Lieutenant Colonel Scanlan retired
from the Marine Corps in 2003 with approximately 3000 hours in the back seat of tactical, fighter-attack aircraft, specifically
the F-4S Phantom II, and the F-18D Hornet. Then he commenced a second career as a writer and currently
resides on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.” Lieutenant Colonel John M. Scanlan is the author of Speed
Is Life, More Is Better and Dink-Gadink.
According to the book description of Speed Is Life, More Is Better,
“Bama - the testosterone - is the best pilot in a Marine Corps F-18D squadron. He desires nothing more in life than
to shoot down a Russian Mig, and then become an instructor at “Top Gun”. However, he constantly confronts Buick
- the alcohol. As the best back-seater in the squadron, he disagrees with Bama’s methods. Although
depicting the squadron as it enforces a NATO no-fly zone imposed over Bosnia in the mid 90’s, Speed is Life, More is
Better is timeless. It explores how men “cope”, and could just as easily have taken place in Vietnam as Iraq.
Speed is Life, More is Better is a modern day Catch 22, simultaneously possessing the excitement and drama of Top Gun.
Speed is Life, More is Better begins
on a Monday, with an unknown narrator reminiscing about his former F-18D squadron. On Tuesday and Wednesday, from a humorous
perspective, the narrator entwines Bama’s quest with the depression, loneliness, danger, depravity, boredom, and frustration
experienced by the likes of fellow aviators Ghost, Pope, Dago, Joisey, Hick Boy, Spine Ripper, Butt Munch, Hollywood, Shitscreen,
and others. Thursday explodes with five tragic and unforeseen events within the squadron, all of which complicate Friday’s
deadly offensive air operations. Speed is Life, More is Better ends years later with a “where are
they now?” epilogue, where a pensive and reflective narrator reveals his identity.”
One reader of Speed Is
Life, More Is Better said, “This book shows you a week in the life of a fictional Marine air fighting
squadron. The author is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He also has extensive air combat experience in the "Top
Gun" school and also had time in Operation Desert Storm. The flying squadron that is portrayed in this book is enforcing
a no-fly zone over Bosnia. This novel show how crew members deal with being members of the squadron. On Monday an unnamed
narrator reminisces about his former F-18D squadron. Tuesday and Wednesday shows the emotions felt by the crew members. The
crew members are Ghost, Pope, Dago, Joisey, Hick Boy, Spine Ripper, Butt Munch, Hollywood and other members. Thursday has
five very tragic events which causes complications for offensive air operations on Friday. The book ends with a where are
they now epilogue. This was a well written book on the history of this air squadron.”
One reader of Speed Is Life, More Is Better said, it
“rings with authenticity, looking at the daily life of Marine Aviators assigned to combat air patrol over hostile territory.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and believed every moment of what I was reading - from tense standoffs in the air, to bull
sessions at chow to dealing with the personalities of your squadron-mates. The book swings from suspense to action to personal
drama to high humor without missing a beat, and you're right there with the characters the whole way.
Throughout, you get the sense that its been written by someone who's spent a lot
of time in military aircraft, observing fellow aviators at close quarters. As it turns out, the author was a Marine Aviator,
and was shot down over Iraq. He's obviously drawing on his own experience. I learned a lot about the F-18D in this book, and
gained new sympathy for the men of Marine Aviation. Like most non-pilots, I always presumed that Fighter pilots and "Backseaters"
flew along in air-conditioned comfort with nary a care, and slept peacefully at night in comfortable quarters.”
By contrast, in Speed is Life, More is Better, the unit
is deployed in a Tent City, set up right next to the runway, flying nonstop day and night missions. The men are tired, saddle
sore and frustrated by the rules of engagement and the trivialities that accompany military life. Even so, they're doing their
duty, and earning their pay in a tense environment that pushes them and their equipment beyond the breaking point. I felt
real fear for the characters' fates, and was particularly struck by an incident near the end of the book that reminded me
of a tragedy that occurred in an old unit of mine.
This view into this side of Military
Life was one I never had before. I think any aviator, history buff or aircraft enthusiast would enjoy the book, and that anyone
in the military would empathize with it. As a former enlisted man, I'd recommend it to anyone whose ever been in any branch
of service, but also particularly to Cadets at the Service academies and ROTC students. It would open their eyes, and give
them a sense for the sacrifices - and the rewards - of real military life. If there's any justice, "Speed is Life, More
is Better" should be in every "Stars & Stripes" bookstore, library and PX/BX at every military post in