Book Review – Debrief: A Complete History of US Aerial Engagements 1981 to the Present

Debrief: A Complete History of US Aerial Engagements 1981 to the Present
Craig Brown

What it’s about:

A description of each American air-to-air kill in the post-Vietnam War era, with a chapter for each kill. Most chapters are written by the pilot who made the kills, or is based on an interview with the pilot.

What I liked about the book:

  • The topic.
  • “You are there” level of detail, and plenty of it.
  • Photographs of the pilots and aircraft.
  • An introduction section that explains fighter lingo to some extent.
  • The willingness of the fighter pilots to share the credit with AWACS and tanker crews, maintenance personnel and the support troops, and the humility in most cases to say that they were lucky to be in the right place at the right time to get their kills – that any other American pilot would have done the same. It’s generous, classy and true.
  • Written by a USAF fighter pilot.

What could have been done better:

  • A bit sloppy in editing, with too many minor errors (for example, admirals have aides, not aids).


This is a most excellent book that gives great insight into the dominance of USAF and USN fighters in air-to-air combat in the 1980s and 1990s.


5 stars out of a possible 5.

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