What Readers Are Saying
I’m not a pilot, but now I’ve flown the “Hun,” I’ve lived in the Bien Hoa hootches and flown as a warrior in places I still can’t find on a map. John Schulz writes that well. His poetry and devotion to his wife and the pilots with whom he flew make for a compelling read. It’s a fun read, an informative read and a fast read. He makes it real, very real....
-- John Bennitt, former wire service senior executive
This is not just another “I did this” book; it is a reflection of the core values of the officers who flew the missions assigned with dedication and élan, oblivious to the risk of life and limb. As a long-time fighter pilot who flew frequently in Vietnam with incredibly talented then-Captain John Schulz, who shared some of his combat flying poetry with us as it was written, I strongly endorse this wonderful book! The “songs” from his (still vibrant for me) “distant cockpit” come from his heart and show the passion and intellect of “fighter jocks” that are often buried in the macho ethic we showed to the outside world. Read and savor this tome of personal and song-filled reflection.
-- Gary Tompkins, Col., USAF (ret.); fellow Diceman, "Misty 4"
Fasten your seat belts, as you prepare to take one of the most exciting rides of your life…from the varsity athletic fields and stadiums of Montana, to supersonic, high altitude and high-G dives and turns. In training and in combat and around the world… to the shadows, set-backs and losses common in everyone's life, John Schulz has masterfully painted in prose and poetry an honest portrait of an American fighter pilot. As you read this book, you'll be proud, you'll be concerned, you'll be reflective, and when done, you'll be better and you'll find it easier to set your sights on what you may want to do in your life! Enjoy…and grow!
-- Gregory S. Martin, General, USAF (Ret), former Commander US Forces Europe
Someone once described flying as hours of boredom punctuated by moments of stark terror. Flying the F-100 Super Sabre, as John Schulz so aptly describes, was never boring and it gave you more than your fair share of moments of stark terror. John has done a great job of conveying the feel and emotion of being a fighter pilot. His poetry adds a very special and unique component to his well-told story.
-- Bill Gorton, Maj. Gen., USAF (Ret.); President, Super Sabre Society
In the epic movie Braveheart, the "warrior-poet" was defined as the baddest of the bad. I have a different interpretation. To me, a warrior poet has the heart of a lion, the guts of a pirate and a soft, creative passion. John Schulz is such a man. When I first met him at the National War College I knew him as a guy with a 40 pound brain who could discuss just about anything... then I learned of his creative style. Much later I learned he and I shared a common bond: fighter pilot. John has written an amazing book, telling tales (you can believe most of them--fighter pilots only lie when they're moving their lips). If you've never been there, this will take you there, down a path only a warrior poet could lead you. You'll enjoy a great read!
-- Hal M. Hornburg, General, USAF (retired)
This book is a remarkable account, a wonderful read…the excitement of flying jets as a combat Air Force officer in Vietnam, punctuated by the horror of war and made memorable by the lessons learned. And then, John Schulz’s poetry gives us a poignant contrast to the risk, the challenge, the adrenalin that all pilots feel when they "scramble" and push the envelope to get the job done, and the sadness they feel when they remember all those who “bought the farm.” You can’t miss his letters to lovely Linda. They are a treasure. Songs From a Distant Cockpit follows in the footsteps of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, one of my favorite authors, the famed French aviator who flew the mails across to North Africa and wrote with such insight in his 1932 trilogy, Airman’s Odyssey. This book, too, makes you feel what it was like and will stand the test of time.
-- Chris Komisarjevsky, worldwide CEO (ret.); consultant/author; former Army gunship helicopter pilot, Vietnam
John Schulz is a man of great heart and soul, and I grew to admire and respect him when we were National War College students (1986-7) because he was the "real deal." He was extremely bright and thoughtful, focused, and articulate. These qualities combined with his openness and cheerful nature, made him both approachable and a valued team player. This book reflects his strength of character, his extraordinary leadership, and his Vietnam experience as a combat pilot, a war hero and patriot. His book is inspirational. Indeed, it is one-of-a-kind, filled with many lessons learned that we would be wise to follow.
-- Frank Libutti, Lt. Gen, USMC (Ret.)
At the first biennial Super Sabre Society reunion in 2007, when I learned of John Schulz's fascinating life in the Air Force and his civilian experiences and achievements, I immediately recruited him as an Assistant to the Editor (me) of The Intake, the Journal of the Super Sabre Society (SSS). He and I had flown "Huns" at Bien Hoa during 1967-8, and he brings memories of that time back to life. His contributions as a “partner” editor are always invaluable. I learned early on that John was a gifted poet, as well as an insightful reporter and keen analyst of military and international geopolitics. But he has the heart of a poet, and his book Songs from a Distant Cockpit is a jewel! It combines the best of his poetry and his “no holds barred” analysis of war in general with the inner feelings of a warrior in the midst of an unpopular war. The combination is powerful! A synergistic and authoritative read unlike any other I know of.
-- R. Medley Gatewood, Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.); Founding Member of the SSS; Editor & Publisher, The Intake
Songs From a Distant Cockpit gives readers a unique and fascinating picture of the challenges and dangers fighter pilots experienced in Vietnam. The love poems to Linda, before and after their marriage match the beauty and intensity of poems John Schulz created to paint vivid pictures of combat flying. The book is utterly engaging. And the man writes beautifully, as you'd expect from a pro.
-- Dr. Norman Moyes, Boston Univ. Journalism Professor (ret.)