military books by servicemembers.










Richard H. Graham

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Colonel Richard H. Graham, USAF (ret.) “was a command pilot with more than 4,600 military flying hours.   His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 18 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award wtih "V" device and one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Combat Readiness Medal with one oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four service stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.” (


Colonel Richard H. Graham is the author of Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: In the Cockpit on a Secret Operational Mission; SR-71 Revealed: The Inside Story; and, SR-71 Blackbird: Stories, Tales and Legends.


According to the book description of SR-71 Revealed: The Inside Story, “Put your pressure suit on and strap yourself in for a Mach 3 ride! Former SR-71 Wing Commander Rich Graham tells the amazing inside story of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Graham provides a detailed look at the entire SR-71 story beginning with his application to be an SR pilot through commanding an entire wing.”


One reader of Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: In the Cockpit on a Secret Operational Mission, “This is a great book! It's exactly what the title says it is -- a pilot's inside the cockpit explanation of flying the SR-71, in expansive detail. The author is perfectly qualified for the task as a former SR-71 pilot, instructor pilot, chief stan/eval and commander of the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron. There are 80 pages of original SR-71 checklists, there are detailed cockpit pictures, and there is explanation of every switch you'd see in a complete mission. Make no mistake, this is not a pretty picture book, this is for true pilot nerds who want to do what is now impossible -- climb inside the Blackbird and take it flying at Mach 3.2 and FL 780.


The foreword correctly states the book, "provides the missing link among the many Blackbird volumes that have been written over the past quarter century. While many nuts-and-bolts references have been written covering the aircraft's development, flight test, and operational history in minute detail, none, until now, have addressed the subject of flying the mission from the perspective of the pilot." It includes illuminating discussions about abnormal and emergency procedures, as well as some sidebars with tales of specific flights. It also includes a few pages of color pictures. The SR-71 was a stunning thrill-ride, and also a hugely complex techno-social system. Graham has written a quality tribute to the airplane and the thousands of people that made the system work."


One reader of SR-71 Blackbird: Stories, Tales and Legends said, “Colonel Graham has put together unique memories of 19 former pilots and RSOs for the 3 Blackbirds, (A-12, YF-12 & SR-71) in chronological order from the first A-12 ejection through the retirement of the SR-71, (both times). Most of the chapters deal with the SR-71 at it's two deployment detachments, Det 1 at Kadena AB, Okinawa and Det 4 at RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom.


These are fabulously interesting insights into the lives and times of the best men in the US Air Force who were chosen to fly the best plane in the US Air Force, the titanium wonder-bird, SR-71. It doesn't provide much in the way of facts, figures, drawings and detailed photographs, but that was not the intent of this book. It is one of the most interesting books I have ever read. All profits from the book go the J.T. Vida memorial fund to help maintain SR-71 # 17972 at the Smithsonian Museum at the Dulles Air Port west of Washington, DC. Lt Col Vida spent 16 years as an RSO and amassed nearly 1400 hours in the SR-71, the most of any crew member. He was the RSO for 972 on it's record breaking flight from LA to DC in March of 1990.”

Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: In the Cockpit on a Secret Operational Mission
Richard H. Graham  More Info

SR-71 Revealed: The Inside Story
Richard H. Graham  More Info

SR-71 Blackbird: Stories, Tales and Legends
Rich Graham  More Info

According to the book description of Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: In the Cockpit on a Secret Operational Mission, “For anyone who has ever wondered what its like to fly the SR-71 on a secret Mach 3 reconnaissance mission, this book has the answer. Flying the SR-71 Blackbird takes readers along on an operational mission that only a few Air Force pilots have ever experienced. The Lockheed SR-71, unofficially known as the Blackbird, was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed by Lockheed Skunk Works. The aircraft flew so fast and high that not one was ever shot down, even by a missile. SR-71 pilot and instructor Colonel Richard Graham offers a rare cockpit perspective on how regular Air Force pilots and navigators transformed themselves into SR-71 Blackbird crews, turning their unique aviation talents to account in an unprecedented way. Arguably the worlds foremost expert on piloting the Blackbird, Graham details, as no one else could, what an SR-71 mission entails, from donning a pressure suit to returning to base.” said of SR-71 Blackbird: Stories, Tales and Legends, “For a quarter-century, Lockheed's Mach 3 SR-71A Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft dominated the skies as no other. The men that flew the 55-ton "Habu" (so dubbed by Okinawans near one of its bases because of its resemblance to a local deadly black snake) at 80,000 feet and 33 miles per minute were the rarest of fraternities, and author and former 9th Recon Wing commander Richard Graham provides a score of them--as well as key ground personnel--a generous forum for their self-penned recollections here. Where Graham's first book, SR-71 Revealed: The Inside Story, dealt more with the Blackbird's remarkable hardware and history, this volume details the human dimensions of the SR-71 program, from its dangerous days of development and testing through decades of intelligence-gathering operations in the world's hot spots, to its final, bittersweet confrontation with the one foe it couldn't elude: self-serving Pentagon politics. Inspired by flying a plane that often seemed to have a mind of its own--and a sometimes malicious one at that--the anecdotes here are seasoned with a compelling mix of boyish humor, sheer terror, and enviable camaraderie."


According to the book description of SR-71 Blackbird: Stories, Tales and Legends, “Feel the Mach 3 power generated by Lockheed’s incredibly fast SR-71 Blackbird! Former SR-71 pilot, instructor and wing commander, Richard Graham, presents the most intriguing SR-71 stories ever told. This once highly classified program is fully revealed through the words of pilots, commanders, mechanics, and instructors involved in the Blackbirds creation and flight-testing. From grueling reconnaissance missions to the Persian Gulf conflict, this insightful book tells stories of bravery and daring determination.”

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