Nightfighter: Radar Intercept Killer

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"Nightfighter: Radar Intercept Killer"

Reviewed by Richard J. Schwan, Captain, US Army (RA) /Military Historian
Combat Veteran, 1st Infantry Division, Viet Nam 65-66 (04-29-2012)

“On Target” – “Fire for Effect!” – This book is a great book! It exists because of the prolonged and fruitful efforts of Mark A. Magruder. It is rare to see a son express admiration and appreciation of his father by authoring such a work as this from a neutral and observatory only perspective. The book is written factually, concisely, with humanity here and there spicing events with anger, joy, disappointments, and other emotional responses to life’s day to day drama.

“Nightfighter” is a well written, well authenticated, well researched, and accurately presented, historical document that enhances the pictures of events little known beyond the deadly skies of World War II night fighter pilots and tacticians. It provides an insight to the complicated and deadly corner of modern warfare that is even now a prime concern of aerial power.

This book is about people, especially about one man, and the people he knew, worked with, for, and met. “Scrapper 1” was a leader of men, he was talented and effective in using his skills to complete tasks that pioneered the new concepts of “nocturnal aerial combat”, - the realm of the most deadly Nightfighters! The book gives the reader a connection between the military and civilian concepts that permits a civilian to understand military and technical information as easily as his own “day to day” experiences are absorbed. The information flows in an easy current of connected events which reveals why human characteristics such as: leadership, tenacity, intelligence, honesty, courage, and reliability are components for success. Unusual events and experiences pop up from time to time to complicate life’s flowing trends.

This book is written to give the reader the opportunity to learn and improve himself about life’s lessons in times of peace as well as the chaotic times of war. Long ago, it is recorded; a man asked his Creator “Am I my brother’s keeper?” – The answer as it has always been is: “Yes!” Emphatically “Yes!” The military honors this concept in ways which are rarely understood by today’s usually “greedy” and “self-centered” business men, and more often than not “politicians”. During the dangerous and usually deadly days of combat, death, and destruction of active warfare, the dependence of American military on each other, and often their self sacrifice to achieve victory are paramount thoughts of American military Officers and their Men. They live the thought of truly being their “brother’s keeper.”  Often called the band of brothers the American military fights as a team, because we believe we are “Our brother’s keeper.”

The story of “Scrapper 1” reveals that “character matters”, especially in times of war, lives are lost when battles and projects fail, due to lack of leadership, ignorance, poor planning, and failure to fight courageously. “Scrapper 1” is a fighter who succeeded in making his unit effective and victorious. It is from men like him who provide example and leadership that we gain positive results that are building blocks of this nations real wealth, real men! Men with strong moral character and true leadership qualities that built this nation have preserved this nation, and who constantly protect this nation.  My question to the reader is this: “How much of “Scrapper 1’s” character do you possess?”


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