Colonel (Ret.) Gaillard Peck Jr. changed history when he co-founded the MiG operation at Tonopah, Nev., paving the way for more than 6,000 Airmen, Sailors and Marines to fight the MiG-17, MiG-21 and MiG-23 in combat operations overseas.
He started his aviation career at age 16, flying in the backseat of a T-38 with his father, an Army Air Corps officer who later transitioned to the newly created U.S. Air Force. Peck received his commission from the Air Force Academy in 1962. During his time as a fighter pilot in the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, he flew 163 combat missions in Vietnam and Laos.
Peck served as the vice commander of the 18th Wing at Kadena AB, Japan, and later commanded the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Zweibrucken AB, Germany. Peck’s most cherished lesson from his Air Force career is that it provided sound values and understanding of MacArthur’s famous speech on duty, honor and country. Peck currently serves as the subject matter expert for the Air Force Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nev.