It is 1969 and Dick Diller is on his way to flying warplanes in the Vietnam conflict. He is commissioned to fly A-1 Skyraiders in sometimes harrowing nighttime missions over Laos—surviving not only the danger of the missions he flew, but also the bureaucracy of the air force, from fitness testing to additional duties assigned, to attacking impossible-to-find targets in the dead of night—with minimal fuel supplies.
At once entertaining and riveting, as well as thought-provoking, Firefly is the story of one man’s journey in a world at war, and a day-to-day description of the fighting force that was flying A-1 Skyraiders in combat. Firefly contains actual transcriptions of dialogue of pilots locating a target and making a strike in northern Laos.
“Once everything is set up, I roll in. Control stick hard left into a sharp left turn and let the nose drop quickly but smoothly to 40 degrees down. Down. My heart is pumping hard. I’m in a sharp dive. I have to do it right and fast. Line up the target in the sight. It’s getting bigger as I get closer to the ground. Airspeed is increasing! Quick! Right there! Pickle at 8,000 feet, only 2,000 feet from roll-in altitude. Not much time. NOW! Pull out! Pull hard, but don’t over G! All the remaining ordnance is trying to pull the airplane toward the ground. Smoothly pull to four Gs. Watch the artificial horizon. It’s the only visual reference I can count on. Pull! Get the nose up! Don’t go below 7,000 feet because rocks can be anywhere below seven. There’s level. Bring it on up. Twenty-five degrees nose high. I have plenty of speed, so keep the nose up. Here comes 8,000 feet. Then 9,000. I can let the nose down a little now and look around to see if anyone is shooting.”