked & Why

When Thunder Rolled: An F-105 Pilot Over North Vietnam

By Ed Rasimus

When Thunder Rolled: An F-105 Pilot Over North Vietnam

Why this book?

Rasimus was an F-105 pilot who flew 100 missions over North Vietnam early in the war when things were really hot. He tells of the courage it took to fly into such a dangerous environment and of some of the pilots who did it.


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Cheating Death: Combat Air Rescues in Vietnam and Laos

By George J. Marrett

Cheating Death: Combat Air Rescues in Vietnam and Laos

Why this book?

George Marrett was in my squadron the year prior to me and we tell of some of the same people. Cheating Death is about search and rescue. Same airplane, different mission. A-1s were taildragger airplanes with a 2,700 horsepower engine, could carry 10,000 pounds of external ordinance, and had two 20mm guns in each wing. It was low and slow compared to a jet and could stay over a survivor for a long time until a rescue was made. The author tells of several exciting rescues of pilots who were shot down deep in enemy territory and explains how it was done.


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The Rescue of Streetcar 304

By Kenny Wayne Fields

The Rescue of Streetcar 304

Why this book?

This is an exciting book by Kenny Fields, a navy pilot who was shot down on his first mission. He came down near a North Vietnamese division in southern Laos and was on the ground for about 50 hours before he was rescued. The story is told from the perspective of the survivor. The NVA and Viet Cong troops had recently participated in the siege of Khe Sanh, and were back in the (for them) sanctuary of Laos.


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Surviving Hell: A POW's Journey

By Leo Thorsness

Surviving Hell: A POW's Journey

Why this book?

This book is about a pilot who was shot down over NVN and how he survived almost seven years of mistreatment as a POW. Thorsness received a Medal of Honor. The POWs were nearly starved to death, were tortured and not allowed to talk to each other.


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Rescue Pilot: Life-Saving At-Sea Navy Helicopter Missions

By Dan McKinnon

Rescue Pilot: Life-Saving At-Sea Navy Helicopter Missions

Why this book?

Dan McKinnon was a navy helicopter pilot who was airborne near an aircraft carrier during flight operations so pilots who had mishaps could be quickly and safely recovered. This is a story about an unusual type of flying, one that provides another layer of safety for naval operations at sea.


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