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Viper Pilot: The Autobiography of One of America's Most Decorated Combat Pilots | [Dan Hampton]

Viper Pilot: The Autobiography of One of America's Most Decorated Combat Pilots

Sure to rank as one of the greatest aviation memoirs ever written, Viper Pilot is an Air Force legend's thrilling eyewitness account of modern air warfare. From 1986 to 2006, Lt. Col. Dan Hampton was a leading member of the Wild Weasels, the elite Air Force fighter squadrons whose mission is recognized as the most dangerous job in modern air combat. Weasels are the first planes sent into a war zone, flying deep behind enemy lines purposely seeking to draw fire from surface-to-air missiles and artillery. They must skillfully evade being shot down - and then return to destroy the threats, thereby making the skies safe for everyone else to follow.
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Publisher's Summary

151 combat missions

21 hard kills on surface-to-air-missile sites

Four Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor

One Purple Heart

Sure to rank as one of the greatest aviation memoirs ever written, Viper Pilot is an Air Force legend's thrilling eyewitness account of modern air warfare.

From 1986 to 2006, Lt. Col. Dan Hampton was a leading member of the Wild Weasels, the elite Air Force fighter squadrons whose mission is recognized as the most dangerous job in modern air combat. Weasels are the first planes sent into a war zone, flying deep behind enemy lines purposely seeking to draw fire from surface-to-air missiles and artillery. They must skillfully evade being shot down - and then return to destroy the threats, thereby making the skies safe for everyone else to follow. Today these vital missions are more hazardous than direct air-to-air engagement with enemy aircraft. Hampton's record number of strikes on high-value targets make him the most lethal F-16 Wild Weasel pilot in American history. This is his remarkable story.

Taught to fly at an early age by his father, Hampton logged twenty years and 608 combat hours in the world's most iconic fighter jet: the F-16 "Fighting Falcon", or "Viper" as its pilots call it. Hampton spearheaded the 2003 invasion of Iraq, leading the first flight of fighters over the border en route to strike Baghdad. In the war that followed, he engaged in a series of brilliantly executed missions that earned him three Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor; he notably saved a U.S. Marine unit from certain death by taking out the surrounding enemy forces near Nasiriyah. Two years earlier, on 9/11, Hampton's father was inside the Pentagon when it was attacked; with his dad's fate unknown, Hampton was scrambled into American skies and given the unprecedented orders to shoot down any unidentified aircraft. Hampton also flew critical missions in the first Gulf War, served on the Air Combat Command staff during the Kosovo War, and was injured in the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist attack.

With manned missions rapidly giving way to remote-controlled UAV drones, Viper Pilot may be the last memoir by a true hero of the skies. Gripping and irreverently humorous, it is an unforgettable look into the closed world of fighter pilots and modern air combat.

©2012 Ascalon, LLC (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers

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4.4 (346 )
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  •  
    NOKWISA Garland, Texas, United States 10-07-12
    NOKWISA Garland, Texas, United States 10-07-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fast and Furious"

    This is the type of Fast and Furious I can support. The Wild Weasles help the make life of ground forces a bit easier. Written in the first person, it draws you into the world of the fighter pilot. As I listened, my appreciation for this group of men grew and I was totally fascinated at what they are able in accomplish in mere seconds. I thought the narration was rock solid . So if fast paced books and first hand accounts are your thing, you will love this one!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Lexington Park, MD, United States 01-30-13
    James Lexington Park, MD, United States 01-30-13 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bubbleheads can write--who knew?!"
    Would you listen to Viper Pilot again? Why?

    After having read several reader reviews, I decided to give Viper Pilot a listen with some trepidation. I was pleasantly surprised. You have to accept Hampton's natural arrogance--he flew Lawn Darts and that's hardly a rare trait amongst that crowd. That said, he had an interesting career that anyone who flew fast jets can relate to. And if you just wish you'd had that privilege, you'll be left with a pretty good impression of what it's like to fly fighters in today's Air Force, both the good and the bad. If you like your books politically correct and giving the impression that everyone is wonderful--well, this is probably not going to be your cup of tea--but tell me if you get it so I can come watch your head explode! :-D


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Viper Pilot?

    The account of launching out on an FCF only to have his (single) engine crap out shortly after takeoff and bring it back around to a safe landing within a couple of minutes takes longer to read than it actually took. This gives you a real appreciation of the kind of skill and knowledge it takes to strap on a modern fighter.


    What does John Pruden bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    GREAT narration! Pruden actually nailed ALL the acronyms, something you don't often hear in audiobooks. Made the listen MUCH more enjoyable.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Please God, Tom Cruise isn't going to be in this, is he?


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    maxwell katoomba, Australia 11-06-12
    maxwell katoomba, Australia 11-06-12 Member Since 2015

    Middle aged; long University course (science based), and long service as a professional. Cynical and very interested in the real world.

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    "wonderful!"

    I was transfixed by the detail and honesty in this book. The flying stories were wonderful and hair raising at times. This man is a true master of his art and his story needs revisiting... and revisiting.... an aviation classic!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    aaron los angeles, CA, United States 10-26-12
    aaron los angeles, CA, United States 10-26-12 Member Since 2013

    Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "FINALLY A Pilot Tells it Like it is!!"

    The sheer brutal, cocky honesty that Hampton writes with is a breath of fresh air. I was expecting a murky, Pentagon-redacted, boring account of his adventures, but was I wrong! Hampton pretty much looks down on everyone that's not a fighter pilot, and yet this confident honesty sucks you right in. You see the world through his point of view, and you actually start "thinking like a fighter pilot".

    This no-holds-barred account of a lesser known side of the military is not only fascinating, but exciting as hell. The air combat scenes are spectacular. There aren't many books out there, where the ex-military author truly speaks his mind, without giving a crap what others think, but this is one of them. Deserves 5 stars just for the mere fact that he bucked the trend and didn't write some politically-correct fluff piece about the Air Force.

    Narrator is great.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Orem, UT, United States 10-29-12
    James Orem, UT, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good, Modern view from the air."
    If you could sum up Viper Pilot in three words, what would they be?

    I love the old WWII aircraft stories. Viper brings those stories into present time. I enjoyed the story and learning the differences between then and now. Some things are still the same, but not much.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don United States 10-16-12
    Don United States 10-16-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WOW!"

    This book kept me listening. The adrenaline filled battle engagements were described with incredible detail.

    John Pruden’s narration rode the wave of emotion that Dan Hampton described.

    I particularly appreciated the educational beginning that evolved into full blown combat.

    Thank you Dan Hampton for your book but mostly for your service.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DocJim Low Prices,Great Service - Please Keep it that way! 10-16-12
    DocJim Low Prices,Great Service - Please Keep it that way! 10-16-12 Member Since 2013

    Dr. Jim Fox -- Former College Professor and Mental Health Therapist

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Want to know what it is like to be a fighter jock?"

    This is a great book on what it is like. He tells the good and the bad. This is a short book and I unusually read Sci-Fi. But this was one of the most entertaining, honest and hard hitting books I have read (listen) to!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Waters Cedar Rapids, IA United States 07-24-15
    Tim Waters Cedar Rapids, IA United States 07-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Interesting stories - background and action"

    Very interesting story on the life of an elite combat pilot. Gives good background on the pilot training and good stories of war experiences. The reader does a very nice job with the text.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Billy f Allen Oklahoma City 04-27-15
    Billy f Allen Oklahoma City 04-27-15
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    "Viper pilot"

    Great book ! Hope everyone enjoys it as much as myself! And this is all I have to say about this!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trevor Perry Spokane, WA USA 04-22-15
    Trevor Perry Spokane, WA USA 04-22-15

    Trevor

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    "Amazing"

    Very well written book. Paints a vivid picture in your head very often. Narrator was perfectly selected for this book. Lots of energy, and sounds like a true pilot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • AdventMediator
    8/1/15
    Overall
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    Story
    "Thoroughly enjoyable"

    A great insight into these brave and extremely talented pilots and the missions they undertook

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M Burgin
    7/23/15
    Overall
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    "Gripping"

    A real pilot in a real world hell happily with talent and guts, fast paced

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Trevor
    6/22/15
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    "Wonderful story credit to his Nation"

    A truly great listen and insight into a world
    Few enter a less leave amazing .... Enough said

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • paul
    Grimsby, United Kingdom
    5/18/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Viper Pilot!"

    What an amazing & detail loaded account of a modern day fighter pilots world!
    I should top of any military reading for sure!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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