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


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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)

Colonel Howard C. “Scrappy” Johnson is a retired command pilot who has flown over 7,000 hours in fifteen fighter planes. He is an inductee in the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame and lives 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.