Memoir of a U.S. Fighter Pilot in Korea and Vietnam


In stock

About the Book

From World War II to high above the Earth to Vietnam, this memoir tells the story of fighter pilot Howard C. “Scrappy” Johnson. Beginning with his early years in Knoxville, Tennessee, the book follows Johnson through his career at the University of Louisville and his enlistment as an Air Force cadet at the onset of World War II. After World War II, Johnson served a tour of duty in the skies over Korea and in 1958 broke the world’s altitude record by over 14,000 feet, soaring at 91,249 feet in his F-104A Starfighter. For this remarkable feat he was awarded the Collier Trophy, aviation’s highest honor. In Vietnam, he was director of operations for the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing and was instrumental in founding the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots, a group dedicated to the remembrance of fallen and captured airmen. Written with panache, this work records the bigger-than-life adventures of one of America’s finest.

About the Author(s)

The late Colonel Howard C. “Scrappy” Johnson was a retired command pilot who flew over 7,000 hours in fifteen fighter planes. He was an inductee in the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame and lived in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Writer Ian A. O’Connor is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and lives in South Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Howard C. “Scrappy” Johnson and Ian A. O’Connor

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 280
Bibliographic Info: 24 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3204-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5498-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments       vii
Preface      1
Prologue      3

1. River Rats      5
2. Growing Up      13
3. “Louavall”      23
4. The Army Air Corps      34
5. Laredo      47
6. The Big Bang      60
7. The Philippines      71
8. The Police Action      87
9. Back to the Philippines      105
10. Cape Cod      112
11. Way Up North      124
12. California      138
13. Starfighter      151
14. The Collier Trophy      166
15. The Luftwaffe      178
16. The Tactical Air Command      184
17. Hell      194
18. Thailand      199
19. In the Beginning      214
20. Korat Confidential      225
21. Stateside Again      233
22. Punchin’ Cattle      242
23. Scalawag      253
24. Finis      257

Biographical Summaries      261
Index      263

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Scrappy—a living aviation legend. A must read.”—Robert J. Gilliland, Chief Test Pilot, SR-71 Blackbird
  • “He’s a fighter pilot’s fighter pilot”—Ronald Fogleman, General, USAF (Ret.), Chief of Staff, USAF, 1994–1997
  • “Our country is fortunate to have patriots like Colonel Johnson, who are the guardians at the gates of our freedom!”—Ross Perot