Award Winning Finalist in the 'Non-Fiction: Narrative' category of the 2013 International Book Awards" Winner Best First Book Award 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards U.S. Air Force Pararescue is the most skillful and capable rescue force in the world, taking on some of the most dangerous rescue missions imaginable. PJs (short for para-jumpers), are members of an elite unit whose commando skills are so wide-reaching they often seem like something out of science fiction. They routinely tackle perilous operations that are beyond the capabilities of other rescue organizations, and sometimes dare the seemingly impossible. Since their inception in 1947, PJs have saved more than thirty thousand lives. They can pluck near-frozen climbers off jagged mountaintops as well as recover shot-down jet pilots stranded deep in hostile territory. In the dead of night, the PJs parachute into ominous black waves that loom twenty feet tall to save distressed seamen, and brave the cruelest and most desolate deserts to recover victims. U.S. Air Force pararescuemen have played a prominent role in every armed conflict since the Korean War, rescuing thousands of soldiers from behind enemy lines. Guardian Angel provides a rare glimpse at a PJ’s mind-blowing adventures. You follow Sgt. Sine’s trek across exotic lands and share his encounters with mysterious cultures. Learn what it takes to lower from a helicopter onto the slippery decks of storm-tossed ships to rescue dying sailors. Feel what it’s like to be caught in the middle of a bomb blast so powerful that it tears high-rise buildings in half, and flattens armored vehicles hundreds of yards away. Soar high above towering jungle trees and experience the danger of swinging on a slim cable below a helicopter while performing a mid-air rescue of a pilot, dangling from his chute a hundred feet above a mountain slope. Go to war in Afghanistan and parachute onto a nocturnal battlefield surrounded by land mines to help a mortally wounded soldier. This is a deadly serious business: when things go wrong, they can go terribly wrong. Aircraft crash into mountainsides, killing all onboard, while some PJs live through horrendous helicopter crashes only to struggle with freezing temperatures, snapped limbs and torn flesh in a desperate fight for survival. This book presents true stories of uncommon courage told from the perspective of the actual men in the arena. PJ’s belong to an exclusive brotherhood and forge unbreakable bonds of loyalty, commitment, and sacrifice. They do these things for their country, to protect their brothers in arms, and to honor their motto: “That Others May Live.”
This book, originally written in 1931 by “Vigilant” (the pen name for Claude Sykes), tells the dramatic tales of air combat as fought by the best German pilots of the First World War. Manfred von Richthofen, Max Immelmann, Oswald Boelcke and other famous daredevil flyers are joined by the lesser-known but equally resourceful colleagues such as Rudolph von Eschwege and Hand Shuz, taking part in furious battles in the sky and close escapes on the ground when brought down on the wrong side of the lines. German War Birds contains some of the earliest information to appear after the war about air combat in the Middle East and Russia, as well as the Western Front, and about the significance of observation balloons as targets that were viciously attacked. The author focuses on the heart of the action and recreates the experiences of the airborne war with immediacy, excitement and a vivid turn of phrase, drawing the reader into events as they happen.
The record of Carrier Air Group 15 in World War II is astonishing by any measure: it scored 312 enemy aircraft destroyed, 33 probably destroyed, and 65 damaged in aerial combat, plus 348 destroyed, 161 probably destroyed, and 129 damaged in ground attacks. Twenty-six Fighting 15 pilots became aces, including their leader, Commander David McCampbell, who became the U.S. Navy’s “Ace of Aces.” Twenty-one squadron pilots were killed in action and one in an operational accident aboard the carrier Essex. The fighter squadron’s partners, Bombing Squadron 15 and Torpedo Squadron 15, scored 174,300 tons of enemy shipping, including 37 cargo vessels sunk, 10 probably sunk, and 39 damaged. As well, Musashi, the world’s largest battleship, was sunk, along with a light aircraft carrier, a destroyer, destroyer escort, two minesweepers and other craft―plus the Zuikaku, the last surviving carrier that participated in the Pearl Harbor attack. Incredibly, every pilot of Torpedo 15 was awarded the Navy Cross, the highest award for bravery after the Medal of Honor. All of this took place between May and November, 1944. No other American combat unit in any service came close to a similar score in such a short time period. Air Group 15 participated in the two greatest naval battles in history, the Philippine Sea―also known as the Marianas Turkey Shoot―and Leyte Gulf, which saw the end of Japanese naval power. On June 19, 1944, Fighting 15 shot down 68.5 attacking Japanese aircraft, a one-day record unmatched by any other U.S. fighter squadron. In documenting the saga of Air Group 15’s momentous six months at war, the author provides an intimate and insightful view of the group’s fabled combat tour, including details of daily life and human interactions aboard the fleet carrier USS Essex during the busiest phase of the Pacific War.
This work describes U.S. Marine Corps helicopter operations, including their actions and evolution, throughout the Vietnam War. The book is divided into parts spanning the three stages of the Corps’ combat deployment: “Buildup (1962–1966),” “Heavy Combat (1967–1969),” and “The Bitter End (1975).” Each part includes chapters devoted to “telling the story” of Marine helicopters from the individual to the strategic level. Vietnam has often been called our “first helicopter war,” and indeed the U.S. Marine Corps, as well as Army, had to feel its way forward during the initial combats. But by 1967 the combat was raging across South Vietnam, with confrontational battles against the NVA, on a scale comparable to the great campaigns of WWII. In 1968, when the Communists launched their mammoth counteroffensive, the Marines were forced to fight on all sides, with the helicopter giving them the additional dimension that proved decisive in repelling the enemy. The author, a Vietnam veteran, uses his experiences as a company commander to bring the story to life by weaving personal accounts, after-action reports and official documents into a remarkably readable narrative of service and sacrifice by Marine pilots and crewmen. The entire story of the war is here depicted through the prism of Marine helicopter operations, from the first deployments to support the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) against the Viet Cong through the rapid United States buildup to stop the North Vietnamese Army, until the final withdrawal from our Embassy. Colonel Dick Camp, a Purple Heart recipient, served 26 years in the U.S. Marine Corps before retiring in 1988. Upon retirement he served as the Deputy Director, U.S. Marine Corps History Division and as the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, Vice President for Museum Operations at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Quantico, Virginia. Currently residing in Fredericksburg, Virginia, he is the author of ten books and over 100 magazine articles on various military related subjects.
Reviews of Vanished Hero: The Life, War and Mysterious Disappearance of America’s WWII Strafing King. Vanished Hero: The Life, War and Mysterious Disappearance of America’s WWII Strafing King (9781612003955): Jay A. Stout: Books. Buy online at Aviation Bookstore.
A hell-bent-for-leather fighter pilot, Elwyn G. Righetti remains one of the most unknown, yet compelling, colorful and controversial commanders of World War II. Vanished Hero tells the story of this remarkable man and the air war that he and his comrades fought, while examining his possible fate. Arriving late to the war, he led the England-based 55th Fighter Group against the Nazis during the closing months of the fight with a no-holds-barred aggressiveness that transformed the group from a middling organization into a headline-grabbing team that had to make excuses to no one. Indeed, Righetti’s boldness paid off as he quickly achieved ace status and additionally scored more strafing victories―27―than any other Eighth Air Force pilot. However, success came at a high cost in men and machines. Some of Righetti’s pilots resented him as a Johnny-come-lately intent on winning a sack of medals at their expense. But most lauded their spirited new commander and his sledgehammer audacity. Indeed, he made his men most famous for “loco busting,” as they put more than six hundred enemy locomotives out of commission―170 in just two days! Ultimately, Righetti’s calculated recklessness ran full speed into the odds. His aircraft was hit while strafing an enemy airfield only four days before the 55th flew its last mission. Almost farcically aggressive to the end, he coaxed his crippled fighter through one more firing pass before making a successful crash landing. Immediately, he radioed his men that he was fine and asked that they reassure his family. Righetti was never heard from again.