Did you ever wonder…

what it's like to fly the great F-4 Phantom in combat? Or to rotate a C-130A Hercules to a vertical climb from takeoff? Or to dodge dozens of SAMs and thousands of rounds of AAA? Or what it's like to fly in a missing-man formation over the Super Bowl? Or how to consistently win an old-fashioned dog fight? Or just how good the F-15 Eagle really was… and still is?

The answer to these and other questions are contained in this collection of short stories, articles, letters, and a number of candid personal observations that reflect the twenty-six year career path of an Air Force pilot.

The stories herein run the gamut from aerial combat such as that shown on the book's cover, to human interest experiences as seen through the author's eyes. Indeed, a limited number of them are rife with slang, acronyms and technical detail that will only be fully appreciated by those in the fighter community. However, most of the chapters have universal appeal and in the end are a tribute to those officers, NCOs and airmen who believed that the mission of the United States Air Force was " to fly and fight"… and they didn't forget it.

Video Gallery

Video Gallery

  • History Channel: Dogfights - Colonel Phil Handley
  • 2011 Gathering of Eagles Induction
  • Witness to War Interview
  • Salute to Veterans

Within the U.S. Air Force fighter pilot community, the term "throw a nickel on the grass ..."

embodies an expression of mutual respect and good luck from one warrior to another. It stems from the refrain of an old Korean War barroom ballad… "Throw a nickel on the grass, save a fighter pilot's ass" and was later immortalized by an unknown author's closing words in his Tribute to the Fighter Pilot …

"So here's a nickel on the grass to you, my friend, and your spirit, enthusiasm, sacrifice and courage - but most of all to your friendship. Your's is a dying breed and when you are gone, the world will be a lesser place."

What that nickel is truly worth is described on these pages.