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MILITARY BOOKS

Walter Merritt Pickard

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Colonel Walter Merritt Pickard, USAF (ret.) passed away in 2004.  According to 323rd Bomb Squadron website, Colonel Walter Merritt Pickard earned “his pilot’s wings in April, 1942 he was immediately assigned to a B-17 with the 91st BG and sent to Bassingbourn England where he was one of the first to fly daylight combat missions over Germany.  His plane, “The Delta Rebel” was one of the first to complete 25 missions in the European theatre. 

 

He remained in the Air Force and his combined military service was 32 years experiencing four wars, flying a combat tour in B/17s and B-19’s, B-47’s, B-52’s and B-58’s during the Korean and Cld Wars.  He was a Wing Commander of the 633rd Special Operations wings, Piciku Airbase in the Central Highlands of Vietnam where he flew A-1 Skyraiders.  He survived over 245 combat missions including 220 in Vietnam.  Colonel Walter Merritt Pickard is the author of The Gods Smiled: A Memoir.

According to the MOAA The Gods Smiled: A Memoir, “is the story of one of the tens of thousands of young American men who became "Accidental Warriors" in the Air Force during World War II and who continued to serve during the Cold War. Pickard relates the stress and sense of achievement of undergraduate pilot training and the transition to a B-17 aircraft commander. His B-17 crew joined the 91st Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force in England on Dec. 1, 1943, and took part in the bloody air battles with the Luftwaffe during the dark, cold, critical winter of 1943-44, when the U.S. and Royal air forces wrested control of the air space over Europe from the Germans. Pickard recalls in easily understood terms the strategic concepts underlying this first test of strategic air power theory and describes in chilling detail the air battles with the Luftwaffe. Later in the book, Pickard relates the challenges and frustrations encountered in the "Puzzle Palace" where his duties made him privy to policy decisions, which led to our involvement in the Vietnam War. His candid and scathing comments on how the political leadership stumbled into that morass, probably abetted by one of the services, will undoubtedly raise hackles.”

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