Book #4 in The Air Combat Adventures of Hamilton “Hamfist” Hancock
The narrative is a vast memoir of everything that happened to the author during his tours of duty as a U.S. Air force pilot in Vietnam. Taken from actual events Mr. Nolly tells his story in his own words and has enhanced it somewhat to carries his readers along with him as if we were a co-pilot. If you like anything about flying fighters you certainly will devour this book.
1972, Hamfist is back in action and now flies an F-4 Phantom at the start of Operation Linebacker, the bombing offensive over Hanoi. The book contains a heavy load of information on how to fly an F-4 fighter and has a lot of acronyms to go along with the narrative (a glossary of terms is at the end of the book). The author does not mince his words in this meat and potatoes conduct of the air war in Vietnam. The Rules of Engagement put many restrictions and was terribly frustrating for the pilots. Flying over the most heavily defended area in the world, dodging Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) and dueling with enemy aircraft, the vaunted MiG-series fighters is what this book is all about. Hamfist was the last pilot to complete 100 missions over North Vietnam.
Mr. Nolly doesn’t have much respect for antiwar protesters, conscientious objectors, or for Jane Fonda, who gets a two-page rant in which she is called a traitor and compared to Tokyo Rose. I highly understand his point of view. At the time men had no choice, they were drafted into the war. The war dragged on and people ( parents, siblings, friends, wife and children) wanted their men back home…so they took to the streets…..I highly understood them also…..
Of course this book is not for everyone. I particularly liked the action, it is exciting and very well-done, I did feel being part in the daily activities of an ace pilot who flew airplanes in the Vietnam War.