Brian was born in Quantico, VA in 1948.† He graduated from East Carolina University in 1970 with a degree in History and Anthropology.† He went on to become an Air Force fighter pilot for 20 years.† During the Viet Nam Conflict, he flew 212 close air support missions.† When his aircraft was shot down near the Cambodian border, he was unable to eject and forced to ride the plane into the jungle.† Severely burned in the ensuing crash, he was given up for dead.† Rescued by Special Forces, Brian endured one year in military hospitals where he underwent 15 surgical procedures and was told he would never fly again.
After much physical therapy and determined effort, Brian regained his flight status and returned to active duty. He went on to fly the A-7D, was an A-10 Airshow Demonstration pilot, instructed in F-5s† at the Air Forceís TOPGUN School, and was selected to fly our nationís Top Secret spy plane, the SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest aircraft ever built.† Brian flew Top Secret missions in the Blackbird for 4 years and was the pilot who provided President Reagan with detailed photos of Libyan terrorist camps in 1986. During that crisis he became the only SR-71 pilot in history to fly 3 missions on 3 consecutive days.
As an Air Force safety officer, Brian shared his crash landing experience with pilots for years.† So popular was this briefing, that the Air Force filmed it and made it mandatory viewing by every fighter pilot for nearly 20 years.†
†Brian retired from the Air Force in 1990 and pursued his writing and photographic interests.† He was the first pilot to write a book about flying the SR-71, completely illustrated with his own photography.† This book won the Aviation Book of the Year title and is today the single most popular book on that plane worldwide
Brianís remarkable comeback story has inspired audiences nationwide as he is in high demand today as a keynote speaker.† Brian is a Spirit of Freedom Award winner, and was recently inducted into the Air Force Legends Hall of Fame.† He owns Gallery One in California where his nationally acclaimed nature photography is on display.