It is the tremendous arc of his aviation career that makes William Gregory's story so compelling. As a young man, already well aquainted with view from behind a mule-drawn plow, Greg began to imagine a better life. Those early musing, buoyed by his early spiritual awakening and the strong support of a loving family, morphed into a confidence that he could do better, and then to a conviction that he would.
Greg found an unlikely pathway to college, and it was there that his confidence and growing curiosity encountered the dread and opportunity that came from America's entry into World War II. There, at a small northern Tennessee college, Greg would begin an unlikely but far-reaching career in aviation.
First as a P-38 fighter pilot in the Mediterranean Theater during the harsh summer of 1943, and later as a SAC bomber pilot during the dawn of the Cold War, Greg perfected his flight skills, and came to recognize his own leadership abilities. Attributes that were also recognized by others in SAC, and within the growing American intelligence community.
Greg entered the U.S.'s high altitude program in 1956, routinely flying RB-57 reconnaissance aircraft to altitudes unimagined just a decade earlier. And having completed a tour with the Black Knights, Greg was tapped for further high altitude work. This time in the U-2, and for the Central Intelligence Agency.
(Richardson's) writing style makes it difficult to take a break from reading as it draws the reader in very well. While there have been a number of writers that have tried to tell the story, they have been replete with inaccuracies. In contrast, (Richardson has) done an exceptional job in the research and presented it fantastically.
The biography of William Gregory and the history of the world events surrounding his life give context to the stories the families gleaned decades after the events of the 1960’s. Within these pages are contained the challenges, disappointments and victories these heroes endured while performing a difficult job.
- Eric Knutson
Lockheed Martin Co.
This biography is the result of years of research, innumerable interviews and conversations with Col. Gregory, extensive travel, and many hours at the National Archives (above), and the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell AFB.
The accumulated materials may be of interest to readers who seek a deeper understanding into America's Cold War decision-making and operations, or to those engaged in similar research.
Much of that material is included within this website, and may be accessed below:
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