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Viper Pilot: The Autobiography of One of America's Most Decorated Combat Pilots

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Dan Hampton

Narrated By: John Pruden

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Date: October 2012

Duration: 9 hours 55 minutes


151 combat missions
21 hard kills on surface-to-air-missile sites
4 Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor
1 Purple Heart

Sure to rank as one of the greatest aviation memoirs ever written, Viper Pilot is an Air Force legend's thrilling eyewitness account of modern air warfare

From 1986 to 2006, Lt. Col. Dan Hampton was a leading member of the Wild Weasels, the elite Air Force fighter squadrons whose mission is recognized as the most dangerous job in modern air combat. Weasels are the first planes sent into a war zone, flying deep behind enemy lines purposely seeking to draw fire from surface-to-air missiles and artillery. They must skillfully evade being shot down-and then return to destroy the threats, thereby making the skies safe for everyone else to follow. Today these vital missions are more hazardous than direct air-to-air engagement with enemy aircraft. Hampton's record number of strikes on high-value targets make him the most lethal F-16 Wild Weasel pilot in American history. This is his remarkable story.

Taught to fly at an early age by his father, Hampton logged twenty years and 608 combat hours in the world's most iconic fighter jet: the F-16 "Fighting Falcon," or "Viper" as its pilots call it. Hampton spearheaded the 2003 invasion of Iraq, leading the first flight of fighters over the border en route to strike Baghdad. In the war that followed, he engaged in a series of brilliantly executed missions that earned him three Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor; he notably saved a U.S. Marine unit from certain death by taking out the surrounding enemy forces near Nasiriyah. Two years earlier, on 9/11, Hampton's father was inside the Pentagon when it was attacked; with his dad's fate unknown, Hampton was scrambled into American skies and given the unprecedented orders to shoot down any unidentified aircraft. Hampton also flew critical missions in the first Gulf War, served on the Air Combat Command staff during the Kosovo War, and was injured in the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist attack.

With manned missions rapidly giving way to remote-controlled UAV drones, Viper Pilot may be the last memoir by a true hero of the skies. Gripping and irreverently humorous, it is an unforgettable look into the closed world of fighter pilots and modern air combat.


  • Jennifer H.

    Great book very detailed in Combat part. Well narrated.

  • Lee W


  • John M

    excellent storyline but narrator didn't put much enthusiasm into the story

  • Timothy McDonough

    Our nation and our individual citizens own an indescribable debt to our fighting pilots. They put everything on the line every time they suit up and hurtle done the runway; why? Because they love our country with a passion to be admired by all. I salute them and thank God for their dedication.

  • Robert Oshrin

    You would think this would be an exciting story I compare it to watching a turtle walk down the road No excitement just boring info on types of planes and zero action

  • Michele Kimbrough

    Great story. If you are not military or have military experience, Dan Hampton did a fine job of helping you understand the military jargon yet keeping the story very interesting.