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MILITARY BOOKS

James Robert Haun

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Colonel James Robert Haun, USAF (ret.) “was born to a struggling Memphis, Tennessee lawyer and his wife Sept. 21,1911, the first of three children, their only son.  Because his mother died five days before his ninth birthday, young James -- while being swapped among assorted mid-South relatives -- early learned self-reliance.  Gifted with adventurous energy, by age 22 he had progressed from Eagle Scout to Western Union bike messenger, to working his way to Europe via hopped-freight and tramp steamer, to becoming a pilot and building his own airplane -- powered by a motorcycle engine!

 

His remarkably varied aviation career literally covered the globe, including personal encounters with Patton, Vandenberg, Truman, and Nixon.  He flew fighters, bombers, and transports -- rising to become Chief Pilot of MATS and Commander of the Presidential Squadron in Washington.  After retirement in 1965 he built an EAA biplane in his garage, wowed audiences at local air shows in a Snoopy outfit, and instructed hundreds of students (many now piloting airliners). He died April 2, 2001, loved by all who knew him.”  Colonel James Robert Haun is the author of Spitfire Wingman from Tennessee.

 

Major General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Jr., USAF (ret.) said of Spitfire Wingman from Tennessee, “I am fascinated by many of the very frank and unvarnished comments made by J.R. Haun in this published work. These comments get to the bottom of "what really happened" in a hurry! As the son of the Commander of Ninth Air Force during WWII, I was able to connect Haun's comments with what I was told as a teenager after my father's return from Europe in 1945. Having thus been able to confirm the author's credibility, I devoured this most interesting and unusual story. A Gem and a Keeper!”

One reader of Spitfire Wingman from Tennessee said, “This is one of the most enjoyable flying memoirs in this reviewer's experience. Author Haun actually flew every major Army Air Corps combat aircraft of WWII except for the B-24 and P-38. While he had some memorable moments flying Spitfires with a New Zeeland fighter squadron, he also flew combat in P-40s, P-47s, P-51s, B-20s and B-25s, just to name a few of his other aerial mounts. He is a great story teller, sometimes with tongue firmly in cheek, as he relates some touching and sometimes seriously funny stories about his brushes with notables during the war, including Winston Churchill and Generals George Patton, Pete Quesada and Hoyt Vandenberg. Haun began flying in 1929 and his early experience includes flying several planes he either built or modified himself when there was no CAB or FAA to guide aviators. The many brushes with death and accidents that ensue make riveting reading. His very seriously maverick personality is revealed in these early days and, if anything, he becomes even more unconventional once he enters the Army Air Corps and throughout his distinguished Air Force career. His involvement in the Berlin Airlift gives great insights into how the inadequate and dangerous early days of resupply became the logistics miracle of the 20th century under Major General Tunner. Later he is a senior pilot and Commander of President Truman's personal Air Force, what today is the 89th Airlift Wing, at Andrews AFB. His experiences as a greeter and horse holder while flying many distinguished Senators and Congressmen are hilarious. His frequent brushes with authority and regulations make for humorous reading and his self deprecation lends credibility to some tales that might otherwise just be "hangar flying." Haun continued to fly and instruct students well into his 80s and his story telling loses none of its grit and joy with age. Many original photographs enrich the text. This book will be a favorite read for anyone who enjoys flying stores and is, at the same time, a wonderful tribute to one of the true characters of military aviation.”

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