General John C. Meyer

General-JC-MeyersJoe Noah interviewed General Meyer in the Pentagon while he was Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. His service extended from 1939-1974. Meyer died soon after he retired. His full tribute can be found at the Veteran Tributes website.

Forward to “George Preddy – Top Mustang Ace”

by General J.C. Meyer

In the fall of 1942, Lieutenant Jack Donalson, hero of the Philippines and Humpty Doo and newly appointed Operations Officer of the squadron I commanded, came to me and solicited my efforts to get Lieutenant George Preddy into our squadron. We were preparing to go to war and I wanted fighters to lead our pilots and pass on their experiences to the young, new pilots who would carry the burden of our future actions. Jack Donalson said Preddy was a fighter and that was good enough for me. We got George!

With this background, I was surprised when Lieutenant Preddy reported to me. If ever anyone looked like a non-fighter, it was George. He was small and slight, and physically unimposing.  And his voice, words and demeanor did nothing to modify the impression given by his appearance. He spoke softly, without even a hint of braggadocio in word or tone. I later asked Jack if he was sure we had the right Preddy. He said we did; and we did!

I have yet to meet a man with such single-minded and dedicated purpose, with such intense desire to excel, not for himself but for his squadron and for his country. Above all, always, for his country. His appearance and conduct on the ground belied his skill, tenacity and fighting heart in the air. But his achievements confirmed them. George Preddy was the complete fighter pilot.

Joe Noah write of Preddy’s exploits with accuracy and flair. But especially, he captures the total flavor of the man – the core of steel in a largely sentimental soul, the coolness under fire, the professional with his passion for essential details. It is remarkable how this perception has been wrought from the records and memorabilia. That Joe could do this speaks nobly of his skill as a writer, does justice to this story of a brief yet full life, and makes me proud once again that George Preddy, my comrade in arms, was my friend.

Every man should read this to reacquire the bright vision of his youth and remember again the hope and glory of America. And every high school student should read this book. For they will find spark there to light the fires of their dreams – the dreams that will make certain that our America will endure.

John C. Meyer, General, USAF
Commander in Chief
Strategic Air Command
Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska
May 24, 1974