Ric Hunter was one of the F-4 group commanders on the Mayaguez Mission

  Randy Houston receives gut-wrenching news--his high-school best friend, Tim Scott, a Marine, is killed by a sniper in Vietnam. He is nineteen. Hot-branded resolve propels Randy to adulthood that July day in 1966.

A decade later, fighter pilot Captain Houston arrives in Thailand determined to settle a score. With the fall of Saigon imminent, and America's 12-year war waning, Randy has precious little time. Glory vaporizes when he crash-lands his F-4 Phantom on his first mission. Injured, and worried that he may not fly again, he endures acid wrath from Raptor, his squadron commander. When both are bullet-stitched by North Vietnam's leading ace, the feared "Yellow Star," they must fight as a team, or die. Saigon falls on the worst day of Randy’s life. Later, Raptor orders Randy's flight into a chaotic struggle to save hijacked Americans of the SS Mayaguez, Vietnam's last battle on a small island off the coast of Vietnam. It’s his only chance to even the score. Years later Randy kneels to place Tim's Zippo lighter, his “firehammer,” at the base of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He tells his beloved friend good-by. Thoughts of glory and vengeance are buried in sands of blood-soaked Koh Tang.

The book is not a self-published memoir. It was published by Red Engine Press who will submit it for a Pulitzer Prize this year. It is also being considered by two movie (screenplay) firms.

Ric Hunter is a 27-year combat veteran of the Air Force; he retired as a colonel. He has 4000 flight hours in high-performance aircraft including the F-4 Phantom and F-15C Eagle. He commanded an Eagle squadron and was a 3-time Top Gun. After active duty service, he became a freelance writer/photographer for magazine feature articles in aviation, and hunting and fishing magazines. Ric was also founder and president of the Panama City, Florida, Writers Association. After attacks on 9-11-01, he returned to serve his country once again as a civil servant for eight years. He took over world-wide program management of the Air Force’s 50-million dollar fighter aircraft flight simulator program, thus freeing young pilot staff officers to return to cockpit duties for the war on terror. Red Engine Press recently published Ric’s FIREHAMMER, an historical fiction novel, based on a true story, that puts the reader in the cockpit of an F-4 aircraft during evacuation of Saigon and later the last battle of the Vietnam War, rescue of the SS Mayaguez and its crew. He now resides with his wife, Jan, in the mountains of western North Carolina where he is a consultant to industry and freelance writer.