Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review: Rupert Red Two

Jack Broughton’s Rupert Red Two completes the trilogy, Thud Ridge (1969) and Going Downtown (1988) and concentrates on his life from a West Point Cadet in 1945 throughout his distinguished flying career. Jack Broughton flew P-47’s following WWII and F-80’s and F-84’s in Korea.  He led the famed Thunderbirds from 1954 to 1957 and touched on his service in Vietnam.

This book was a great read. I haven’t sat non-stop with a book in ages but this one kept me picking it up at every free moment wanting to see where this mans career turned next.  Here is a bit more info on the Pilot, Colonel and warrior.

Jacksel (Jack) Markham Broughton (born January 4, 1925) was a career officer and fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. He retired in the rank of colonel on August 31, 1968, with 43 separate awards and decorations, including four Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Silver Stars and the highest Air Force decoration, the presidentially-awarded Air Force Cross. Broughton avowed that his proudest accomplishment was being combat-qualified in every Air Force fighter from the P-47 to the F-106. He authored two personal memoirs of the Vietnam War that were highly critical of the direction of the air war there and the rules of engagement.

World War II ended before Broughton could participate in combat missions. He initially combat-qualified as a pilot in North American B-25 Mitchell medium bombers at Enid Army Air Field, Oklahoma, and was in training to become a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress pilot at Hendricks Army Air Field, Florida, when he received orders in December 1945 transferring him to Europe as a fighter pilot.

His first operational assignment in March 1946 was as a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt pilot in the 389th Fighter Squadron, 366th Fighter Group, at Fritzlar Air Base, Germany, followed by a transfer in June 1947 to the 525th Fighter Squadron, 86th Fighter Group at Neubiberg Air Base, where he was stationed in September 1947 when the USAF became a separate service. He returned to the United States in 1948, and after two brief instructor assignments he described as "unattractive", joined the newly created Fighter Weapons Squadron at Las Vegas Air Force Base, Nevada.

Between January and November 1951 Broughton flew two combat tours of duty in the Korean War, in F-80C Shooting Stars with the 8th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 49th Fighter-Bomber Group, at Taegu Air Base, and as flight leader for Project Swatrock, a combat field test of the Swiss-manufactured Oerlikon anti-tank rocket using the Republic F-84 Thunderjet as a test bed.  After Korea, Broughton became Crew Training Air Force (CREWTAF) operations officer at Del Rio Air Force Base, Texas, directing training in F-84s. He transferred in 1953 to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, to commanded one of the first F-84F Thunderstreak squadrons, a firepower demonstration team, leading the team to win the 1954 Bendix Trophy Race.

From October 1954 to February 1957 Broughton commanded the Thunderbirds, the USAF aerial demonstration team, leading them through the transition from the straight-wing F-84G to the swept-wing F-84F, and then to become the world's first supersonic acrobatic team in the F-100C Super Sabre. After assignments at Vincent Air Force Base, Arizona, and Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, commanding a fighter weapons systems training squadron, Broughton spent a year in Ankara, Turkey, as a member of the U.S. Military Assistance Group there.  His tour was cut short by a medical emergency involving his son, and he transferred in 1961 to the staff of the 78th Air Defense Wing at Hamilton Air Force Base, California.

From September 1962 to June 1964, when he was promoted to colonel, Broughton commanded the 5th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, an Air Defense Command squadron of Convair F-106 Delta Darts, and was instrumental in getting the aircraft's deadly ejection seat replaced. He graduated from two professional military education schools, the Air Command and Staff College in 1958,  and the National War College in 1965.  He was then assigned as deputy commander for operations (DCS/Ops) of the 6441st Tactical Fighter Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan. The 6441st TFW had been activated in 1964 to control both the nuclear strike mission and rotational combat duties in Thailand of three squadrons of Republic F-105 Thunderchiefs.

His final assignment was as Vice Commander of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base between September 1966 and June 1967, leading 102 missions against targets in North Vietnam in the F-105.

I plan on ordering Thud Ridge and Going Downtown to finish out the series. Colonel Broughton did a fabulous job sharing his story. I thank him for his service and insight into his flying career.

1 comment:

Brent at said...

I read Thud Ridge when I was a kid - great book! I need to check out his other offerings.