Gaillard R. “Evil” Peck, Jr. was an Air Force warrior and pioneer. Within a military career spanning 26 years and experiences ranging from F-4D combat missions over Vietnam to MiG-21 training flights over the Tonopah Test Range, he accumulated 5,000 hours flying T-33s, T-38s, F-4s, RF-4s, F-5s, F-15s, MiG-17s, and MiG-21s. Evil was born at Fort Sam Houston, Texas to Air Corps Lieutenant Gaillard and Lois Peck in 1940. Entering the Air Force Academy in 1958, he graduated in 1962 as a member of the fourth graduating class, known as the original “Red Tags.”
After graduating first in his pilot training class, Evil spent the next four years in Texas as a T-33 and T-38 instructor pilot. He was then trained in the F-4 at MacDill Air Force Base (AFB), Florida prior to reporting to the 433d Tactical Fighter Squadron “Satan’s Angels” at Ubon Royal Thai Airbase, Thailand. While at Ubon, Evil flew 163 combat missions in the F-4D in North Vietnam and Laos, including over fifty night missions. At the completion of his combat tour, he was sent back to MacDill AFB for duty as an F-4 pilot. After completing Fighter Weapons School (FWS) in 1970, Evil returned to MacDill AFB. In July 1972, he was assigned to the F-4 FWS at Nellis AFB, Nevada as an air-to-air instructor, ultimately serving as the Air-to-Air Flight Commander.
In 1975, Evil reported for duty in the Air Staff’s “fighter shop” in Operations at the Pentagon. At the unclassified level, he managed Red Flag and other overt programs; however, the majority of his work was done at the unacknowledged, classified level. It was in this capacity that he initiated a program he named CONSTANT PEG (CP), a combination of words reflecting the Director of Operations and Readiness call sign, “Constant,” and the name of his wife Peggy. After his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, Evil returned to Nellis as the Commander of the new 4477th Test and Evaluation Flight (TEF), standing up operations at the Tonopah Test Range (TTR) in the remote desert of Nevada. CP resulted in the enhancement of the TTR, the initiation of jet fighter operations from that airfield with the 4477th TEF flying MiG-17s and MiG-21s, and served to train Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps aircrews to a degree of proficiency never before achieved—ultimately demonstrated in the US air dominance during Operation DESERT STORM.
After this tour, he went on to be a key planner for Saudi Arabia during the Iran-Iraq War including the introduction of the F-15 into the Royal Saudi Air Force. Evil was promoted to Colonel in 1982 and after two years flying F-15s and RF-4s at Kadena Air Base, Japan, he was selected as the Wing Commander of the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Zweibruecken Air Base, Federal Republic of Germany. On July 31st, 1988, he retired from active duty with over twenty-six years of continuous service.
Evil was inducted into the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame in November 2013. His decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster, and Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters. Evil currently lives in Las Vegas where he teaches at the USAF Weapons School. Following his wife Peggy’s death in 2002, he married the former Carol Smith. There are five children and nine grandchildren
Colonel Peck’s MiG-21 is pictured in a hard turn. Prior to CONSTANT PEG, the MiG’s turning capabilities were misunderstood, resulting in US aircraft losses. After CONSTANT PEG, this turn would be the last image US fighter pilots would see before squeezing the trigger to kill the MiG.