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A topic devoted to the best selling books from Ross and Perry Publishing.

Sierra Hotel

By C. Anderegg
Sierra Hotel Book Cover

On November 2, 1969, an F–4D from the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) ripped along at high speed and low altitude above a dirt road through northern Laos. The big fighter essed back and forth across the track so the two-man crew could look for targets to strike North Vietnamese supplies earmarked for use against U.S. forces and their allies. The jet's weaving flight path also made it more difficult for antiaircraft gunners to track the green, black, and tan camouflaged Phantom II. Suddenly, a single .50 caliber bullet smashed through the canopy quarter-panel and struck the back-seater in the chest. Only two years out of college, 1st Lt. Richard Lance Honey bled to death in the time it took his pilot to race at supersonic speed to the nearest air base. Four decades have seen bitter debate among Americans about the morality of the war in Vietnam. Yet, to a fighter pilot, the answer to the question of why Rick Honey was in Southeast Asia was an easy one: his nation called. Others have written the story of why America asked to be there, but this is a chronicle of fighter pilots, not politicians. The fighter pilot wonders why Honey was in such a vulnerable position where a golden BB could snuff out his life. "What were they doing right?" he might think, and "What were they doing wrong?". . . . The F–4D Phantom II, which Honey and his front-seater flew, was, like its older sisters, the F-100 and F-105, a child of the nuclear age. Such fighters were designed either to drop nuclear weapons or to defend against Soviet nuclear bombers attacking North America and Western Europe. . . . Like the high-speed F–105, the F–4 was also a product of the nuclear age, but unlike the bomb–carrying "Thud," the F–4 was designed by the U.S. navy (USN) to defend its fleets against Soviet nuclear bombers. In order to do that the FĐ4 had to be able to fly very fast at high altitudes to attack bombers before they could get to the fleet. It also needed a powerful radar to see the bombers before they could get to the fleet.

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