Bud Anderson is a Flyer's Flyer
The Californian's enduring love of flying began in the 1920s with the planes
that flew over his father's farm. In January 1942, he entered the Army Air
Corps Aviation Cadet Program. Later after he received his wings and flew
P-39s, he was chosen as one of the original flight leaders of the new 357th
Fighter Group. Equipped with the new and deadly P-51 Mustang, the group
shot down five enemy aircraft for each one lost while escorting bombers to
targets deep inside Germany. But the price was high. Half of its
pilots were killed or imprisoned, including some of Bud's closest friends.
In February 1944, Bud Anderson entered the uncertain, exhiliarating, and
deadly world of aerial combat. He flew two tours of combat against the
Luftwaffe in less than a year. In battles sometimes involving hundreds of
airplanes, he ranked among the group's leading aces with 16 1/4 aerial
victories. He flew 116 missions in his Old Crow without ever being hit by
enemy aircraft or turning back for any reason desipte one life or death
confrontation after another.
His friend Chuck Yeager, who flew with Anderson in the 357th says, "In an
airplane, the guy was a mongoose--the best fighter pilot I ever saw."
Bud's years as a test pilot were at least as risky. In one bizarre
expirement, he repeatedly linked up in midair with a B-29 bomber. As in
combat, he lost many friends flying tests such as these.
Bud commanded a squadron of F-86 jet fighters in postwar Korea and a wing of
F-105s on Okinawa during the mid 1960s. In 1970 at age forty-eight, he flew
combat strikes as a wing commander against communist supply lines
To Fly and Fight is about flying, plain and simple--the joys and dangers and
the very special skills it demands. Touching, thoughtful and dead honest,
it is the story of a boy who grew up living his dream.