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Oswald Boelcke


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About the Author

Brigadier General RG Head graduated from the US Air Force Academy. At Syracuse University he graduated with an MPA and a PhD. He taught political science at the Air Force Academy and edited American Defense Policy. He was a distinguished graduate from the National War College, where he co-authored, Crisis Resolution: Presidential Decision-Making. While a military fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, he published 'Technology and the Military Balance' in Foreign Affairs. General Head was a fighter pilot flying the F-100 Super Sabre, the A-1 Skyraider, and the F-4 Phantom II, earning the Top Gun award in Advanced Fighter Training. He flew 325 combat missions over Vietnam. Later, he became the squadron commander of F-4s in the Philippines. He was a policy analyst for the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. He commanded NATO forces and has over 3,000 flying hours. His second career was as a vice president for Space Operations and Environmental Services, with contracts for US Space Command and the Navy. He retired in 2007 and lives with his wife in Coronado, California, where he captains a racing sailboat and builds models for the San Diego Air & Space Museum.


"This new biography by RG Head is a mixture of reverence and analysis. The author sets out to underline the importance of Boelcke to the history of air warfare while attempting to show us the man. Discovering anything in depth about him is not the easiest task, despite the existence of contemporary biographies written just after his death and other material to draw upon...Mr. Head's book is crammed with facts and impressions. It is written almost in a conversational style as if he was giving a talk over a decent gin and tonic to a few chums in a cosy bar. He digresses at times and repeats a few details, but the effect is to make the book feel very much that it is aimed directly at you, the reader. The author has written all this just for you... The author loves his subject matter and this shines through his writing. This book honours Oswald Boelcke. While I wouldn't hope for anything less, there is never a cast iron guarantee it would work out like that. Thankfully, RG Head has achieved what he set out to do. Other Great War fighter pilot books will be much more dry and perhaps more disciplined. This one seems very personal and the style and presentation works. Oswald Boelcke would probably read it with a wry smile. Not because he is still famous, but because he got things right and his dicta have survived the test of time. He really was the father of air combat."--Mark Barnes "War History Online "
"This fascinating volume by RG Head - BG, USAF ret, Lifetime River Rat, SEA veteran: A-1/Bien Hoa/1965; F-4/Udorn/1973 - captures combat aviation at its inception: no rules, little structure, minimal training, rapid changes of equipment; the only constants were courage and chaos."--MiG Sweep: The Magazine of Aviation Warriors
..". a good book about his person, his character, his profound appeal and his extraordinary importance until today, you should grab this book.As a former fighter pilot and Brigadier, R.G. Head wrote a multifaceted and vivid, never discursive analysis, which shows why Boelcke was the most significant military pilot of the 20th century and how he developed tactics, techniques and procedures, not only for German military aviation. Absolutely recommended!"--Flugzeug Classic
..".unique since it was written by a fighter pilot looking very specifically at Oswald Boelcke. The author also dedicated this book to the cadets of the USAF Academy."--Flieger Blatt, The Magazine of the German Military Aviators Association, No. 5
..".a most interesting book, far more than a biography, addresses the strategic and tactical doctrines for the employment of air power during the period 1914-1916 and the development of the aircraft as a weapon with particular reference to the German Albatross series of fighters...highly recommend this book to all with interest in the First World War in the Air.--PropSwing
"It was a pleasure reading the book which, in my opinion, is not only a biography of Oswald Boelcke but also an interesting, good description of air war events in both WW 1 and 2; a more than complete recompilation of air combat statistics and in a way a text book for beginner pilots of air combat and even experienced 'top guns'."--Axel Boelcke, Nephew of Oswald Boelcke
"A fascinating read, this biography is drawn from Boelcke's personal letters to his parents and German Air Service documents. This book is a must for all who have an interest in aviation and particularly WWI."--Daedalus Flyer
"This is one of the finest overall life stories of any combat pilot I've read, and I'm sure that you'll enjoy it as much as I did."--The Military Advisor, Fall 2017

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