"Aces of The Eighth" by Jack Fellows

Passing the Flame

By Dick Jonas

The aim of this book, along with its predecessor and the associated CD albums, is to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of the warrior musician. They are the people who create and perform primarily what are known as fighter pilot songs. The warrior musician legacy is made up of three elements: people, airplanes, and action.

No warrior ever undertakes a mission alone. If he succeeds, if he wins the battle, there are always others who deserve the medals along with him. Similarly, one never writes a book all by himself. Seventeen people helped me create this one. See the Prologue, With Acknowledgements near the front of the book to get acquainted with them.

The people are those who fly and fight, along with the support crews who keep them in the air, and those who write and perform the songs. I cannot think of a single instance where any of these warrior songs was written by someone who is not a combat veteran. There’s just something about getting shot at that cranks off the creative juices.

The airplanes are those seductive little machines known as fighters. In my generation that was the F-100 Super Sabre, the F-4 Phantom II, the F-105 Thunderchief, and the F-111 Aardvark. I was lucky enough to be on the cusp of the flame passing; I flew the F-16 Viper for my last five years of active duty. For the next generation, to the Viper we add the A-10 Warthog, the F-15 Eagle, the F-22 Raptor, and the F-35 which is yet nameless.

The generation which preceded mine flew the F-86 Sabre, the F-84 (with several “Thunder” names, depending on the model,) the F-80 Shooting Star, the P-51 Mustang, the P-47 Thunderbolt, the P-38 Lightning, and the P-40 (“Hawk” names, depending on the model,). I’ve probably left some out; forgive me, and refer to Give Me Operations in RBAAB.

Action, the third element of the legacy, goes back to WWI, the conflict when airplanes were first used as combat weapons. The rest of the action has taken place in my lifetime — WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Central America, the Balkans, Southwest Asia, and the Cold War. From those stages and the people who played upon them comes the legacy of the warrior musician.

The prose and poetry in this song book uses the warrior’s vernacular, which may not be suitable for children.
Parental discretion is advised.

This book and associated CDs can be ordered from Dick Jonas at: Erosonic; PO Box 1226; Chino Valley, AZ 86323-1226, or his web site at www.erosonic.com

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