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Robert X. Leeds
Do not look for our author’s name among those of renowned poets and authors present or past.
He is an enigma to the challenge of political correctness
Author, poet, lecturer, professor, adventurer, explorer, soldier-of-fortune, mercenary, engineer, sailor, aviator, parachutist, musician, dreamer, etc., etc. Take your choice.
An unlikely candidate for any intellectual acclaim, Robert dropped out of school in the eleventh grade and went to sea.
At fifteen he held Coast Guard ratings as Bartender, Slot Machine Attendant, Wiper, and Coal Passer while working for the Ashley & Dustin Steamship Company on the Great Lakes.
At seventeen he joined the Civil Air Patrol Parachute Squadron and learned his aerobatic skills. He formed his own air circus and performed 160 free-fall parachute jumps at air shows and bond rallies. Wing-walking and performing "death defying" Bat-Wing jumps were just fine for a seventeen year old until he fell almost 7,000 feet with both his parachutes fouled. Picking himself up off the ground he concluded this was not the way to make a living and in 1944 enlisted in the Merchant Marine.
He served in the South Pacific but really wanted to be an Air Force Pilot. How does a 17-year old high school dropout get into the elite Army Specialized Air Cadet Program? He wrote a letter to the Commanding General of the United States Air Force. He was accepted.
His exploits are better left to his autobiography, but we can tell you that he became an aerial ace in his first mock air battle in a flight simulator. The good news was that he shot down five aircraft on his first flight. The bad news was that he took out his wingman, two friendly English Spitfires, a Stuka and a Me 109. It was then he earned his flying moniker, "Dogcatcher, the terror of the skies."
Discharged at the end of World War II, Leeds took off to spend seven years traveling around the world. With opportunities to smuggle diamonds (and get paid in uncut stones), smuggle guns to the natives in Madagascar, and to join an expedition to find the lost treasure of the famous pirate Captain Cook, Robert never lacked for windmills to joust with.
His career promised to end when arrested in Portuguese East Africa and "deported" back to South Africa. From jails and imprisonment in Africa’s infamous Roeland Straat Goal to a firing squad in China, Robert next surfaced flying with the Israeli Air Force. In 1948, after having his plane’s landing gear shot out over Albania, he survived the crash of his Constellation at Zatec Airbase behind the Iron Curtain. After training a group of Jewish refugees as paratroopers, he returned to Israel and was promoted to Commander of Israel’s First Airborne Brigade.
Returning to America with a Finnish bride, he returned to school and graduated with an MBA with honors from Wayne State University. He has been awarded a variety of medals including "Service Above And Beyond The Call Of Duty" and "Heroism And Courage Without Hesitation."
For his seventy-second birthday he went to Russia and flew almost every major fighter plane in the Russian Air Force. In addition to performing all of the routine aerobatic maneuvers in a MiG 21 And Su30, Leeds took a MiG 25 to the edge of outer space; flew a MiG 23 at two and-a-half times the speed of sound and became one of the few American pilots to ever perform the Pugachev Cobra Maneuver in a MiG 29.
He has authored numerous magazine articles and has written or co-authored four books. He now resides in Las Vegas where he states he is spending his time contemplating what he wants to do when he grows up!