Along for the Ride

Navigating Through the Cold War, Vietnam, Laos & More

Henry Zeybel

Air Force veteran and novelist Hank Zeybel takes us along for the ride in this memoir of his sorties in Vietnam and beyond.
Date Published :
October 2021
Publisher :
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781636240381
Pages : 288
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Air Force veteran and novelist Hank Zeybel takes us along for the ride in this memoir of his sorties in Vietnam and beyond.

During Hank Zeybel's first tour in Vietnam he flew 772 C130 sorties as a navigator. He volunteered for a second tour, requesting assignment to B26s so he could "shoot back." When B26s were removed from the inventory, he accepted a Spectre gunship crew slot, flying truck-busting missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He describes the terror of flying through heavy AA fire over the trail, and the heroics of the pilots in bringing their crews through.

Away from the war he recalls leave back in the US, his elderly father bewildered by his war-hardened attitude and black sense of humor. Contextualizing his time with Spectre gunships, he compares his experiences with those of other airmen, like Phil Combies and Robin Olds, and his broader Air Force career—he joined upon graduating university in 1955 and his first operational assignment was as a B47 Stratojet navigator-bomber at Strategic Air Command—trained to drop thermonuclear bombs with precision. From 1957 to 1963, he logged over two thousand hours as a radar-bombardier in B47 Stratojets and B52 C-models. In this memoir of Vietnam, his Air Force career, and his second career as a journalist and writer, Zeybel's admiration of the skill and bravery of pilots—many of whom who he depended on for his very survival—shines through his descriptions of combat missions and being "along for the ride."

About The Author

Henry Zeybel was born in Pittsburgh. He went to Penn State, graduating from there in 1955 and then he joined the Air Force. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1976. He has written three novels—Spectre, Gunship of Death, The First Ace and Wings of Fire—and dozens of magazine articles.


"Zeybel deftly weaves his life story into the narrative, flashing back and forth to events from his childhood in the 1940s..."

- The VVA Veteran

[Zeybel's] honest depiction of the various and shifting attitudes and perspectives that constitute universal human experience of life and aging are one of the most compelling aspects of his work and create a sense of honesty that compels reading in a way missing from other memoirs."

- Campaigning: The Journal of the Joint Forces Staff College

Henry Zeybel has been an Air Force officer, a journalist, a novelist, a teacher and finally a memoirist. This is the book everything else was leading to. Zeybel's was a dramatic, touching, irreverent and often funny ride. And now he takes us along with him. Great stuff!

- H. W. Brands, author of "The General vs. the President"

"...a well-crafted narrative of both his Air Force career and his varied post-service roles as a journalist, educator and novelist. The author has much of value to offer, a story of courage and insights gained that he has earned the right to tell in his authentic and sometime comic way."

- Dan Guenther, Combat Vietnam Veteran and former Captain, USMC, author of 'China Wind'

"This book is for those who enjoy adrenaline rushes, have been in combat or like to be thrilled. Hank also summarizes an unforgettable tour of the integral importance of the United States’ strategic triad of ICBMs, SLBMs and B-52 Bomber Wing procedures right down to a thermonuclear device’s arming techniques. You can visualize it in your mind."

- Grady T. Birdsong, USMC Vietnam 1968-1969, award-winning Author, "To the Sound of the Guns" and "Echoes of Our War"

"Zeybel acquaints you with the systems and knowledge of the hardware of war and weaves it into the narrative in a tight writing style. Bravo, a first rate read and an excellent answer to the question that we all had when Spectre was on station, providing support, that of what was their war like? Leaves you wanting more."

- Nick Brokhausen, author of "We Few", "Whispers in the Tall Grass" and "Vagabonds"

"Hank Zeybel more than lives up to the title of this powerful memoir as he, indeed, takes the reader along for many rides with him inside B-52 and B-47 long-range bombers and C-130 Spectre Gunships during his eventful U.S. Air Force career as a radar-bombardier. The riveting depictions of what it was like in the belly of the Gunships dodging SAM missiles over the Ho Chi Minh Trail are among the most evocative in the Vietnam War military literary canon. A must-read for anyone interested in the American air war in Vietnam."

- Marc Leepson, Arts Editor and columnist, "The VVA Veteran" magazine, and editor of the "Webster's New World Dictionary of the Vietnam War"

"A simply riveting, impressively informative, and exceptionally well written life story of an active American air force combatant..."

- Midwest Book Review

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