This book examines the American Air Force aircrews who flew tactical reconnaissance combat missions from World War I to the Gulf War. The book employs primary-source interviews, unit histories, mission documents, declassified operational studies, and photos to tell their stories. In the first half of the 20th century, they flew armed and defended themselves against enemy aircraft. In the latter half of the 20th century, they flew “unarmed and unafraid” against MiG fighters and some of the most intense antiaircraft defences in history. Many returned with photographs that helped pave the way for bombing assessments and army ground operations. Others never returned, and some have never been found. The author personally interviewed reconnaissance pilots who flew in WWII, Korea, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vietnam in order to place the reader into the cockpit. Aviation buffs and general readers alike will find this a riveting story of grit and courage.
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