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America's Secret MiG Squadron: The Red Eagles of Project CONSTANT PEG (General Aviation) Hardcover – August 7, 2012
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"As one of the project's masterminds and its first commander, Peck delivers an account replete with first-person detail...The authenticity of Peck's narrative as well as the effectiveness of the project he helped conceive speak for themselves: During Operation Dessert Storm, American F-15 and F-16 pilots, many using tactics perfected during Constant Peg sorties, downed 40 Iraqi fighters, including numerous MiGs, without a single loss.." Air & Space/Smithsonian
"...the fascinating history of the men who trained to fly and maintain covertly obtained MiGs, for thr first time providing an insider's perspective, personal anecdotes, and photographs, revealing how Colonel Peck battled bureaucracy and skepticism to ultimately establish the premier fighter pilot training center -- the real Top Gun."
--Savannah Jones, www.sirereadalot.org
"chapters pack in a history of the pilots, the missions, and the military concepts behind them, making this a fine survey of the little-known Red Eagles project recommended for any military holding."
- The Midwest Book Review
About the Author
Colonel (Ret.) Gaillard R. Peck, Jr was a career officer in the United States Air Force. He is best known as the creator of the 'Constant Peg' program that trained US airmen against a collection of MiG fighter jets.
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However, this book is a very difficult read. The narrative is often broken when the author spends a few paragraphs talking about the early career of a pilot. After an interesting situation is introduced, pages and pages are dedicated to background information with little relevance.
In the end I skipped much of the book and didn't enjoy it at all.
Highlights for me were the description of how they operate in the Pentagon, the stories of the persistence and ingenuity of the (usually unsung, but not here) maintenance crews,and the detailed description of what it feels like to fly a jet. Colonel Peck's account is clearly from his own experience, but he thoughtfully includes the voices of others to expand the story. Did I get lost in the acronyms? Sometimes (though there's a glossary I could have consulted). But I did not get frustrated by this author's voice as some other reviewers. I recognized it as one of the most authentic notes in the book: this is how military people really speak: measured in tone, understated and indirect due to diplomacy, and often self-deprecating (though this last is less common in fighter pilots in my experience).
I recommend this book even if you are not connected to the military. If it touches you like it did me, you will come away with even more admiration for the very human heroes who serve and protect us all.
A book of greatest interest to military aviation-experienced readers, that are able to identify-with and comprehend the intense-jargon, acronyms, and unit designations.
--Chuck Miller, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret); Chief Instructor Pilot, KC135Q (SR-71 Inflight Refueling); NATO Exchange Instructor Pilot for developing Inflight Refueling capability with the modified Boeing 707 for the Canadian Armed Forces; and C/KC-135 Weapon System Manager (Structural Integrity Manager, KC-135E Re-engining creator, Mid-life C- & KC-135 upgrade manager, and overall technical and logistics management responsibilities for a $1 Billion annual fleet logistics budget).
One must already know: MiG-21 are "emulated" by F-5E and MiG-17 by A-4. This book tells who should be the best to perform as the MiG-23.
The weakness of strengths of US and russian/soviet fighters are well shown comparatively. Also, how the USAF evolved its fighter doctrine post-Vietnam was. A good book also, but in a more strategic approach dealing with this subject is "Every man a tiger"
The book could deal a lit bit more about the dogfights using the MiGs and also, when (if it was the case) they "loose" the engagement and why (I recall just one "lost" engagement)