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My Enemy, My Friend, a story of reconciliation from the Vietnam War Hardcover – February 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Aviation Heritage Park; Second edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0692000070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0692000076
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #571,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Anyone who has studied the air war over Vietnam in detail, or who may have caught the series Dogfights on the History Channel may recall an action on April 16, 1972, in which F-4D Phantom pilot Major E. Daniel Cherry engaged in a difficult, often frustrating four-minute pursuit of an elusive MiG-21 before finally blowing off its right wing with an AIM-7 Sparrow missile. For Dan Cherry, the most memorable postscript to the engagement was narrowly passing the enemy pilot, hanging beneath his parachute. Two things Cherry could not have foreseen at the time was that someday he would rediscover the Phantom in which he scored his victory, and that he would have it restored to its original 1972 markings as the first of a series of warplanes flown by Kentuckians to be displayed at the newly established Aviation Heritage Park in his hometown of Bowling Green. Even less likely would he have been able to foresee being invited in 2008 to appear on television in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where he met Nguyen Hong My, the North Vietnamese pilot he had shot down. Perhaps more plausible than either of those developments was the fact that the two former adversaries ended up becoming good friends that seems to have been a flyboy thing since World War I! My Enemy, My Friend tells the story of Cherry s and Nguyen s encounters, in battle in 1972, and under more amiable circumstances in 2008. It is a fascinating tale of two men s unique way of putting a war behind them, and Nguyen s story somewhat fills in some blanks regarding that dogfight. A portion of the proceeds from this small but unusual book go to preserving and maintaining historic aviation artifacts at the Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green, KY. The only criticism one can level at its First Edition unavoidable though that was is that it ends with Cherry s visit to Nguyen s family in Hanoi and his preparations to return the hospitality. However, the Second Edition takes care of that and includes the "rest of the story." Since it was first published, Nguyen has indeed come to the United States for some further memorable events in April 2009. Among other things, he met and befriended the Weapons System Officer of an RF-4C he had claimed in January 1972, lectured alongside his former adversary at the National Air and Space Museum, and while visiting Bowling Green he became the first combat pilot in history to sit in the cockpit of the very plane that had shot him down. Jon Guttman------------------------------- I always associated Dan Cherry with the F-105, but after reading this wonderful book, I will always think of him aan F-4 guy too. Dan Cherry was an inspiration to me to become an Air Force pilot along with many of his contemporaries, men like Leo Thorsness and Jack Broughton. I knew that he had a MiG to his credit in 1972, but really didn't know much about the engagement. When I bought this book, I expected to be most interested in the dogfight on April 16, 1972. While I found his account of that encounter fascinating, I was absolutely blown away by the reunion he had with Hong My, the Vietnamese pilot he shot down that day. Not only does BGen Cherry come across as a genuinely patriotic and honorable man, but his essential compassion and humanity in his meetings with Hong My made me appreciate him and respect him even more. Hong My proved to be the perfect Yin to Cherry's Yang; an honorable and admirable man, and an old enemy who became a new and genuine friend. I was impressed with Hong My's desire to locate the crew of an RF-4C he shot down and BGen Cherry's assistance in that matter. I was also impressed with the restoration of Phantom 550, and am looking forward to seeing it myself someday. This is a short book, but in this case size definitely doesn't matter: this is a stunning book and I recommend it highly. --Jon Guttman and Robert Hedges

Darcel Desnerck McLane - See all my reviews This review is from: My Enemy My Friend (Hardcover) General Dan Cherry's work, "My Enemy, My Friend" will have a special place on my bookshelf. There is nothing else quite like it. In fact this is more a story of reconciliation and growth than it is about aircraft, tactics, or aerial combat. To be sure, the combat narrative is riveting but it is General Cherry's humanity that comes through louder than the roar of his F-4 Phantom, "Old 550". General Cherry puts you in the cockpit with him as he experiences the life defining engagement in which he downed a North Vietnamese MIG-21 in a savage dogfight. In an understated testament to the depth of human spirit, General Cherry goes from wanting to ram the enemy aircraft in the middle of the fight, to joy that his adversary has survived the ejection at the end of the battle. But more interestingly, he takes you with him through the years as he sets out to meet and reconcile with the man he once shot down. Proving that professional soldiers have more in common than non-combatants can imagine, the two meet over twenty years later and not only speak without malice, but strike up a deep friendship. The most moving facet of the story, and what sets it apart from standard aviation fare, is the friendship the two former adversaries forge and the bond they are able to form with each others' families. The title says it all; they go from enemies to friends. Chock full of beautiful color photographs of both pilots, their aircraft, their families, and graced with spare but fitting prose, the book is short in length but long on heart. If two men once locked in deadly combat can meet, forgive one another, and forge a friendship, maybe the rest of us can overcome our own prejudices and petty dislikes. --Darcel Desnerck McLane

Here's a great American story recounting one life's journey beginning in the WW II era to this day -- Dan Cherry's life has been one of challenges and successes ... one after another. Beginning with a hero-like Grandfather -- a locomotive engineer -- to the days of USAF Flight School and a COMBAT TOUR in the great F-105 Thunderchief -- it could well have been the highpoint -- flying the "Thud" ... however, Cherry went on to higher accomplishment -- he came back for another COMBAT TOUR in the awesome F-4 Phantom and on April 16, 1972, he flew it into mortal aerial combat with the deadly enemy MIG-21. For a split second, he eyed his opponent pilot -- hanging in the 'chute -- Major Cherry was the aerial victor. Yet Cherry's career was just picking up speed. Thunderbird Lead ... Commander of the 8th Tactical Fight Wing, the "Wolf Pack" and more -- this is a genuine American success story. Now comes this book -- an easy read -- easy to envision in your mind's eye ... a story of success that should inspire young readers, aviation lovers and one that will trigger memories in many minds. Yet, while fighter pilots are known to be a proud, confident and cocky group, there is a sensitive side when Gen Cherry recounts his hunt for his former enemy. It reveals a very patriotic guy with a gentle nature ... an understanding man ... able to understand greater relationships and appreciate them. General Cherry's neat little book is a wonderful piece of history in the annals of the USAF. The cover is unique too -- that jutting jaw of Thunderbird Lead Dan Cherry; the sharp, red flight coverall and cocked blue flight cap tucked just above the brow ... and confident "media savvy" grin ... contrast that with the fighter pilot Dan Cherry; combat hardened ... confident, courageous, brave... "don't screw with me" sneer -- sweaty brow, disheveled hair, hardcore mustache, trademark red bandanna -- and backed by the bright red star marking his aerial victory -- topped off by bringing his jet, F-4D #550 back to life and a static display in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the ultimate rendezvous with his opponent, Hong My. What a story ... what a life ... a must read for young and old ...Thanks Dan Cherry. --Stuart W. Maas

About the Author

Dan Cherry is Executive Vice President of Aviation Heritage Park, an educational facility in Bowling Green, KY dedicated to inspiring the youth of today by exhibiting aviation artifacts that represent the real stories and careers of distinguished aviators from south central Kentucky. Dan developed his administrative and leadership skills during his 29 year career as a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. His military credentials include flying 295 combat missions during the Vietnam War and shooting down a North Vietnamese MiG-21. He held the positions of Commander and Flight Leader of the USAF Thunderbirds, Commander of Moody AFB, GA, Inspector General of the Pacific Air Forces, Commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing and Commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service. He earned several military awards and decorations including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star with 1 oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with 9 oak leaf clusters, the Legion of Merit with 2 oak leaf clusters and the Air Medal with 34 oak leaf clusters. He completed his service in the Air Force with the rank of Brigadier General and was inducted into the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame in October 2000.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
96%
4 star
0%
3 star
4%
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See all 23 customer reviews
This book is a quick read, but captivating.
A10Smitty
This book takes you into the cockpit of an F-4 Phantom in a dogfight over Vietnam and details the transition of the fighter pilots from enemy combatants to friends.
Madness
The story is nicely woven and complemented by plenty of great photography.
Jay_Nehrkorn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Callaway on July 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The title of this book, MY ENEMY***MY FRIEND,
written by a Vietnam era USAF fighter pilot with an aerial
victory to his credit, may seem at first provocative and
initially counter intuitive. But the subtitle, one of
reconciliation, is insightful and revealing.

Brigadier General Dan Cherry, USAF (ret), masterfully
weaves his childhood relationships and experiences into
the development of his interest in, and his love for,
aviation. While his narrative takes the reader through the
highlights of his life experiences, his respect and love
for everyone - his family, his squadron mates, and his
friends - permeates the story. So, it is no surprise to read
of his quest to search out the fate of the MiG pilot that he
shot down over thirty-five years ago over North Vietnam.

"My Enemy, My Friend" is a heart warming and intensely
personal story...a must for aviation enthusiasts and historians.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Julia Link Roberts on July 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My Enemy - My Friend: A Story of Reconciliation from the Vietnam War
Brigadier General Dan Cherry, USAF, (Ret.) with Fran Erickson

My Enemy, My Friend is a book of human interest, one with special ties to Kentucky yet one of broad appeal. The story ties together happenings of three and a half decades ago to today, bringing together events that are filled with coincidence, patriotism, and hope. This very readable book is one that will be of interest to people who remember the conflict in Vietnam and those who are too young to have those memories. It will be a book of interest to people in Kentucky but also of great appeal to people throughout the country.

On April 16, 1972, Major Dan Cherry was serving in the Air Force in Vietnam. An early morning call alerted him to a special mission, one that would go near Hanoi. On this mission, Major Cherry was the pilot of an F-4 Phantom #550. On this mission a North Vietnamese MiG-21 was shot down. Major Cherry carried with him the vivid memory of the pilot of the MiG bailing out. Major Cherry (later Brigadier General Cherry) held this memory and continued to wonder what had happened to the MiG pilot.

The book communicates vividly with the reader describing the action of the dogfight and the aerial victory as well as the emotion of meeting Hong My, the pilot of the MiG shot down, on a television show in Vietnam in 2008. Words tell the story, and photographs add to communicate messages in this special book. The book engages the reader in the events that are often coincidental. For example, finding the very plane that Major Cherry flew in the Basco Flight, the one in which the MiG was shot down, was certainly coincidental.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stuart W. Maas on July 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Here's a great American story recounting one life's journey beginning in the WW II era to this day -- Dan Cherry's life has been one of challenges and successes ... one after another. Beginning with a hero-like Grandfather -- a locomotive engineer -- to the days of USAF Flight School and a COMBAT TOUR in the great F-105 Thunderchief -- it could well have been the highpoint -- flying the "Thud" ... however, Cherry went on to higher accomplishment -- he came back for another COMBAT TOUR in the awesome F-4 Phantom and on April 16, 1972, he flew it into mortal aerial combat with the deadly enemy MIG-21. For a split second, he eyed his opponent pilot -- hanging in the 'chute -- Major Cherry was the aerial victor. Yet Cherry's career was just picking up speed. Thunderbird Lead ... Commander of the 8th Tactical Fight Wing, the "Wolf Pack" and more -- this is a genuine American success story. Now comes this book -- an easy read -- easy to envision in your mind's eye ... a story of success that should inspire young readers, aviation lovers and one that will trigger memories in many minds. Yet, while fighter pilots are known to be a proud, confident and cocky group, there is a sensitive side when Gen Cherry recounts his hunt for his former enemy. It reveals a very patriotic guy with a gentle nature ... an understanding man ... able to understand greater relationships and appreciate them. General Cherry's neat little book is a wonderful piece of history in the annals of the USAF. The cover is unique too -- that jutting jaw of Thunderbird Lead Dan Cherry; the sharp, red flight coverall and cocked blue flight cap tucked just above the brow ... and confident "media savvy" grin ... contrast that with the fighter pilot Dan Cherry; combat hardened ... confident, courageous, brave...Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Gould on September 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
.....who wants their kids to grasp the concepts of loyalty to country, mission accomplishment and forgiveness. Dan Cherry's narrative of the dogfight with a North Viernamese MIG 21 captures the mood, frustration and satisfaction faced by our fighter pilots during the Vietnam era. As a member of Major Cherry's flight at the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, I was struck by two things: the reality of his narrative, where I was anticipating his next move, empathizing with his frustration over equipment malfunctions, cussing under my breath when the MIG 21 disappeared into the clouds. I found myself breathing heavily and feeling the need to pound on the glare shield when his initial missles failed!

A moving and I'm sure, an emotional ordeal for Dan, explaining the account of meeting his vanquished enemy, a retired North Vietnamese pilot living in Hanoi, who Dan found by happenstance, his visit to Hanoi with the man he shot down as a guide, and tour of the 'Hanoi Hilton', the dreaded POW prison, whose 'guests' included Senator John McCain and so many other courageous airmen. I personally felt a lump in my throat when reading Dan's description of this visit, remembering when one of my fellow aviators was captured and imprisoned there.

I gladly paid $[...] for this great gem of a book. Total proceeds for this book are donated to the Aviation Hertitage Park, whose mission is dedicated to past aviators who "deserve to be recognized and celebrated so that future generations might be made aware of and motivated by their extraordinary achievements." This is the mission of Aviation Heritage Park, [...].
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