Call Sign KLUSO

The Story of an American Fighter Pilot in Mr. Reagan's Air Force

Rick Tollini

The life and experiences of Gulf War Ace Rick Tollini, in his own words.
Publication date:
March 2021
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Illustration :
B/w and colour
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781612009810

Dimensions : 228 X 152 mm
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Regular Price: £27.50

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• Gulf Ace Rick "Kluso" Tollini explores how key moments in his life led him to the high-speed, low-altitude fight in the skies above the Iraqi Desert that made him an ace
• After a career spent air fighting, and teaching others to fight in the air, Rick offers his personal opinion on what it means to be a fighter pilot
• Rick discusses how he later struggled with the fact he had taken life, and how turning to Buddhism has helped him

Eagle pilot Rick "Kluso” Tollini's life has embodied childhood dreams and the reality of what the American experience could produce. In his memoir, Call Sign Kluso, Rick puts the fraught minutes above the Iraqi desert that made him an ace into the context of a full life; exploring how he came to be flying a F-15C in Desert Storm, and how that day became a pivotal moment in his life.

Rick's first experience of flying was in a Piper PA-18 over 1960s' California as a small boy, and his love of flying through his teenage years was fostered by his pilot father, eventually blossoming into a decision to join the Air Force as a pilot in his late twenties. Having trained to fly jets he was assigned to fly the F-15 Eagle with the "Dirty Dozen,” the 12th Tactical Fighter Squadron, at Kadena AB, Japan before returning Stateside to the 58th Tactical Fighter Squadron "The Gorillas.” Throughout training Reagan's fighter pilots expected to face was the Soviet Union, but Rick's first combat deployment was Desert Storm. He recounts the planning, the preparation, and the missions, the life of a fighter pilot in a combat zone and the reality of combat. Rick's aerial victory was one of 16 accumulated by the Gorillas, the most by any squadron during Desert Storm.

Returning from the combat skies of Iraq, Rick continued a successful fulfilling Air Force career until, struggling to make sense of his life, he turned to Buddhism. His practice led him to leave the Air Force, to find a new vocation, and to finally come to terms with shooting down that MiG-25 Foxbat in the desert all those years before. Most importantly, he came to a deeper understanding of the importance of our shared humanity.


I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what flying the F-15 Eagle was like, what life on a fighter squadron is like, and anyone with an interest in Cold War aviation or Desert Storm air combat. This is a book you will not be able to put down once you are strapped in the cockpit with KLUSO!
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