In my book River of January, a main figure, “Chum” Chumbley challenged the Navy’s flight school, with no assurances he would make the cut. The regimen was designed for failure, single elimination, so the Navy could function under severe budget cuts. Chum didn’t bother himself with the odds of survival, he simply had nothing to lose.
Once in flight school, not all was wonderful. As a lowly Seaman Recruit it seemed everybody in his midst told him what to do. As happy as he was to have reached the door to his highest ambition, stepping through cost him personal autonomy. That is life in the military service.
Sitting down three years ago to begin this book, I, too, experienced a liberation, transferring this story from my thoughts through my fingers, to the keyboard. However, though most friends and family have supported me, read the manuscript, listened to my doubts, some haven’t been so kind. I’ve been told that I can’t write worth a damn, and that my inattention to sentence mechanics render the book unreadable. Maybe so. But I have plowed on, seeking help, and trying to gain control over those pesky nods to standard English.
He wanted to fly, I want to tell his story. Who would have believed taking risks could open up a whole new set of restrictions?