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John T. Halliday

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Lieutenant Colonel John T. Halliday, USAF (ret.) “is a retired Boeing 767 captain for American Airlines. He served in the military for twenty-six years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. A decorated war hero, he logged more than 800 hours of combat time in Southeast Asia and the Gulf War.”  Lieutenant Colonel John T. Halliday is the author of Flying through Midnight.

Amazon.com said of Flying Through Midnight, “When John Halliday arrived at Thailand's Nakhon Phanom Air Base in 1970, he thought the next year would bore him out of his skull. He believed his mission in the Vietnam War would be to fly cargo around Thailand. What could be easier? A couple of nights later, Halliday found himself dodging dozens of anti-aircraft shells in an aging cargo plane over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Flying Through Midnight is his riveting account of his top-secret black-ops assignment--one of the most dangerous of the war.

 

Halliday flew slow propeller-driven relics at night deep into guerrilla territory in the "unofficial" war in Laos. His task with the 606th Special Operations Squadron was to help pinpoint guerrilla truck convoys for U.S. planes to bomb. Meanwhile, President Richard Nixon denied U.S. forces were fighting in Laos. Halliday wasn't even supposed to tell his wife what he was doing. His mail and phone calls were monitored, and soon he went from being a jittery FNG ("f---ing new guy") to a decorated war hero who logged 800 combat flight hours in Vietnam and the Gulf War. He was awarded the Air Force's Distinguished Flying Cross for one particularly amazing feat of bravery--a nighttime crash-landing on an unlit airstrip amid soaring mountains, which saved his crew. Flying Through Midnight does a remarkable job bringing to life Halliday's dramatic combat experiences, the foibles of his superiors, the brutalities of war, and the colorful quirks of his fellow flyboys, including his roommate whose favorite hobby was reading canned-food labels. There's not much here about the deeper rationale of the Vietnam War, but it's a gripping read. (Alex Roslin)”


Flying Through Midnight: A Pilot's Dramatic Story of His Secret Missions Over Laos During the Vietnam War
John T. Halliday  More Info

Publisher’s Weekly said of Flying through Midnight, “When now-retired lieutenant colonel Halliday reported for duty as a 24-year-old air force officer with the 606th Special Operations Squadron at a U.S.A.F. base in Thailand in 1970, he thought he'd be hauling cargo to Thai air bases. But as the first-time author recounts in this gripping memoir, he was ordered to fly a C-123 on top-secret nighttime combat missions instead. Assigned to an operation nicknamed "Candlesticks" for the flares the pilots dropped to illuminate enemy targets, Halliday played his role in this hush-hush part of the Vietnam War by bombing along the Laotian part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. With snappy prose, machine-gun-fast dialogue and techno-pilot speak, he recreates his forays with immediacy. The heart of the book is Halliday's blow-by-blow chronicle of the amazing midnight crash landing he made on an unlit airstrip in treacherous mountainous territory in Long Tien—no-man's-land in northern Laos. There, he and his crew were greeted by initially suspicious U.S. forces and commanding general "Bang-Pow" of the Royal Laotian Army. This dramatic, firsthand war story from a veteran who earned an Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions barrels toward the heroic climax with novelistic momentum.”

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