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The History of BIG SAFARI

The History of BIG SAFARI Book Review

By Chuck Holte

Date of Review July 2014 Title The History of BIG SAFARI
Author Colonel Bill Grimes Publisher Archway Publishing
Published 2014 ISBN 9781480804562
Format 469 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $28.95


The BIG SAFARI Program was conceived as a streamlined acquisition program responsive to commanders with urgent Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) requirements.  With roots going back to 1952, BIG SAFARI has provided timely acquisition and modification and support of sensitive airborne reconnaissance systems for more than 60 years.

The author is Colonel Bill Grimes, USAF, Retired, Director of the BIG SAFARI Program Office from 1985-2002.  The book lists the many fascinating projects by program name organized chronologically by the four operating detachments responsible for the respective programs. Well illustrated with photos, illustrations, cut-away drawings of aircraft modifications, the book provides a wealth of information on previously classified ISR programs and operations.  Included are many sidebars and anecdotes from the crewmembers that actually flew the aircraft and operated the special equipment.  The 469 page book includes a Memoriam to crewmembers lost during training and operations, a list of acronyms and a comprehensive index.  The book is well documented history of US airborne ISR for more than a half century and should be of keen interest to modelers and historians of the era.

Highly recommended.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!