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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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  •  
    NOKWISA Garland, Texas, United States 10-07-12
    NOKWISA Garland, Texas, United States 10-07-12 Member Since 2009
    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
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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 2010

    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 2008

    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.

    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 2008
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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
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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 2011

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve 11-08-14
    Steve 11-08-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Arogant"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who share the authors contempt for teamwork.


    What could Dan Hampton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Grow up and realize that you are part of a team.


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

    Great narration.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    Dan Hampton displays the worst qualities of a single seat fighter jock who's had nothing but sunshine blown up his ass since he went to pilot school. His accomplishments speak for themselves. It's really too bad that his ego can't allow himself to feel good about those accomplishments without denigrating every other individual in the room. To be certain American military history is full of mismanagement by rear echelon bureaucrats but this guy holds everyone else in the room who didn't ride the tax payer funded steed into battle in contempt.

    I've spent my entire life surrounded by aviators of all sorts from both my own as well as my dads generation and it's a rare individual indeed that displays Mr Hamptons arrogance regardless of their personal accomplishments.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ioane_77 Reno, NV, United States 08-02-14
    ioane_77 Reno, NV, United States 08-02-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Amazing!"
    What did you love best about Viper Pilot?

    Being in the Air National Guard myself, yet not a flyer, I appreciated the great attention to detail and depth of experience this man has had, faithfully serving our country. His experiences and almost surreal placement in key Air Force battles was shocking to me. To read about history and then hear someone's account of actually having been there...


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There were several that would qualify. It was overall an amazing memoir.


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

    "Air Warrior".


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martha Humphreys Montana, USA 04-28-14
    Martha Humphreys Montana, USA 04-28-14 Member Since 2009

    coachwrite

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Jet Jocks United!"

    I bought this one for my husband and I to listen to on a road trip---it did not disappoint me, and my husband (retired Naval Aviator, R & D pilot with 2 combat cruises to VN) smiled a lot during the listen---and I'm not sure if his expression was in recognition, admiration, or disbelief. For exciting descriptions of the aviator's experience as well as a look into the recent desert wars, this account works very well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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