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Published on Dec 15, 2012
In January 2012, more than forty years after his last combat sortie, General Merrill McPeak traveled to Southern Laos with his two sons in search of what's left of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In 1969, with the famous MISTY squadron, McPeak flew 269 combat missions trying to stop enemy traffic down the trail.
Years after his service in Vietnam, General McPeak would become the 14th chief of staff of the United States Air Force. Prior to the war, he spent two years with the Air Force's elite aerobatic team, the Thunderbirds, performing before millions of people in nearly 200 official air shows in the U.S. and overseas.
This early stage of his military career, from his service in fighter squadrons through the year in Vietnam, is described in his memoir, "Hangar Flying." The book "provides all a reader could require in the way of aerial maneuvers, sorties and military strategy" (the Oregonian); "by turn poetic, amusing, insightful, poignant and often self-deprecating, [Hangar Flying] is a potent mix blending domestic detail with life-on-the-line escapades, be they risky acrobatic displays as part of the Thunderbirds team or sorties in Vietnam" (East Anglian Daily Times). Learn more at http://www.generalmcpeak.com