Crusader!: Last of the Gunfightersby Paul T. Gillcrist
Once known as the "Last of the Gunfighters", the Vought F-8 Crusader has since become a legend in the histories of the U.S. and French navies, as well as a scourge in the skies over North Vietnam in the late 1960s! CRUSADER! is a vital oral history of one of the most controversial fighter planes in carrier aviation. A key to the authenticity of this story are the author's personal interviews with sixteen of the seventeen living Crusader pilots who became MiG killers in the Vietnam air war. His analysis of their aerial engagements over North Vietnam from 1965 to 1973 contains some startling surprises, as well as a validation of many of the tactical lessons learned from World War II and Korea. CRUSADER! also contains personal accounts by F-8 speed record holders such as U.S. Marine Corps Major (now Senator) John Glenn and Captains Bob Dose and "Duke" Windsor. Other aviation records held by the Crusader, (not so enviable) are told, in anecdotal form, for the first time by the author, an F-8 driver and participant in some of them! Colorful, and sometimes humorous, accounts of events involving the F-8 and "Crusader Drivers" abound in this chronicle of carrier aviation covering the three decades when this remarkable airplane was an important element of the U.S. Navy's carrier strike forces. Rear Admiral Paul T. Gillcrist commanded a fleet Crusader squadron, then a carrier air wing and finally, as a flag officer, became wing commander for all Pacific Fleet fighter squadrons. During his fleet squadron command he completed three carrier deployments to the Tonkin Gulf and flew 167 combat missions in the Crusader for which he was awarded seventeen combat decorations. The author of FEET WET,Reflections of a Carrier Pilot (1990) and TOMCAT, The Grumman F-14 Story (1994), Admiral Gillcrist is well qualified to write the story of the Crusader!
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I recently purchased this book after reading the authors other two books, "Feet Wet" & "Tomcat". The author combines technical details as well as pilot accounts which makes this book hard to put down. I am a huge aviation buff, and in by opinion, Mr. Gillchrist's books are the most enjoyable ones that I have ever read. And I have all of them.