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Viper Pilot Audiobook

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

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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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  •  
    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?


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    maxwell 11-06-12
    maxwell 11-06-12 Member Since 2015

    maxwell

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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!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NOKWISA Garland, Texas, United States 10-07-12
    NOKWISA Garland, Texas, United States 10-07-12 Member Since 2013
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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
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 05-23-16
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 05-23-16 Member Since 2016

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "Want more about "2Dogs""

    This is a great memoir. Lt. Col. Hampton writes with the suspense and drama of a fiction writer. The opening of the book has Hampton nearly out of gas, low on ammo and a sandstorm building; he is trying to help some marines being overrun on the ground. Then out of ammo and nearly bingo on fuel he heads for a tanker but cannot find it in the haze from the storm. Then Hampton leaves us hanging and tells the story of his military life and how he got to this point in the Iraqi war. At the end of the book he finally completes the opening story.

    I learned about the role of the Wild Weasel Fighters. Hampton tells the history of the Weasels and the various planes modified for use hunting SAMs (surface to air missiles) over the years up to his last plane, the F-16 Fighting Falcon also called Viper. Col. Hampton also gave an overview of the modern Air Force, descriptions of the various schools he attended from pilot school to the prestigious Fighter Weapons School as well as a general overview of the Air Force.

    The book is very well written. Hampton’s method of writing has the reader sitting in the cockpit with him. The reader can see, hear, feel and smell everything Hampton does. Hampton comes across as a typical macho fighter pilot, cocky, arrogant, irreverent and invincible. Hampton is one of the most decorated fighter pilots in the Air Force and that only adds to the story. Hampton writes great combat scenes. I agree with Hampton that there should be an ACE category for destroying SAMs, as more pilots are downed by SAMs than by other planes. John Pruden does a good job narrating the book.

    4 of 4 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 2016

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

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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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don United States 10-16-12
    Don United States 10-16-12 Member Since 2012
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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.

    3 of 3 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

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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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 02-16-14
    James 02-16-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Riveting -edge of your seat story"

    I almost didn't pick this one because there were some mixed reviews. I'm sure glad I did as this was one of the better first-person accounts I've read. The author writes with such incredible detail that you feel as though you are in the cockpit next to him.

    IMO this book serves a a lesson to today's generals as well. First- we succeeded in the gulf wars because we had trained to fight a super power (Russia). Also, in an era where many rear echelon generals are in charge of the military, and claiming that robot plains will replace fighter pilots and ground troops - we must never forget that wars will always be won through a combination of combat pilots AND infantry working towards a common objective.

    The book was informative and entertaining and I'm certainly glad I selected it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Orem, UT, United States 10-29-12
    James Orem, UT, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2015
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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
  •  
    Amy 09-13-16
    Amy 09-13-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great at 1.5 to 2.0 speed"

    You just can't listen to a dog fight play by play at normal speed. 2.0 seemed the max speed & "understandably" while listening, 1.7 was my average. A fantastic series of stories to enjoy while rocking the baby to sleep.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Bobbyinrhyl
    UK
    8/27/16
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    Performance
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    "Real good read"

    At last I can get an early nights sleep. This is a real, Just 5 more minutes book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jennifer Berry
    UK
    5/20/16
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    "Gripping"

    Puts you in the cockpit, exciting stuff

    Glad I'm English and not French, he doesn't like the French ha ha ha

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • AdventMediator
    8/1/15
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    "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
  • Birmingham WI
    7/23/15
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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
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    "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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