Five months after we left them in Rolling Thunder, Steel Tiger (May 24, 1990) brings back USAF Major Court Bannister, Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel Wolf Lochert, and USAF First Lieutenant Toby Parker, now scattered to their new posts: Bannister in Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California, Wolf Lochert at Lang Tri, Republic of Vietnam, carrying out covert operations in Laos, and Toby Parker, in the pilot training program at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. Soon their diverse paths will lead all three men back to Vietnam for a second tour of duty — in the very heart of the conflict.
Having given up his astronauts slot stateside, Court Bannister teams up with Major Flak Apple fighting enemy aircraft in the skies and politics on the ground. Wolf Lochert, thrown into the infamous Long Binh Jail for murder, makes a contract who puts him on the trail of a weapons smuggling ring and leads him to a figure high in the American chain of command. Toby Parker, still reeling from the trauma of his first tour of duty, pulls himself into shape, only to meet a danger for which he cannot prepare. And, Berent introduces a memorable new character, Vladimir Chernov, a Soviet fighter pilot in Hanoi, who may or may not be the real enemy. Here, Berent provides keen insight into the Hanoi air defense system that blasted over 1300 U.S. Airplanes out of the air.
As a harrassed Lyndon Johnson fires his Secretary of Defense, the Chiefs of Staff stop just short of mass resignation, and General Whitey Whisenand once again goes to Vietnam to dig out the truth.