War For the Hell of It: A Fighter Pilot's View of Vietnam

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Press:Berkley Publishing Group Berkley; Edition Unstated edition (May 3, 2005)
Author Name:Cobleigh, Ed


Fast Eddie Tells It Like It WasWhat's it like to fight an unwinnable war in the air? How hard is the F-4 Phantom to fly? How does Mach 2 feel? What do you do when the Bad Guys are shooting at you?  In this Amazon bestseller, Lt/Col Ed "Fast Eddie" Cobleigh shares his experiences in a deeply personal account of a fighter pilot's life, one filled with moral ambiguities and military absurdities offset by the absolute thrills of flying a fighter plane. 
 Using well-crafted prose to put you in the Phantom's cockpit, Cobleigh recounts the tragic loss of his wingman, life at his base in exotic Thailand, the need to trust his reflexes, eyesight, aggressiveness, and his survival instincts in the heat of combat.
This is a unique look into a combat fighter pilot's mind.  Nothing is held back.
It's all here, the highs and lows of 375 combat missions, the dangers of adrenaline addiction, and ultimately, the return.

From the Author

Inside the Mind of a Fighter Pilot Fighter pilots aren't known for their literary prowess and only a few, Richard S. 
Bach and James Salter come to mind, produce books beyond the "There I was..."  genre.
Fighter pilots are also unfazed by the prospect of failure, so, I launched two sorties into the rarefied air of books; War for the Hell of it, an account of all the fun I had losing the Vietnam War, and The Pilot, an aviation/adventure novel.
My qualifications for such writing missions?  I flew the F-104, F-4, A-4, Jaguar, and the F-16.
I was an instructor at the USAF Weapons school, the USN Top Gun school, the Royal Air Force Weapons Instructor school and I also flew with the French Air Force and the Imperial Iranian Air Force, including 375 combat missions.
It is a task best left to the reader to judge my literary ability, despite War forthe Hell of It achieving Amazon bestseller ranking.
In my writing, I try to put on the page what it's like to be a fighter pilot, not just what fighter pilots do in the air.

About the Author

Biography Ed Cobleigh, born in New Orleans and raised in Chattanooga, earned an engineering degree from Georgia Tech and a Masters in Management from USC. 
As a USAF fighter pilot, he flew the F-104, F-4, A-4, Jaguar, and F-16 aircraft.  He instructed and flew with the USAF FighterWeapons School, US Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun), the Royal Air Force Qualified Weapons Instructor Course (Jaguar), the French Air Force, and the Imperial Iranian Air Force.
He logged 375 combat missions over Vietnam, earning two Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Air Medal.
His first book, War for theHell of It: A Fighter Pilot's View of Vietnam, is an Amazon bestseller.


History,Military,United States,Veterans,Vietnam War,Aviation

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Comment List (Total:15)

  •     Without a doubt, the best war read I've encountered. No one has shared the cockpit like Cobleigh. Even when he wasn't flying, he was flying.
  •     The author writes with a flare uncommon to warriors penning their memoirs. He makes us taste the bile in his throat when he sees an orange plume light up the night on a dark mountain side and realizes it's not his wingman's bombs, but his wingman. "I see an earth wounded from 50,000 pounds of fighter jet. But as I watch from overhead, the gash is healed from below to scab off and close the wound. The peek into an incandescent world lying just below the sweating jungle fades with the dying fireball...the spirits of two human beings unwillingly torn from their physical bodies, but not willing to go quietly in the night." He writes in the first person/present tense. He brings to life the tiny details that most combat pilot memoir writers think are unimportant. Colbleigh knows how significant the taste of cheap whiskey is after a night over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, or the "sewer," as he calls it. "The booze does its job and I can no longer focus on tonight's failed mission. The images I am trying in vain to suppress become dominant and this conversation with myself turns into Lufberry circles in my head." (If you were not a fighter pilot, you will likely need to look up "Lufberry Circle" and only then can you appreciate what was happening in his head.) Most memoirs of this genre, written by pilots not accustomed to the pen or keyboard, are disjointed tales without proper links or transitions between segments, but Colbleigh keeps you turning the pages. Every thread is a part of a whole, and it's a whoile that isn't pretty. That war was just plain shitty, The down-side is the typos, too many. They were distracting. The text was not properly copy-edited. None-the-less, it's a great read.
  •     The hell with it!
  •     Very dry sense of humor had me in stitches. Incredibly human and self-aware author.Good perspective on the civilian answer senior AF leadership as well.
  •     I give it five stars. I enjoyed Fast Eddys indebt details of in cock pit flying. One of the best fighter jock books I ever read..
  •     Mr. Cobleigh puts one in the pilot's seat of a Phantom jet. His writing is superb. The reader feels his emotions, both fear and elation.
  •     Ed Cobleigh has written a memoir that reads like a novel. He has written about the war from a different perspective I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
  •     This book is just what anyone interested in this aspect of the air war in SEA has been waiting for. Ed Cobleighg has given us the insight into a world of jet combat, now almost...
  •     This is not your typical fighter pilot book. It is very thought provoking and philosophical. In this book there are many great action scenes but also there is a deep rationale on the war, the morality of it and why he is there. You get the impression that Ed is somehow detached from all of this even though he is an active participant. He never mentions his parents, this gives you a feeling that he is all alone in this world. I really got this impression at the end when he came home to San Francisco and went to the USO, just anything to be back in an environment that made sense. For me personally this was something I could really identify with. At first one gets the impression that this book is a collection of war short stories but then you soon discover that it is linear in nature and has a definite course. I have read many, many books on the subject of fighter aircraft and I have served in the military myself, what makes this book great is that you get an insight into his head. Kudos for not making this story another drunken, whoring bigger than life false bravado. Instead you really feel like you are there with Ed, nay you are Ed. Just a wonderful book and I will definitely by other books from him. Thank you Ed Cobleigh.
  •     A friend of mine from USAF pilot training who flew A-7's recommended this book to me. I flew F-4's from 1973 to 1978, with most of that time being served in Thailand and the...
  •     The book is a story about war and the stories that make the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I am a veteran of the same war but not as a pilot.
  •     This is the best war memoir I have ever read. Cobleigh is a good writer who had fascinating experiences during two combat tours as a USAF F4 pilot during the Vietnam war. It was particularly interesting to me because I was a RIO in F4s for the USN (the "GIB" for Cobleigh) during the same period. But you do not have to have that link to enjoy this book. Anyone who enjoys reading war memoirs, military flight memoirs, military memoirs, or just plain interesting memoirs well-written will enjoy this book. I highly recommend it.
  •     The author has written a great book that should be read by jet pilot enthusiasts and he tells it like it is. The author tells his story about what its like to be strapped into a modern day fighter and then go out in the night to do his duty. I thought that the most important part of his story was where having completed his bombing mission, he chose to mid-air refuel , instead of landing his aircraft. It was Christmas eve and he chose to fly , with his backseater, around the skies of Thailand at night, with no words spoken between them. Armed only with his thoughts inside that canopy, he was at home in his environment. He conveyed that feeling that comes only from many hours of combat and finding yourself totally in sync with it. He deserves high praise and I highly recommend this book.
  •     Flying fighters is the best job in the world until they start shooting at you - but the beauty of flying a fighter is that you get to shoot back. War for the Hell of It takes one into the cockpit of the F-4 during actual Viet Nam war missions- the good, the bad and the ugly. Ed Cobleigh does a remarkable job describing the head-swiveling non-stop cockpit activity going on while swirling over a target at night, having the fangs out looking for MIGs, or seeing the flash on the ground when a wingman is lost for good. He also walks you through what it's like while flying Mach 2 up high and simply pulling back on the stick to see how high she’ll go..... This book is unique because the reader is exposed to the emotions coursing through a pilot while putting bombs on target (or not). You sense the jubilation of "shacking the target," the butterflies from wondering if the bombs hit a target at all, or the gut-wrenching emptiness of calling your wingman on the radio... knowing full well he'll never respond. And walking back into the squadron knowing you've done your best and questioning if those appointed over you are doing theirs. War for the Hell of It - a fascinating “reality check” of the fighter pilot experience in the Viet Nam War.
  •     Beginning of this book it promise me stories in the cockpit of a jet fighter. What really transpired is stories of just a few sorties and a lot of stories out of the jet fighter.

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