America’s Secret MIG Squadron
The Red Eagles of Project CONSTANT PEG
By Col. (Ret.) Gaillard R. Peck, Jr.
This is the story of the secret, black ops project conceived by members of the USAF during the later stages of the Viet-Nam War. The fliers from the Fighter Weapons School saw, and experienced, the unpreparedness of the fighter pilots being sent to the Viet-Nam battle zone. These men flew missions over hostile territory having been trained only in F4 Phantoms versus other Phantoms, and were surprised when they encountered the MIGs flown by the North Vietnamese. It was said that if a fighter pilot survived his first ten missions, he would survive his tour. The tactics in use in Vietnam were those developed during the Korean War. These tactics left American fighter pilots “sitting ducks” in the new long-range missile war.
Some of the Weapons Officers, the back seat boys, came up with a plan to strengthen the knowledge of the fledgling pilots. This led to the formation of the Aggressor Squadrons, flying the F-5 fighters. Other officers, including the author, felt this was not enough. The F-5 was fine for aggressor training but still not the Soviet manufactured aircraft. The USAF was conducting evaluation tests on some acquired MIG’s and disseminating the information for comparison purposes. Charts were still not enough to shake a fighter pilot on his first meeting with a real, live MIG.
These officers formulated a plan where fliers who had flown the MIGs would be concentrated in a single unit and graduate pilots would be brought in to fly simulated combat against the real thing. This plan was given the “go ahead” by the Pentagon. The next phase was to establish a base, gather personnel and most of all flyable MIGs.
This book is the complete story from the inception of the project, to the naming and funding of this project, to the selection of a base in the Nevada desert. The book details the trials and tribulations of converting an idea into a workable plan that is acceptable to the brass. A substantial portion of the narrative is kept for the reminiscences of the people who took part in this venture. Incidentally, the project ran from 1979 until it was shut down in 1988, after flying some 50,000 sorties. This project was directly responsible for the aerial successes in Kosovo, Libya and the Gulf War. This book contains numerous anecdotes and stories told by the participants about the people and events associated with this black ops squadron.
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Aggressor Squadrons, off-beat history of the USAF or to aviation “buffs”, in general. I found this book easy reading from cover to cover and very hard to put down, and think that you will feel the same.
This book is available from Osprey Publications.
This book is available in three different formats and they are;