Sherman Lead

Sherman Lead

Flying the F-4D Phantom II in Vietnam

General Aviation
  • Author: Gaillard R. Peck, Jr
  • Short code: GNA
  • Publication Date: 21 Mar 2019
  • Number of Pages: 304
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About this Product

Written by a pilot who flew near-daily combat missions, this engrossing book is the story of one man, his colleagues and his machine, the mighty F-4 Phantom II, at war.

Sherman Lead
is the gripping story of a year flying the F-4 in combat during the Vietnam War, told through the eyes of a fighter pilot. Operating out of Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand in 1968-69, Gail Peck and his squadronmates in the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing were tasked with flying combat missions into North Vietnam and Laos at this time as part of Operations Rolling Thunder and Steel Tiger.

The F-4 was heavily involved in the air-to-ground mission at this time, with targets being well defended by enemy anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles. Gail Peck's arrival in-theatre coincided with the beginning of electro-optical and laser guided ‘smart' bomb combat operations. There were periods of fierce combat interspersed with lulls, and the fighting was intense and unforgettable to those who participated. Some men lived through it, and others died without a clear understanding of why.

Biographical Note

Gaillard R Peck Jr. is an Air Force Academy graduate and retired US Air Force colonel. He graduated top of his class during pilot training, but was denied his career goal of a fighter assignment, instead being retained as an instructor. F-4 training eventually followed this initial interval, along with an immediate combat assignment to the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron. He subsequently flew 163 combat missions, many of which were conducted at night, and was awarded the Silver Star and three Distinguished Flying Crosses. He served as an instructor in the MiG-17 and later both the F-5E and MiG-21 as a ‘Red Eagles' aggressor pilot in the program known as Constant Peg. His career continued with assignments to Saudi Arabia during the Iran/Iraq War and as an operational F-15 Eagle pilot and commander in Japan. Peck retired from active duty in 1988, and since 1998 he has been an F-15C, F-22 and Special Ops academic instructor at the USAF Weapons School at Nellis AFB. Among numerous other honours, in 2013 he was inducted into the State of Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.


1. So how did we get mixed up in Vietnam?
2. Getting into fighters
3. Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, the 433rd TFS and a Taste of Combat with Electro-Optically Guided Bombs
4. Party Suits and Howdy Hats
5. Dumb Bomb Combat Almost Every Day
6. Snakes and Lizards and Golf
7. Night Combat with Brian McMahan and Norm ‘Phenius' Fogg
8. Christmas Day 1968 - a Combat Mission and then Christmas Dinner with the Grays
9. Laser-Guided Bombs
10. A Bad Night - Sherman Lead is Down
11. The Club, R&R and LBFMs
12. Silver Star Mission
13, Plain de Jars and the area known as Barrel Roll
14. Jeb Stewart is Down
15. Paul Bannon and Peter Pike - Down
16. ‘Poppa Wolf', Ray Battle, Brings One Home
17. Men on the Moon
18. A Broken Jaw, a Cancelled Assignment and a ‘Dear John' Letter
19. Sherman Lead Repatriated - At Last

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