Red Eagles: The USAF's Cold War Secret Squadon

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From the late 1960s until the end of the Cold War, the United States Air Force acquired and flew Russian-made MiG jets, culminating in a secret squadron dedicated to exposing American fighter pilots to enemy technology and tactics.

Red Eagles tells the story of this squadron from the first tests of MiGs following the Vietnam War when the USAF had been woefully under-prepared in aerial combat. These initial flights would develop into the "black"...

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New in d/w Aviation-General From the mid-1960s until the end of the Cold War, the US Air Force acquired and flew Russian-made MiG jets, eventually creating a secret squadron to ... expose American fighter pilots to the enemy aircraft they were likely to meet in combat. In this program MiGs were secretly acquired, and selected ace pilots were trained to fly the assets-exactly as they were flown by America's enemies. This book tells the fascinating story of the secret, Nevada based Red Eagles Squadron, using recently declassified information and firsthand accounts from the pilots who took part in the program. UL-XXXXXX. 352pp, numerous colour photos. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Red Eagles: Americas Secret MiGs

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Overview

From the late 1960s until the end of the Cold War, the United States Air Force acquired and flew Russian-made MiG jets, culminating in a secret squadron dedicated to exposing American fighter pilots to enemy technology and tactics.

Red Eagles tells the story of this squadron from the first tests of MiGs following the Vietnam War when the USAF had been woefully under-prepared in aerial combat. These initial flights would develop into the "black" or classified program known internally as Constant Peg.

At a secret air base in Nevada, ace American fighter pilots were presented with a range of differnet MiG jets with a simple remit: to expose "the threat" to as many of their brethern as possible. Maintaining and flying these "assets" without without spare parts or manuals was an almost impossible task, putting those flying the MiGs in mortal danger on every flight.

Despite these challenges, in all more than 5,900 American aircrews would train against America's secret MiGs, giving them the eskills they needed to face the enemy in real combat situations.

For the first time, this book tells the story of Constant Peg and the 4477th Red Eagles Squadron in the words of the men who made it possible.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Davies' Red Eagles is a fitting tribute to [the pilots who died flying the Mi-Gs], and to all those who flew and supported the MiG training effort. His is a wonderful tale, superbly told, unveiling one of the last great unknown cold war stories." -Richard P Hallion, Air & Space (March 2009)

"...a notable achievement ... a powerful survey." -California Bookwatch, November 2008

"...the book benefits from recently declassified information. ...[The stories of] over 30 pilots and crewmen that participated in the unit ... makes [for] an interesting read." - Air Classics

"Every once in a while, one runs across a book that simply sucks one into the story from page one until the end of the book. This is one of those ... So good is this book that if you buy only two or three aviation books a year, this one needs to be one of those." -Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com (October 2008)

"This is an engaging combination of an adventure story and a case study in military reform...Davies' major achievement is his demonstration of the Red Eagles' role in facilitating the USAF's development into a potent instrument of air supremacy that remains important even in the current era of antiterrorism."- Publishers Weekly (July 2008)

Publishers Weekly

This is an engaging combination of an adventure story and a case study in military reform. The Vietnam War showed the U.S. Air Force's neglect of air-to-air combat training in the belief that it was outmoded by nuclear war. Repairing that damage required a training system using Soviet bloc planes as well as air-combat tactics. Davies, a freelance expert on military aviation, explores fresh sources to begin telling how the U.S. acquired the aircraft, put them into flying condition and established a top-secret program that gave generations of young pilots something approaching experience in the realities of dogfighting. Davies eloquently describes the forceful, colorful personalities at the sharp end of this high-risk maverick operation. The book provides a perceptive analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of mid-generation Soviet MiGs that significantly expands understanding of the Arab-Israeli and Indo-Pakistan encounters involving those aircraft. Davies's major achievement is his demonstration of the Red Eagles' role in facilitating the USAF's development into a potent instrument of air supremacy that remains important even in the current era of antiterrorism. (Sept. 23)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781846033780
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/23/2008
  • Series: General Aviation Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 9.38 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Davies is a freelance military and commercial aviation photojournalist based in Cambridge, England. He began writing in 2001, and has since authored six critically acclaimed books and co-authored three more. His freelance writing includes a plethora of articles penned for the world’s leading monthly and quarterly aviation publications, and he has also worked on a range of aviation ‘partwork’ magazines that have sold millions of copies globally. He has also worked as a subject matter expert for a range of military aviation documentaries commissioned by terrestrial television channels in the UK and North America, and by the History Channel. His photography has been used not only by the aviation press, but also by leading defence contractors and aviation corporations.
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Table of Contents


Dedication 6 Acknowledgments 7 Foreword 10 Introduction 12 Part 1 Acquiring "The Assets" 15 Chapter 1 HAVE MiGs, 1968-69 16 Chapter 2 A Genesis for the Red Eagles, 1972-77 21 Part 2 Laying the Ground Work 49 Chapter 3 Constant Peg and Tonopah, 1977-79 50 Chapter 4 The Red Eagles' First Days and the Early MiGs 78 Chapter 5 The "Flogger" Arrives, 1980 126 Chapter 6 Gold Wings, 1981 138 Part 3 Expanded Exposures and Red Flag, 1982-85 155 Chapter 7 The Fatalists, 1982 156 Chapter 8 Postai's Crash 176 Chapter 9 Exposing the TAF, 1983 193 Chapter 10 "The Air Force is Coming," 1984 221 Chapter 11 From Black to Gray, 1985 256 Part 4 The Final Years, 1986-88 275 Chapter 12 Increasing Blue Air Exposures, 1986 276 Chapter 13 "Red Country," 1987 293 Chapter 14 Arrival Shows, 1988 318 Postscript 327 Endnotes 330 Appendices 334 Glossary 342 Index 346
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 1, 2009

    Red Eagles describes a monumental effort to train USAF pilots - In a way never done before

    This book has special meaning to me. One of the innovative men described in the book was my brother. The efforts made to train our pilots for their encounters in the sky over Vietnam required a group of airmen to create a new method of training - train against the actual aircraft they would meet in combat. This represented the ultimate in "thinking out of the box".

    Most of the legends of the program are now gone, but what they started will live forever. How many lives were saved by the radical training they started will never be known; but their efforts were not in vain.

    For a look at how the military operates, and how a small group went around the standard operating procedures to implement a revolution in tactical thinking, read Red Eagles. Once you start, you will not want to stop until you finish.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2014

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    A nice look into the secret MiG squadron that flew in the 70's

    A nice look into the secret MiG squadron that flew in the 70's and '80's out of Tonopah, NV and Area 51 by Air Force, Navy and Marine pilots. Told in nearly chronological order there is a lot of information, with a huge cast of characters that is sometimes difficult to keep straight (booking the index page at the end with the list of pilots helps). The narrative flow isn't all that great with lot's of quoted storytelling from the participants rather than the author. There are also a lot of acronyms that someone outside of the military will have to adjust to. But, the information presented is extremely interesting.

    Planes flown included the MiG 17 Fresco, MiG 21 Fishbed and MiG 23 Flogger. From the technical specs and playing computer games such as Harpoon, I always thought the MiG 23 was a more dangerous plane. But, from this book none of the pilots really liked it and preferred the MiG 21.

    The eBook was formatted well, but with several spelling errors. There are also several photos in two different sections of the book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Not enough action so far

    I am about a third of the way through and it hasn't "grabbed" me yet. A little on the dull side with too many details on funding of the program, etc. I would rather have a little more meat about how the Russian jets were to fly and how they were to fly against. Maybe that is yet to come?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted November 7, 2008

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    Posted April 18, 2010

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    Posted October 23, 2009

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