The tellingly detailed log of an American airman's 53-week year in Southeast Asia. A sometime jet jockey who volunteered for duty as a forward air controller, Yarborough arrived in Vietnam for his initial tour during the spring of 1970. Assigned to Da Nang, the author (who now teaches at Indiana Univ.) started off directing aerial strikes against supply convoys, troop concentrations, and allied objectives along the Ho Chi Minh Trail from an OV-10--a turbo-powered observation craft armed only with white-phosphorous rockets to mark targets. Within a couple of months, however, his skills as a pilot and coolness under fire earned him a coveted billet with the so-called Prairie Fire flight. This ultrasecret outfit specialized in covering reconnaissance teams that infiltrated Communist strongholds throughout Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam. Flying hundreds of missions over the whole of Indochina, the author was in the thick of scores of engagements far beyond any boundaries that could be considered a traditional front line. Some of Yarborough's toughest battles, though, seem to have been waged against officious rear-echelon martinets who wanted to document the flak damage to his plans, bill him for binoculars lost in action, or otherwise stick to the letter of military law. A low-key but absorbing memoir that goes a long way toward explaining without glorifying the lure of combat for a professional soldier.