Engrossing recollections from a former Air Force officer who survived the unfriendly skies of both Nazi-occupied Europe and Southeast Asia. A farmer's son from California's Sacramento Valley, Anderson was an aviation aficionado from boyhood on. Having trained as a plane mechanic before Pearl Harbor, he won his Army Air Corps wings at age 20 in the fall of 1942. Posted to England with a P-51 (Mustang) squadron, he scored over 16 confirmed kills in aerial combat against the Luftwaffe. Following his WW II service in the ETO, Anderson married the widow of a downed comrade and decided to stick with the peacetime military. To his great disgust, however, he was assigned to recruiting duty--a job that left him little chance to fly. Then Chuck Yeager, a close friend from their days with the 357th Fighter Group, helped get Anderson back in the air--as a test pilot. Despite his lack of a college degree, the author participated in a wealth of advanced (and invariably risky) research projects, eventually becoming chief of flight-test operations at Edwards AFB. To escape the Pentagon, he spent his last tour commanding an F-105 wing based in Thailand during the early 1970's. Anderson's son was in Vietnam at the time (flying a tiny 0-2), and the two teamed up for a couple of leaflet-dropping missions over VC strongholds. Now retired, Anderson keeps his hand in by flying vintage Mustangs at air shows. His down-to-earth account of an eventful, productive career in a hellishly unforgiving profession suggests that Wolfean notions about ""the right stuff"" are on the money.