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When Thunder Rolled: An F-105 Pilot over North Vietnam

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Book Overview

More than 300 F-105 Thunderchief figher-bombers were lost in the Rolling Thunder campaign in North Vietnam because the Air Force brought the wrong strategy, disastrous tactics, and an ill-suited... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Each chapter could be a book by itself

After I read this book, I wrote a letter to the author recommending he expand his last chapter into another book. As it turns out, Mr Rasimus and I were at the same base at the same time, although I don't think we ever met. At the time, before the Air Force got ECM pods, F-105 losses were staggering. Sometimes several per day were shot down. At one point the odds of surviving a single mission to the Hanoi area were at best 1 in 4. That means that for every flight of four planes that went into the area, AT LEAST one would be shot down. Sometimes all four were lost, but when you took off in your flight of four, you KNEW that one of you wasn't coming back.Mr. Rasimus does an outstanding job of describing the political climate and the matter of fact way that he and his fellow pilots went about doing a dangerous job with unsuitable equipment under ridiculous rules of engagement (e.g., you must never attack a SAM site unless it attacks you first). Every morning my alarm clock was the boom of the afterburners of the morning strike taking off. We flew against the same targets every day at the same time from the same direction. I don't know where our biggest enemies were: in North Vietnam, in Moscow, or in the Washington DC mission planning groups.Anway, this is a great book and a welcome addition to the collection of knowledge of how wars should and should not be fought. I know that writing accurate history is difficult, tedious and fraught with emotion, but I sincerely hope the author accepts my suggestion to add to our sum of knowledge from his first-hand perspective.

THE authoritative book on driving the lead sled in 'Nam

Jack Broughton's "Thud Ridge" and Basel's "Pak Six" used to be THE books on flying the Thud in 'Nam, but they'll have to move over for "When Thunder Rolled".Rasimus, our truly 'reluctant' hero, paints a vivid and comprehensive account of 100 missions over North Vietnam and Laos, bringing the humid Southeast Asian air to life with SAMS, high caliber AAA and the occasional MiG appearance.I really give the author a LOT of credit for putting to paper his fear and apprehension, making it a theme for the first third of the book. It took a lot of guts to admit he was not only scared, but actually "looking for a way out" of flying combat, even well into his first experiences.

The Real Thing

I believe that I have read every F-105 related book ever printed. Of all the books I have read I always liked 'Thud Ridge' by Jack Broughton best...until now. While I still put Broughton right at the top of my list, and certainly at the top of my list of heroes along with Leo Thorsness, Ed Rasimus has written the definitive F-105 pilot memoir with 'When Thunder Rolled'. I loved it from beginning to end; I only wish it had been longer. His recollections rang true as a scared young man who flew fighters in the beginning to a mature veteran fighter pilot at the end. I understood him better than I have other authors as I can totally understand the overwhelming fears of going to war compounded by being the new guy recently qualified a very intimidating machine flying into the worst conditions ever known. Ed, if you read this: thanks for my new favorite Thud book and thanks for your service under the most trying conditions I can imagine. For everyone else: go buy this book NOW! You will not be disappointed!

Couldn't Put This Down.

As a person lucky enough to have benefited from the wisdom of Ed Rasimus over the years I was very anxious to get "more of the story" about Raz and his Vietnam experience. Ed's frank assessment of everything from the political absurdities to the failures of the personnel system reinforce the frustrations our military endured during the Vietnam conflict. On the other hand, particularly for those that have flown and fought, the storytelling is riveting. I laughed, grimaced, and at times found myself misty-eyed with his recounts. This is an awesome book written by a true and tested warrior. I've recommended it to all of my friends.

the best combat memoir I've ever read

This is the best combat memoir I've ever read--any nation, any war, any service. "Raz" sweeps the reader along, from his terror-plagued flight to the war in the coach seat of a 707 jetliner, to the still-terrifying but now-routine flights over North Vietnam in a Republic F-105 Thunderchief. These were missions so perilous that by some measures a pilot had a 50/50 chance of not completing his tour. Raz doesn't blink at any of it--not his own fear, not the bone-headed rules of engagement--and in the end he goes back for another tour. Why? He loved it. I especially liked the dustcover photo: Raz is a more handsome man now than he was at 23, and his "bulletproof" mustache is fuzzier. This is a wonderful book. Buy it. You won't be sorry. -- Dan Ford
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