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Lt Col Mark E. Berent, USAF (Ret), was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He attended Cretin High
School in St. Paul, Minnesota and St. Thomas College. 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 at Bad Tolz, Germany. 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
on Aug. 05, 2015 :
Probably the best of Berent's Wings of War series, though still with the weakness of overdrawn, Rambo-like characters. The strongest aspect of each book has been, as I see it, what might be called the technical details of air combat in Vietnam, though there's plenty of excitement if the reader is willing to suspend a portion of disbelief.
In this volume we finally get rid of the egomaniacal Lyndon Johnson and the malign influence of Strange Robert McNamara, entering into the relatively sunny leadership period of Richard Nixon.
(reviewed 62 days after purchase)