Many former members of the 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Minot Air Force Base say Col. Jack Broughton was a tough but fair commander.
Brough-ton also would never expect his people to do anything that he wouldn't do himself.
In his new 352-page book, "Rupert Red Two," which was released this year, Broughton relates his experiences flying fighters and leading military units during his military career at Minot AFB and other places. The book also is a story of the U.S. Air Force.
Submitted Art •
This is the cover of a new book, “Rupert Red Two,” by Jack Broughton, a former commander at Minot Air Force Base. Broughton takes much pride in being combat ready in every fighter plane from the P-47 Thunderbolt to the F-106 Delta Dart.
"I wrote this book because I had the opportunity to be part of the last of the propeller fighters, through the first of the new jet fighters, and all of the century series of jet fighters. There is no other first-hand, cockpit-oriented history of this, the golden years of fighter aviation," Broughton said.
Broughton, whose military career began in the 1940s with the Army Air Corps after graduating from West Point, retired from the Air Force in 1968. He and his wife, Alice "A.J." live in Lake Forest, Calif.
He explained what he would like readers to gain from this book.
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"I would like readers to retain a feel for the responsibilities of military command in a high-performance arena, and to share some of the sheer exhilaration of flying fighter aircraft," he said.
"Rupert Red Two: A Fighter Pilot's Life from Thunderbolts to Thunderchiefs" opens with a chapter about Minot AFB. Broughton describes sitting on the base runway on an August morning in 1963 on his way to a monthly meeting with his boss and what transpired when he had problems with the F-106 he was flying.
The ejection seats in these F-106s had a success rate of zero at the time. Broughton, who "stuck by his guns," so to speak, would not back down to his bosses and as a result, measures were taken to replace the "killer" ejection seat in the F-106 with a new one.
That was just Broughton's way to "stick by his guns" until what needed to be done was done.
In an interview with The Minot Daily News in 2004, Broughton said his theory was that he wouldn't have any of his people do anything that he couldn't do. "That was one of my pride and joys," he said.
Broughton flew many fighters during his career and flew more than 200 combat missions.
"I got to fly them all, and we had a lot more new and different models of fighters becoming part of the inventory than we do at present. There are not that many different ones for them to fly," he said.
"Also, today's Air Force tends to put a new pilot in one particular type of aircraft, and may well keep him there throughout his flying career," Broughton said.
Some of his most memorable and enjoyable years were commanding the Air Force's Thunderbirds demonstration team in the 1950s and commanding the 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Minot AFB, he said.
Broughton has a significant amount of material in his book about Minot AFB.
"Why not Minot? Minot turned out to be one of the most significant parts of my aircraft career, and it was certainly one of my most satisfying, and just plain fun assignments. The challenges I faced running the Spittin' Kittens (5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron) proved to be tremendous experiences in leadership and command. I believe some of my accounts can be of value to the reader in whatever his endeavors may be," Broughton said.
"I also enjoyed the opportunity to recall the names of friends like Carl Flagstad of The News, and my 5th Fighter compadres who made the experience possible," Broughton added.
Broughton retired from the Air Force with 43 separate awards and decorations, including four Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Silver Stars, and the Air Force Cross, the Air Force's highest award for individual heroism in combat.
Jack and A.J. Broughton visited Minot AFB and Minot in August 2004 where he was the first person inducted into Minot AFB's Heritage Hall. He also was the guest speaker for a reunion of the 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron held in conjunction with Northern Neighbor's Day open house at the base.
Broughton has written two other best-selling books, "Thud Ridge" and "Going Downtown."
Broughton said he is considering another book project, but he hasn't jumped into it yet.