• Karl Sander

"Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit"


After a 24-year career flying KC-135 tankers, retired Lieutenant Colonel Mark Hasara has made a unique contribution to the field of military memoirs and aviation history. It's not too hard to stroll down the right aisle in a book store and find books by fighter and attack pilots, but you'd have a more difficult time finding one from the prospective a tanker pilot. That's a shame, because aerial refueling is critical to everything military aviation does, from combat operations to humanitarian relief. It's long past time the broader public had a chance to see what they do; and even some of us in tactical aviation will find more than a few insights into how these folks accomplish their mission.

Colonel Hasara is a gifted story teller (and a talented photographer - he could put out a book of aviation photography and based on the examples in Tanker Pilot, I'd buy that, too). Each of the chapters, mostly chronologically arranged, tell a self-contained story from a different part of his flying career. He writes in a clear and understandable way; you don't need to be a military aviator or airplane nut to be able to follow along.

That's helpful because each chapter concludes with a lesson from the story, and looking at how it might apply in the "real world." So, this isn't just a great memoir and insight into recent military history, it's also accessible by - and relevant to - the broader public. I could easily see it being part of a syllabus in a business or leadership class somewhere.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I feel compelled to mention that I happen to know the author and enjoyed watching the project come to life. That said, I'd have enjoyed it - and recommended it - regardless. I have it on good authority he's kicking around some ideas for another project, and I look forward to reading whatever he comes up with next.

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