As the name implies SR-71 Blackbird "Stories, Tales and Legends" includes many events that previously were discussed only in "Habu" circles or at Reunions. It is a collection of individual stories from pilots, RSO's and others associated with the "Program". I found their recollections fascinating reading as you progress from the first Blackbird bailout (Col. Ken Collins, CIA) to the final demise of the Blackbirds in the halls of the Pentagon (Col. Gene Quist). Here also you will find references to Jerk, Twit and Rabbit in the Pentagon. The book will tell you what the two greatest lies in the U.S. Air Force are and I have to agree with Col. Graham on that. MSgt Steve Koran walks you through a preflight. "Z"man tells you what it was like to reactivate the Blackbirds in 1994 well under budget and then have the Air Force not allow operational sorties to be flown even though funding had been appropriated. Lt. Col Gil Bertelson relates the top speed of the SR-71 at the "O" Club in Lakenheath, UK (Inquiring minds want to know). You will also be treated to the recollections of SR-71 pilot Ed Yeilding who aptly describes the final flight of #972 to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., after setting four world records with J.T. Vida as his RSO. I think this book pulls out the stops and lets each person "Tell their Story", aptly and truthfully. For sure it gives the reader new insights into the inner circle of "Habu" activities throughout the Cold War and into retirement. Proceeds from the sale of the book go into trust for a memorial to J.T. Vida, deceased (High time crewmember). I highly recommend Colonel Graham's new book. If you want the real story, here it is and of course there is Tales and Legends for your enjoyment......I can't wait for Volume Two!
Leland Haynes, Webmaster, SR-71 Blackbirds
SR-71 Blackbird "Stories, Tales and Legends"
Book Review by Colonel Tom Pugh
Tom Pugh is an SR-71 Blackbird Pilot and past Commander of the 9th SRW at Beale AFB in California
Your new book arrived and was immediately read and digested. Extremely well done, especially your side bars and editorial comment. It presented a wide range of emotions captured by some key players in the Blackbird program. The spectrum travels through happy, courageous, proud, disappointing, sad, and ultimately, disgusting. The accounts of Geno, Curt and Z'man evoke the latter. The very best chronicle of the program, aircraft, and people yet compiled. Sincere congratulations to you on a superb job.
Standing by for Volume II.
Amazon.Com Rated this book:
For a quarter-century, Lockheed's Mach 3 SR-71A Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft dominated the skies as no other. The men that flew the 55-ton "Habu" (so dubbed by Okinawans near one of its bases because of its resemblance to a local deadly black snake) at 80,000 feet and 33 miles per minute were the rarest of fraternities, and author and former 9th Recon Wing commander Richard Graham provides a score of them--as well as key ground personnel--a generous forum for their self-penned recollections here. Where Graham's first book, SR-71 Revealed: The Inside Story, dealt more with the Blackbird's remarkable hardware and history, this volume details the human dimensions of the SR-71 program, from its dangerous days of development and testing through decades of intelligence-gathering operations in the world's hot spots, to its final, bittersweet confrontation with the one foe it couldn't elude: self-serving Pentagon politics. Inspired by flying a plane that often seemed to have a mind of its own--and a sometimes malicious one at that--the anecdotes here are seasoned with a compelling mix of boyish humor, sheer terror, and enviable camaraderie. As Graham's fellow SR-71 pilot and author Brian Shul once noted, more people have stood atop Mt. Everest than have flown what remains the world's fastest, highest-flying jet.
here to order from Amazon.Com
To Order contact: Motorbooks International at: 1-800-826-6600
Autographed Copies Contact: Richard Graham: HABU5@verizon.net
Book Photos and Data is copyrighted and provided by the Author, Richard H. Graham, Col., USAF (Ret)
Written permission granted for use on this web site
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