By Paul T. Gillcrist
Told in anecdotal form, Vulture's Row tells a fascinating story about an important period covering nearly one half of the entire history of U.S. naval aviation. "Vulture's Row" is an area dubbed by naval flyers, on the island structure of an aircraft carrier where pilots who aren't flying can overlook carrier launchings and recoveries on the deck below.
This new book by acclaimed author Paul Gillcrist is a series of true stories about the U.S. Navy carrier aviation from the perspective of a Navy pilot who spent thirty-three years directly involved in that exciting profession. The book begins with a series of vignettes in the period of the mid-1950s when the U.S. Navy introduced swept wing, jet-powered fighters into the aircraft carrier navy, flying from straight-deck carriers whose flight decks were made of teak wood.
The thread of stories follows the author's career in chronological sequence, in various venues throughout the Navy. There are accounts from his first carrier deployment to the western Pacific, followed by events as a weapons delivery instructor at the predecessor to TOPGUN in El Centro, California. Some of his experiences as a Navy pilot are recorded in a section about Patuxent River, Maryland, the Navy's test center. Additional episodes include an unforgettable wing-walking flight. flying Japanese Zeros in the movie TORA!TORA!TORA! and the author's subsequent tour of duty in Pentagon conducting proficiency flights from our nation's capital.
There are also accounts of combat missions over Vietnam and the author's experiences in both wing commander jobs, flying the F-4 Phantom II and the F-14 Tomcat. The last story is about his two flights, as a fifty-two year old Admiral, in the controversial F-20 Tigershark. These vignettes combine humor, hair-raising excitement and tragedy.
Rear Admiral Paul T. Gillcrist, a U.S. Navy fighter pilot, served also as a test pilot and weapons delivery instructor, and actively flew from sixteen aircraft carriers for over twenty-seven years. The author writes with authority as a former fighter squadron commanding officer who recorded 167 combat missions over Vietnam flying the F-8 Crusader. Subsequently, he commanded a carrier air wing and finally served, the rank of Rear Admiral, as the wing commander for all pacific Fleet fighter squadrons. His pilot's logbook includes over 6,000 hours, in seventy-one different types of aircraft from 1952 to 1981. He retired in 1985 as Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations(air Warfare). He is also the author of TOMCAT!The Grumman F-14 Story, and CRUSADER! Last of the Gunfighters(both titles are available from Schiffer Publishing Ltd.).
Size: 6.0in x 9.0in | Pages: 256