Discover the “Wings of War series! They were America's bravest men - seasoned veterans and young daredevil pilots with dreams of glory in the air...Court Bannister, an Air Force captain overshadowed by his famous movie star father who fought in WWII, driven to prove his worth to his comrades - and himself...Toby Parker, the brash first lieutenant who gambled his innocence in the flames of war...and Wolf Lochert, the Special Forces major who ventured deep into the jungle to rescue a downed pilot - only to discover a face of the enemy for which he was unprepared.
Rolling Thunder, the first of the five-book Wings of War series, is an explosive portrait of men at war, so authentic and powerful, only a veteran pilot could have written it. Regularly $2.99, Rolling Thunder is free today.
ROLLING THUNDER: An Historical Novel of War and Politics (Wings of War Book 1), by Mark Berent
Rolling Thunder is an historical novel about the decisive role politics played during the Vietnam war. Its characters range from men in the field to the Pentagon and the White House. Fighter pilots and Special Forces warriors try to do their best but are hampered by President Johnson, Secretary of Defense McNamara, and their staff members who despise the military. Only one aging USAF general, who fought in Korea and WWII, is on their side. His clashes with his Commander in Chief, Lyndon Johnson, are epic in proportion and startling in content.
In Rolling Thunder, the time is late 1965 and 1966 in war zone places such as Saigon, Hanoi, Bien Hoa, Da Nang, and Tahkli. While back in Washington, LBJ sits over lunch and personally picks bombing targets in an attempt to fight a limited war. In Vietnam the war knows no limits
There, as the hostilities escalate, the fates of three men intertwine: USAF Captain Court Bannister, overshadowed by a famous movie star father who fought in WWII as a B-17 gunner, driven to confront missiles, MiGs, and nerve-grinding bombing raids in order to prove his worth to his comrades -- and to himself...Air Force First Lieutenant Toby Parker, fresh from the States, who hooks up with an intelligence unit for a lark, and quickly finds his innocence buried away by the lessons of war...and Special Forces Colonel Wolf Lochert, who ventures deep into the jungle to rescue a downed pilot -- only to discover a face of the enemy for which he is unprepared.
Airline stewardesses come under attack when they are forced to spend the night on a fighter base in Vietnam after their airliner develops a problem.
Through their eyes, and those of many others -- pilots, soldiers, lovers, enemy agents, commanders, politicians, profiteers -- Rolling Thunder shows us Vietnam as few other books have, or can. Berent captures all the intensity and drama of that searing war, and more, penetrates to the heart and soul of those who fought it. Rolling Thunder rings with authenticity.
More books in the Wings of War series
Meet the Author
Lt Col Mark E. Berent, USAF (Ret), was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He graduated from Cretin High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, attended St. Thomas College and later graduated from Arizona State University under the Air Force Institute of Technology program with a BSME.
Berent began his Air Force career as an enlisted man, then entered the aviation cadet program. He attended pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi and Laredo Air Force Base, Texas flying the T-6, T-28, and T-33 aircraft. He moved on to F-86 Sabre Jet at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. He served on active duty for 23 years until retirement in 1974. He began his operational flying career in the F-86 and F-100 flying at various posts throughout the United States and Europe. He later served three combat tours, completing 452 combat sorties flying the F-100 at Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam, next the F-4 at Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand. After those tours, he was stationed in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for two years to fly things with propellers on them and through a fluke in communications timing, to personally run the air war for a few weeks from a most unusual place.
He has also served two tours at the United States Space and Missile System Organization (SAMSO) at Los Angeles, California working first in the Satellites Control Facility and later as a staff developmental engineer for the space shuttle. In his expansive career he has seen service as an Air Attaché to the United States Embassy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia and also as Chief of Test Control Branch at the Air Development and Test Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He also served as an instructor at the Air Force's Squadron Officer School.
During his flying career he has logged over 4300 hours of flying time, 1084 of those in combat missions in the F-100, F-4, C-47 and U-10 over North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. He has flown 30 different aircraft.
His decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star, Air Medal with twenty four oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Cambodian Divisional Medal, and numerous Vietnam Campaign ribbons. He completed jump school with the Special Forces. Later, he jumped with and was awarded Cambodian paratrooper wings. He also flew with and received Cambodian pilot wings.
After leaving the Air Force he lived in Europe to establish and direct international operations for the sale of spares for military aircraft. He has flown many foreign aircraft such as the Swedish Viggen and Royal Air Force Jaguar and Hawk. He also established Berent and Woods Inc, a firm that managed many aviation related activities.
Over the years he had published numerous articles for such publications as Air Force Magazine and the Washington Times, and for 18 years wrote a monthly pilot/reporter column for the Asian Defense Journal. Under the name Berent Sandberg he and Peter Sandberg collaborated on three novels. He now has five Vietnam air war historical fiction novels in print, Rolling Thunder, Steel Tiger, Phantom Leader, Eagle Station, and Storm Flight. (The Wings of War series.)
Berent states it is never too late for any endeavor: he published the first of his five book Wings of War series at age 58, ran his first Marathon at 59, bought a T-6 warbird and flew in airshows at 64, and rode in his first cattle roundup in Montana at 74. He was inducted into the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame in 2012.
Berent says: "There is the dark side of why I am a military writer. The dark side that surfaces in untoward moments when bad memories spring unbidden from a well I try to keep capped. Moments when others, not of the sky, hear my harsh laughter and see the frost in my eyes. It is the side that bears extreme malice and near-consuming rage toward those who wasted the lives of my fellow airmen on missions that accomplished little except strengthen the enemy's resolve. Missions that gratified only the arrogant civilian Caesars who, at White House luncheons, picked not only the targets but the bomb loads and the ingress and egress routes as well. It is the side that detests those members of the media who trivialized and scorned our efforts; it is the side that despises that wretched movie female who sat at an enemy antiaircraft gun, made broadcasts from Hanoi, and called our tortured POWs liars; it is the side that bears hard anger toward some of our own men in uniform who saw war only as a career enhancing program. It is also of these contemptible people I am compelled to write."