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Originally published in 1991, this classic work has now been revised and updated with additional photos. It is the story of how, in Vietnam, an elite group of Air Force pilots fought a secret air war in Cessna 0-2 and OV-10 Bronco prop planes—flying as low as they could get. The eyes and ears of the fast-moving jets who rained death and destruction down on enemy positions, the forward air controller made an art form out of an air strike—knowing the targets, knowing where friendly troops were, and reacting with split-second, life-and-death decisions as a battle unfolded.
The expertise of the low, slow FACs, as well as the hazard attendant to their role, made for a unique bird’s-eye perspective on how the entire war in Vietnam unfolded. For Tom Yarborough, who logged 1,500 hours of combat flying time, the risk was constant, intense, and electrifying. A member of the super-secret “Prairie Fire” unit, Yarborough became one of the most frequently shot-up pilots flying out of Da Nang—engaging in a series of dangerous secret missions in Laos. In this work, the reader flies in the cockpit alongside Yarborough in his adrenaline-pumping chronicle of heroism, danger, and wartime brotherhood. From the rescuing of downed pilots to taking out enemy positions, to the most harrowing extended missions directly overhead of the NVA, here is the dedication, courage and skill of the fliers who took the war into the enemy’s backyard.