"To Fly and Fight" Memoirs of a Triple Ace

Bud Anderson is a flyerís flyer.

The Californianís enduring love of flying began in the 1920s with the planes that flew over his fatherís farm. In January 1942, he entered the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program. Later, after he received his wings and flew P-39s, he was chosen as one of the original flight leaders of the new 357th Fighter Group. Equipped with the new and deadly P-51 Mustang, the group shot down five aircraft for each one it lost while escorting bombers to targets deep inside Germany. But the price was high. Half of its pilots were killed or imprisoned, including some of Budís closest friends.

In February 1944, Bud Anderson entered the uncertain, exhilarating and deadly world of aerial combat. He flew two tours of combat against the Luftwaffe in less than a year. In battles sometimes involving hundreds of planes, he ranked among the groupís leading aces with 16 ľ aerial victories.He flew 116 missions in his "Old Crow" without ever being hit by enemy aircraft or turning back for any reason, despite one life or death confrontation after another.

His friend Chuck Yeager, who flew with Anderson in the 357th says, "In an airplane, the guy was a mongoose...the best fighter pilot I ever saw."

Budís years as a test pilot were at least as risky. In one bizarre experiment, he repeatedly linked up in midair with B-29 bomber, wingtip to wingtip. In other tests he flew a jet fighter that was launched and retrieved from a giant B-36 bomber. As in combat, he lost many friends flying tests such as these.

Bud commanded a squadron of F-86 jet fighters in post-Korea, and a wing of F-105s on Okinawa during the mid-1960s. In 1970 Ė at age 48 Ė he flew combat strikes as a wing commander against Communist supply lines.

"To Fly and Fight" is about flying, plain and simple: the joys and dangers and the very special skills it demands. Touching, thoughtful, and dead honest, it is the story of a boy who grew up living his dream.

 

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