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Fantastic : Air Heads

June 01, 1986

Who suckered naive Tom Cruise into the believing the "Knights of the Air" story about the Japanese pilot who kept making firing passes at a P-51 pilot and when the P-51 kept flying the Japanese pilot flew up alongside and saluted him and flew away ("Cruise-ing in the Media Stratosphere," by Pat H. Broeske, May 25)?

What a laugh. As a veteran RAF tail gunner and 8th Air Force ball-turret gunner with close to 80 combat missions, that story is a great crock created by phony World War I movies in the 1930s. The only time a fighter pilot won't press home an attack and keep going until he kills you is when somebody is shooting up his tail.

Would that I had met a Jerry "Knight of the Air" over Kiel. We both kept shooting and he wouldn't go away until he put a 20-millimeter cannon shell into my thigh and I set his engine on fire.

Did writer Pat Broeske fall for this myth, too?

DAN BRENNAN

Huntington Beach

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