Air Chief Marshal Sir Basil Embry is a pugnacious and uncompromising airman with a fine World War II battle record and a reputation for talking out of school.

Last week at 53, Britain's most famous flying brasshat was placed on the retired list. No "appropriate appointment" available, " said the R.A.F. "I am being . . . sacked," Sir Basil corrected. "I have strong views." The most recent Embry views: the R.A.F. is unready for atomic war, dominated by the civil service, shackled to outdated strategy and outmoded jet types by pound-pinchers at Her Majesty's Treasury. Like his good friend...

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