Firefly: A Skyraider’s Story About America’s Secret War Over Laos
List Price: 20.00
Available: August 2013
Once everything is set up, I roll in. Control stick hard left into a sharp left turn and let the nose drop quickly but smoothly to 40° down. Down. My heart is pumping hard. I’m in a sharp dive. I have to do it right and fast. Line up the target in the sight. It’s getting bigger as I get closer to the ground. Airspeed is increasing! Quick! Right there! Pickle at 8,000 feet, only 2,000 feet from roll-in altitude. Not much time. NOW! Pull out! Pull hard, but don’t over G! All the remaining ordnance is trying to pull the airplane toward the ground. Smoothly pull to four Gs. Watch the artifi cial horizon. It’s the only visual reference I can count on. Pull! Get the nose up! Don’t go below 7,000 feet because rocks can be anywhere below seven. There’s level. Bring it on up. Twenty-fi ve degrees nose high. I have plenty of speed, so keep the nose up. Here comes 8,000 feet. Then 9,000. I can let the nose down a little now and look around to see if anyone is shooting. It is 1969 and Dick Diller is on his way to fl ying warplanes in the Vietnamconfl ict. He is commissioned to fl y A-1 Skyraiders in sometimes harrowingnigh ime missions over Laos—surviving not only the danger of the missionshe fl ew, but also the bureaucracy of the air force, from fi tness testing toadditional duties assigned, to a acking impossible-to-fi nd targets in thedead of night—with minimal fuel supplies.At once entertaining and riveting, as well as thought-provoking, Firefl y is thestory of one man’s journey in a world at war, and a day-to-day description ofthe fi ghting force that was fl ying A-1 Skyraiders in combat. Firefl y containsactual transcriptions of dialogue of pilots locating a target and making astrike in northern Laos.
Dick Diller was born and raised in Princeton, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in finance and received an officer’s commission in the United States Air Force through ROTC. He went to pilot training at Laughlin AFB, Texas, where he flew T-37s and T-38s and received an F-102 assignment upon graduation. That assignment changed to F-106s while in F-102 training. When the air force needed pilots for the Vietnam War, Diller was assigned to fly A-1 Skyraiders at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand, where he flew 203 missions,mostly at night, over Laos. After his air force service, Diller flew 29 years for Delta Air Lines, where he was a line check airman and served as captain representative to the Air Line Pilots Association for the Chicago based Delta pilots. He and his wife live in northern Illinois. They have three adult children, and five grandchildren.