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Jeff Allison on General Curtis E. LeMay
From left to right, driver Reade Tilley, mechanic Fritz Jaqusch and General LeMay
The comment about General Curtis E. LeMay
in the August 1 issue caught my attention as it did Michael Bradley's, who expressed his displeasure in "Letters" on August 8.
In the early 1950s, Reade was the Special Assistant to the Commander of the Strategic Air Command, General LeMay, and was also his Public Relations Officer.
Reade was an experienced road racer, who had been racing his
Jaguar XK120M in the SCCA.
In 1953, he
bought the Allard JR driven by Zora Arkus Duntov (later of Corvette fame) and Ray Merrick at the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans.
, a sports car and sports car racing enthusiast, bought a new and unraced Allard JR. According to Reade, General LeMay
wanted to race his
JR but Headquarters USAF ordered him not to race.
Reade said, "He
[General LeMay] would have made a great race driver, and he
did not interpret his
orders [to not race] as preventing his
test hopping the cars during fine tuning qualification and practice prior to races.
It was through this trio that General LeMay
lived out his
interests in sports cars and particularly sports car racing.
I thought your readers might be interested in seeing this photo of (from left to right) driver Reade Tilley, mechanic Fritz Jaqusch and General LeMay and his ever-present cigar at the SCCA races at MacDill Air Force Base in 1954.
As an aside, I was always amused when Reade talked of being General LeMay's
Public Relations Officer.
LeMay's public image as gruff and uncompromising seemed to belie public relations.
Reade would laugh, saying that his
PR job was to keep people away from LeMay-that
was the PR program!
In Vintage Motorsport (January/February 1991), I wrote, "When America needed General LeMay
When road racing needed help, General LeMay
was there too.