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ODYSSEY OF A PHOENIX

One Trip Too Many: A pilot's memoirs of 38 months in combat over Laos and Vietnam - Wayne A. Warner

"ONE TRIP TOO MANY" is a memoir that will appeal to both the thrill-seeker and fan of human interest stories. The author - who grew up in the U.S. Midwest during the 1940s and 1950s - shares with the reader his determination to become a pilot, which leads to him winning a competitive appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1959. He graduated from the Academy in June 1963 as a freshly minted Second Lieutenant, having earned his degree and a handshake from President Kennedy himself.

Later, following advanced flight training, Warner is sent to Vietnam, where he experiences combat from the earliest days of the American involvement in 1965. Warner proved to be a highly skilled pilot, adept at flying both multi-engined and single-engine aircraft. Indeed, Warner would return to Vietnam on 2 different combat tours. From late 1967 through the summer of 1968, he flew 121 combat missions in the sleek F-105 'Thunderchief' fighter-bomber, known affectionately as the 'Thud.' At least 16 of those missions entailed deep penetration raids into North Vietnam as far as Hanoi, braving anti-aircraft fire, radar guided SAMs (i.e. surface-to-air missiles), and enemy MiG jet fighters. These missions, designated Pack Six sorties, were extremely hazardous as losses to enemy action over North Vietnam tended to be extremely high.

Warner would go on to return to Southeast Asia in early 1969, after having trained to fly the A-1 Skyraider attack/search & rescue aircraft. Unfortunately, Warner would meet with tragedy in the Skyraider in March of that year.

There is much more to this inspiring and uplifting story, which I leave for the reader to discover.