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Publisher's Summary

David R. “Buff” Honodel was a cocky young man with an inflated self-image when he arrived in 1969 at his base in Udorn, Thailand. His war was not in Vietnam; it was a secret one in the skies of a neighboring country almost unknown in America, attacking the Ho Chi Minh Trail that fed soldiers and supplies from North Vietnam into the South. Stateside he learned the art of flying the F-4, but in combat, the bomb-loaded fighter handled differently, targets shot back, and people suffered. Inert training ordnance was replaced by lethal weapons. In the air, a routine day mission turned into an unexpected duel with a deadly adversary. Complacency during a long night mission escorting a gunship almost led to death. A best friend died just before New Year’s. A RF-4 crashed into the base late in Buff’s tour of duty.

The listener will experience Buff’s war from the cockpit of a supersonic F-4D Phantom II, doing 5-G pullouts after dropping six 500-pound bombs on trucks hidden beneath triple jungle canopy. These were well defended by a skillful, elusive, determined enemy firing back with 37 mm anti-aircraft fire and tracers in the sky. The man who left the States was a naíve, self-centered, young pilot. The man who came back 137 missions later was much different.

The book is published by University of North Texas Press.

“Will be the standard against which other memoirs are measured - Honodel is one hell of a good pilot and a great storyteller.” (Earl H. Tilford, author of Crosswinds: The Air Force in Vietnam)

©2018 David Honodel (P)2019 Redwood Audiobooks

What listeners say about The Phantom Vietnam War (An F-4 Pilot's Combat Over Laos)

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An excellent book

Interesting story with good insights. Author is very honest.
This book deserves more stars than it has.

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awesome insight

nicely detailed description of f4 operations and good explanation of the emotions involved. Much respect.

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good story minus blood and guts

The author relates a compelling story of his war service without going over the top or being self-congratulatory. The narration was decent except for the oddly obvious over-dub of some words or phrases about every five minutes, some of which sounded like they were delivered by Marvin the Martian from Looney Tunes. Overall a good "read".

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  • Justin M.
  • 09-13-20

Truly memorable

I like Vietnam air war stories but this is about Laos. Much of the detail of the sorties is similar to Vietnam except this story is about a war the US Government, at the time, said did not exist. That give the story a bit of an edge.
The book is one man’s story and told in a wonderfully personal way. The combat mission descriptions are detailed whilst perfectly understandable for a non flyer. Humour is artfully woven into the stories but one is always aware of the frightful risks these pilots took.
The narrator is an older man’s voice which fits perfectly as the perspective of the story is of a retired fighter pilot telling his own story of his experiences as a young man.
Really recommend this audiobook.