Phantom Letters by Gary K. Thrasher

Gary K. Thrasher flew F-4’s for the U.S. Air Force’s 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron, from 1966-68, as a 25-year-old Lieutenant. He tells his story in Phantom Letters: A War Story, A Love Story (Longdon St. Press, 314 pp., $14.95, paper) effectively in alternating chapters of letters home to his wife and chapters of recollections of his missions.

Thrasher does a great job of communicating the pain of being separated from his wife and son and also held this reader’s interest when he related the blood-and-guts details of his flying missions and the considerable risks of flying the F-4 over North Vietnam. There are also memories related of the high-jinks the flyers indulged in between missions to let off steam.

This book is as close as I need to get to being behind the gunsight of a fighter. Well-written, well-told memoir with great photographs.

For more info, go to the author’s website.

—David Willson