Lt Col Mark E. Berent, USAF (Ret), was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He attended Cretin High
School in St. Paul, Minnesota. Later he graduated from Arizona State University under the Air Force Institute of Technology program with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Lt Col Berent began his Air Force career as an enlisted man, then progressed through the aviation cadet program. He attended pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi and then Laredo Air Force Base, Texas flying the T-6, T-28 and T-33 aircraft and then moved on to F-86s at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. He served on active duty for 23 years until retirement in 1974. He began his operational flying career in the F-86 and F-100 flying at various posts throughout the United States and Europe. He later served three combat tours, completing 452 combat sorties, first in the F-100 at Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam, the F-4 at Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, and then in Cambodia for two years to fly things with propellers on them and through a fluke in communications timing, to personally run the air war for a few weeks.
He has also served two tours at the United States Space and Missile System Organization (SAMSO) at Los Angeles, California working first in the Satellites Control Facility and later as a staff developmental engineer for the space shuttle. In his expansive career he has seen service as an Air Attaché to the United States Embassy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia and also as Chief of Test Control Branch at the Air Development and Test Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He also served as an instructor at the Air Force's Squadron Officer School.
During his flying career he has logged over 4300 hours of flying time, 1084 of those in combat missions in the F-100, F-4, C-47 and U-10 over North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. He has flown 30 different aircraft.
His decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star, Air Medal with twenty four oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Cambodian Divisional Medal, and numerous Vietnam Campaign ribbons. He completed jump school with the Special Forces. Later, he jumped with and was awarded Cambodian paratrooper wings. He also flew with and received Cambodian pilot wings.
After leaving the Air Force he lived in Europe to establish and direct international operations for the sale of spares for combat aircraft. He has flown many foreign aircraft such as the Swedish Viggen and Royal Air Force Jaguar and Hawk. He also established Berent and Woods Inc, a firm that managed many aviation related activities.
Over the years he had published numerous articles for such publications as Air Force Magazine and the Washington Times and for 18 years wrote a monthly pilot/reporter column for the Asian Defense Journal. Under the name Berent Sandberg he and Peter Sandberg collaborated on three novels. He now has five Vietnam air war flying novels in print, Rolling Thunder, Steel Tiger, Phantom Leader, Eagle Station, and Storm Flight.
Berent states it is never too late for any endeavor: he published the first of his five books at age 58, ran his first Marathon at 59, bought a T-6 warbird and flew in airshows at 64, and rode in his first cattle roundup in Montana at 74.
"Powerful!" --- Publishers Weekly
"The pride of the Air Force. The challenge of Vietnam."
"A taut, exciting tale of good men in a bad war. Berent is the real thing." --- Tom Clancy
"Rolling Thunder is terrific - a novel of exceptional authenticity that hits like a thunderclap. A decorated Vietnam pilot, Mark Berent knows planes and men and battle, and he whirls them around in a story of uncommon strength. I can't wait for his next book." --- W.E.B. Griffin, best-selling author of Brotherhood of War and The Corps
"Mark Berent writes with great authority and utter realism, immersing the reader in his characters' every sensation and emotion." --- Dale Brown, best-selling author of Flight of the Old Dog and Silver Tower
"The fighter pilot's war - you love it and hate it at the same time, and Mark Berent writes it that way." --- Stephen Coonts, best-selling author of Flight of the Intruder
"Berent tells it like it was!" --- Chuck Yeager
"The best Vietnam air novel I have read. Berent captures the essence of flying men at war, their agony, emotions, courage, and triumph." --- Brigadier General Robin Olds
Where to find Mark Berent online
Where to buy in print
Lets Kill the Dai Uy (Tiếng Việt cho thuyền trưởng)
This is the Vietnamese version of a hilarious tale of an Air Force combat fighter pilot in Vietnam who goes out on patrol with a special forces team he has supported many times from the air. Seeing the pilot is having a hard time keeping up, one of the Chinese mercenaries called Nungs, says to the team leader, "Let's kill the Dai Uy." Dai Uy is Vietnamese for captain.Read on to see what happened.
To War in Style
In January of 1973 we in the Defense Attaché Office in the American Embassy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, found ourselves in an unusual situation. In Vietnam, all US forces were ordered to cease fighting and that included air assets as well as the ground troops. Yet we had authorized air support until August 15. This article is about what occurred during that time.
Beyond the Clouds; Why I Became a Military Writer
Mark Berent is a well-known author of many Vietnam airwar books and articles. In this article he recounts the people and events that motivated him to write. As he says:
"They're out there now, somewhere beyond our eyes, beyond the clouds, rolling and soaring in towering cathedrals flying beautiful airplanes that need only the fuel of their love. These are the men I honor...
Rho Magna, the Laotian War Dragon
Combat fighter pilot Mark Berent writes of a dragon-shaped karst mountain in Laos along the Ho Chi Minh Trail that bristles with physical and psychological danger. He writes of it as he first saw it on an F-4 FAC mission from Ubon RTAFB in 1969. Then he adds an excerpt from "Phantom Leader," one of his historical fiction books about war and politics in the Vietnam era.
Let's Kill the Dai Uy
This is a hilarious tale of an Air Force combat fighter pilot in Vietnam who goes out on patrol with a special forces team he has supported many times from the air. Seeing the pilot is having a hard time keeping up, one of the Chinese mercenaries called Nungs, says to the team leader, "Let's kill the Dai Uy." Dai Uy is Vietnamese for captain.Read on to see what happened.
"The Graduate" is a short story about a retired fighter pilot who, at 74, went back to college, Cowboy College, that is.
Ramrod the Combat Snake
Until the day a friendly FAC presented us combat pilots with a mascot, all any of us knew about snakes was that they were slimy creatures that could poison you, eat you, twist your bones, or crush you at their leisure. But that was before we came to know and love our squadron's resident reptile, whose name was ... RAMROD
Trolling for Guns on the Ho Chi Minh Trail
As the Vietnam war interdiction campaign spread to North Vietnam, Laos, and eventually Cambodia, the slow moving FACs in their small prop planes began to encounter intense ground fire. It was then, in 1967, that the jet FACs began to take over in high threat areas. A former commander of the famed 8th Tac Fighter Wing Wolf FACs poignantly reminisces about these men and the mission.
Night Mission on the Ho Chi Minh Trail
The weather, the built-in hazards of night refueling, target identification, and the mountains hiding in the dark are all enemies- and of course, there's the enemy, too. These pilots have a saying, "And if the big guns don't get you, the black karst will." But then back on top in the moonlight, a man finds brief moments to think his own thoughts before cracking a low ceiling back at home base.
Storm Flight is touched off by a daring raid on the Son Tay prisoner-of-war camp that reveals some startling information. With American prisoners in terrible jeopardy and crucial national secrets in danger of being discovered, the characters we have met in Berent's earlier books are put to the ultimate test. They must call upon all their skill, leadership, guts, and strength.
Eagle Station, fourth in his Vietnam War series, Berent raises the stakes, creating his most electrifying tale of war to date. Staring with a hair-raising cliffside helicopter rescue under heavy fire, and racing toward a climactic ground battle played out in the dark of night, engaging top secret USAF special operations gun ships, A Japanese-American overcomes prejudice and becomes a top pilot.
January,'68,Tet offensive bursts. FAC pilot Toby Parker sees the NVA moving tanks down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.Captured by the enemy, he is trapped in the middle of a tank attack. Maj. "Flak" Apple,first black Air Force fighter pilot to be shot down in Vietnam, becomes a POW in the infamous Hanoi Hilton; one more MiG and Bannister becomes an Ace.Lochert settles an old account.Whisenand chids LBJ.
USAF Major Court Bannister, SF LtCol Wolf Lochert, and USAF Lt. Toby Parker are at new posts: Bannister in Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB; Wolf Lochert at Lang Tri, Vietnam carrying out covert operations in Laos: Toby Parker in pilot training at Randolph AFB. A Russian fighter pilot trains North Vietnamese pilots. Israeli fighter pilots decisively defeat Egyptian forces in the 1967 war.
(5.00 from 1 review)
Rolling Thunder is an historical novel about the decisive role politics played during the Vietnam war. Its characters range from men in the field to the Pentagon and the White House. Fighter pilots and Special Forces warriors try to do their best but are hampered by President Johnson, Secretary of Defense McNamara, and their staff members who despise the military.
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Smashwords book reviews by Mark Berent
- Five Bullets
on May 11, 2012
An other-world warrior helps tunnel-rat Chez perform his duties under the Vietnam jungle floor. This is a very readable venture into paranormal involvement in the Vietnam war.
Reviewed by Mark Berent, Vietnam vet and author of many Smash books and articles about Vietnam.
- Working Undercover
on June 14, 2012
I hope former DEA agent Richard Holiman keeps on writing. His "Working Undercover" is a nail-biting account of his taking down a drug dealer in New Orleans. It starts with a phone call in the middle of the night and ends with a near-shootout in a motel room. In between Holiman explains how such a bust is set up and, unfortunately, how office politics can gum things up. Holiman has several neat turns of phrase such as when one of the drug dealers draws a .45, he says "it sucked the fun out of the room." The whole story makes the reader feel he is getting a personal debrief of a DEA operation.
Mark Berent is the author of many Vietnam airwar books and articles on Smashwords.