A gripping chronicle of the band of maverick aviators who signed on for the suicidal, dangerous top-secret "Wild Weasel" missions during the Vietnam War--which used controversial and revolutionary tactics to combat Soviet missile technology--from New York Times bestselling author Dan Hampton.
On July 24, 1965, Soviet advisors to North Vietnam launched an SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM), blowing an American F-4 Phantom out of the sky--the first of several kills using this menacing system. To counter this new weaponry, stunned Pentagon officials created a classified program--"Wild Weasel I"--pairing experimental equipment with a highly select group of electronic warfare officers and fighter pilots to combat this deadly threat. The men who did this became the "Hunter Killers"-- and it is time to know their names.
Fifty years later, Dan Hampton provides a cockpit view of this highly classified military program that was a radical departure from conventional fighter jet tactics--and carried with it a fifty-percent casualty rate. Yet despite the odds, these courageous, daring, and skilled warriors risked their lives to fight the SAMs and save their brother aviators.
Using first-hand accounts, declassified documents from both sides of the conflict, and featuring unpublished photographs, The Hunter Killers takes readers into the skies, and up close to the bloody duels that left half the Weasels dead or captured. At its center are the men who risked everything to fight the most dangerous anti-aircraft weapons the world had seen. Hampton brings them into focus, exploring their lives and personalities, and the characteristics--a combination of ego, bravery, heroism, and duty--that motivated them. He also looks at their legacy, which continues to influence the military today.