Close Calls

Close Calls

and Other Neat Stories

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Author: Vito Tomasino
Publisher: GD Publishing
Length: 232 page(s)
Language: English
Written: Mar 2019
Verkaufsrang: - XinXii Verkaufsrang
Views: 40

Category: Biographies & Memoirs » Memoirs  |  Work: Sonstiges
Keywords: Vietnam, Korea, war, flying, marine, fighter-pilot, Kracek

A ROUTINE DEPLOYMENT TURNED INTO THE MOST PERILOUS CONFRONTATION OF THE COLD WAR

WHEN WE TOOK OFF FROM CANNON AFB, NM, WE HAD NO IDEA
THAT A ROUTINE DEPLOYMENT TO FLORIDA WOULD TURN INTO THE MOST PERILOUS CONFRONTATION OF THE COLD WAR.

Close Calls and Other Neat Stories is a series of vignettes recalling some of the tense situations I faced over a military career spanning twenty-five years, three wars and a revolution. Three of those years were as a “mud marine,” twenty-two as a U.S. Air Force “fighter jock.” Both jobs exposed me to situations that could have just as easily gone badly as not. That I am still here to write about them may be due more to my good fortune than
my skills as a ground or air warrior.
I have also written two other books, Kracek, a novel set in the Vietnam War, and Sabre, a narrative poem with pictures that transports the reader into the cockpit of a jet fighter aircraft
An old pilot once said: “There are old fighter pilots, and bold fighter pilots, but there are no old, bold fighter pilots.” Another, perhaps wiser aviator, told me he’d rather be lucky than smart.
Guess, I’m just lucky.

Three bomb-laden F-100’s lifted off the runway of Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam. Their assigned target was an enemy arms cache located one hundred and thirty miles north of Saigon. Minutes before they could get there, orders from the 7th Air Force redirected them to a U.S. Army convoy that had been ambushed by the Vietcong and were in imminent danger of being overrun.
When they arrived, the sun was slipping behind the mountains, leaving them over an unplanned target that was quickly going dark, with no flare ship to light it up, and no qualified Forward Air Controller. There was, however, an Army Artillery Officer on scene flying a spotter aircraft who knew a target when he saw one. “Bulldog, this is Falcon, flight of three F-100’s carrying bombs, rockets, and 20mm. What have you got for us?”
“Copy that, Falcon, glad you could join the party. We were on a resupply mission to Plei Mei when the Vietcong hit us just as we were passing through a sharp bend in the road. They split the convoy in half, making it all but impossible for our guys to establish an effective defense…one of the slickest ambushes I’ve ever seen, I’ll give them that. But we’re out-gunned and on the verge of being overrun. It’s also getting dark and we have no flare ship. What’s more, I’m not a qualified FAC. I don’t even have smoke rockets to mark the goddamned targets. Do you still want to do this?”
“Are you kidding? This is what we live for.”

“Vito encapsulates the pilot/aircraft synergy the F-100 inspired in its select aircrews better than any documentary I have ever read. He graduated at the top of his cadet class to earn a slot in jet fighters. In Vietnam, his performance marked him as a gifted aviator and iconic combat leader.”—F. Gregory Neubeck, a fellow Fighter Pilot

“I have edited and published many of Vito’s articles in The Intake, Journal of the Super Sabre Society. Our current Editor, John Schulz, has said: ‘Vito’s skill and talent is to tell his stories in such a way that every reader is along for the ride…’ I could not agree more.”—R. Medley Gatewood, Publisher

“We completed two years of intensive flight training on the road to becoming fighter pilots in the USAF and forged a lifetime friendship. A U.S. Marine before his Air Force life, Vito is the guy I would want in that foxhole with me, or on my wing. He’s not too bad with words either.”—James E. Craig, Col. USAF


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About the Author

Vito Tomasino | Author on XinXii.com

Member since: Mar 2019
Publications on XinXii:  1
Vito Tomasino was just a boy when the bombs rained down on Pearl Harbor pulling America into WWII. As he watched the grim images of war flash before him in a darkened theater in Bellmore, L.I., he silently vowed to be in the next one. When his high school friends questioned his decision to join the Marines and go to Korea, he replied: “I don’t want anyone else doing my dying for me.”
He arrived in Korea only weeks before the truce was signed—time enough to get “shot at and missed,” he would say. His war over, he then pursued a boyhood dream of becoming a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, flew two combat tours in Vietnam, and earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses. When he wasn’t getting shot at he stood nuclear alert on bases surrounding the old Soviet Union—a sobering reminder to the Kremlin of U.S. power.
When Muammar Gaddafi brought down the Senusi regime of King Idris, he was there, training the fighter pilots of the Libyan Air Force; one of whom was killed on a night mission over Tripoli. In a special ceremony honoring his fallen friend, the Libyan Commander insisted that Vito lead the "Missing Man Formation,” or it would not be flown. It is one of the many intriguing tales in his new book, Close Calls and Other Neat Stories.
Indeed, it was from a life lived during one the most tumultuous periods in recent times that inspired the author to chronicle his participation in those events while they were still fresh in his mind. Vito started his writing career rather late in life and has written three books, each in a different genre. Yet, each of them ring with the same authenticity… the same truth that could only come from a man who “walked” in that history.
www.kracek.com
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