Thud Ridge

J. P. Tremblay (Maps) Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1969. First Edition [stated], presumed first printing. Hardcover. 254 pages. Endpaper map. Maps. Introduction by Hanson W. Baldwin. Jacksel Markham "Jack" Broughton (January 4, 1925 – October 24, 2014) was a career officer and fighter pilot in the United States Air Force (USAF). Broughton entered the United States Military Academy on July 15, 1942, appointed from New York's 38th congressional district, in the wartime three-year curriculum that consolidated the cadet second (junior) and first class (senior) years into a single 12-month period. Between January and November 1951 Broughton flew two combat tours of duty in the Korean War, in F-80C Shooting Stars with the 8th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 49th Fighter-Bomber Group, at Taegu Air Base, and as flight leader for Project Swatrock, a combat field test of the Swiss-manufactured Oerlikon anti-tank rocket using the Republic F-84 Thunderjet as a test bed. He retired in the rank of colonel on August 31, 1968, with 43 separate awards and decorations, including four Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Silver Stars and the highest Air Force service decoration for heroism, the presidentially-awarded Air Force Cross. Broughton avowed that his proudest accomplishment was being combat-qualified in every air force fighter from the P-47 Thunderbolt to the F-106 Delta Dart. He authored two personal memoirs of the Vietnam War that were highly critical of the direction of the air war there and the rules of engagement. Following his retirement from the Air Force in 1968, Broughton was a manager in the flight test program and a technical planning advisor for the Space Shuttle Endeavour for Rockwell. This is the story of a special breed of warrior, the fighter-bomber pilot; the story of valiant men who flew the F-105 Thunderchief ‘Thud’ Fighter-Bomber over the hostile skies of North Vietnam. From the briefing rooms to the bombing runs, Colonel Jack Broughton recounts the high drama and flaming terror, the exhilaration and thrill of life on the edge. He relives the incredible feeling of high-speed, low-level sorties where SAM missiles, deadly flak, and enemy MiG fighters were all in a day's work. The bravery of the pilots and their commitment to each other in times of extreme fear, crisis and catastrophe are highlighted by vivid, fast moving aerial combat sequences. Thud Ridge is a fascinating and graphic memorial to the courage of American pilots, the power of their machines and their dedication to achieving successful missions despite the difficult challenges they faced. Thud Ridge continues to be an inspirational memoir for each new generation of air force officer candidates, as well as an enduring and timeless military history classic. Thud Ridge is a 1969 memoir by Jack Broughton about flying the F-105 "Thud" for the United States Air Force in the Vietnam War during Operation Rolling Thunder. The title Thud Ridge derives from the nickname given by F-105 pilots to the Tam Dao range, which was both a waypoint during air attacks in the vicinity of Hanoi, North Vietnam, and a terrain masking feature for ingressing fighters. The book set a style that was followed over the next several decades by a spate of gritty memoirs by air veterans of the Vietnam War. Broughton's book is unique to the extent that it was described as "history in the making" by Hanson W. Baldwin of the New York Times. The book is based on Broughton's tour of duty between September 1966 and June 1967 as vice commander of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, based at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. The narrative is anecdotal in nature, a commentary of his observations of persons, aircraft, and events during his tour, more or less chronologically, but without dated references. Few individuals are identified by other than first or nicknames, but Broughton develops most as characters through descriptions of their career backgrounds. Broughton's accounts of missions "up north" were enhanced in both accuracy and verisimilitude by verbatim transcriptions of radio transmissions he recorded using a small tape recorder mounted in the cockpit of his aircraft. In Thud Ridge Broughton is highly critical of the U.S. command structure directing air operations against North Vietnam. He blames micromanagement by the highest levels in Washington down to the Thirteenth Air Force, a command echelon based in the Philippines, for losses of men and aircraft that he characterizes as "astronomical" and "worthless." He is particularly critical, however, of the "bomber mentality" management by generals who came up through the Strategic Air Command and then occupied key command slots in the war, which was being fought by pilots of the Tactical Air Command. Broughton retired from the Air Force in August 1968 and had the memoir published by J. B. Lippincott. The book appeared soon after as a Bantam paperback, with reprint editions in 1985, 2002, and 2006. Broughton's book brought him into immediate disfavor with the Air Force hierarchy. However, thirty years after the incident resulting in the court martial, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Ronald R. Fogleman added Thud Ridge to the CSAF Professional Reading Program he instituted in 1996 and directed the Air Force to purchase 10,000 copies. Along with 12 other books on the reading list, Thud Ridge was provided at no expense to all Air Force officers upon their promotion to captain. Condition: Very good / Good.

Keywords: Vietnam War, U.S. Air Force, F-105, Thud Bomber, Vietcong, Guerrilla Warfare, Fighter Pilots, SAMs, Surface-to-Air, Thud Ridge, Flak, MiG Fighters, Aerial Combat

[Book #85002]

Price: $75.00

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