From rural Michigan through Georgia Tech, Aviation Officer Candidate School, flight training, two Western Pacific cruises, and as an instructor pilot, Lt. McKenna met and overcame multiple obstacles in pursuing his dream of serving his country as a Navy carrier pilot. His story is told with humor, and a heartfelt belief in the importance of American leadership, morally and militarily. As an aerospace engineer, pilot, and landing signals officer, Lt. McKenna uses his extensive knowledge of aircraft and flight deck operations to take readers aboard an aircraft carrier as it launches and recovers aircraft off a pitching flight deck in what has been described as one of the most dangerous work environments on the planet.
The reviews are in…
"'Life is a cruel teacher; it gives the test first then teaches the lesson.' With simple honesty and engaging prose, Steve's book reminds us of the success possible when one builds upon those lessons."
-David Busse (Busman), Commander, USN (Retired)
"The courage of honesty, like the kind written in these pages, is an inspiration which never wanes. Reading Clyde's stories and musings evoked fond feelings for lifetime buds and shipmates we didn't get to bring home. His words put the 'who' in those of us who were fourteen-week wonders, climbing that mountain and then earning a set of the coveted golden wings. Rising from humble beginnings, we accepted the grind associated with 'the pursuit of happiness'; because we were taught that nothing of value is free.
"We were adventurers, like those riding the tall wooden ships of yesteryear. But above all we were patriots, steeled in the values of God and country, who believed that our 'American Dream' was worth fighting for! Clyde and I, being born the same day in 1962, often referred to ourselves as brothers of different mothers. Brother, thanks for telling the story. 'It's a good story,' and thanks for leaving in the fun parts! As I recall, that first exhilarating trap and cat shot were life changing! In that moment, WE were all unlimited."
-Spike Long, Captain, USN (Retired)
"The men and women who shape their lives around the craft of landing airplanes on pitching flight decks are a rare bunch indeed. In Fair Winds, Following Seas, and a Few Bolters, Steve gives the reader a wonderfully intimate and surprisingly transparent view into the world of naval aviation. Reading the detailed narrative centered around the most formidable years of his young life and mine brought back many fond memories, not only of our shared squadron life as Black Eagles but also of my own experience earning those coveted wings of gold.
"Steve's craft is not only that of flying carrier-based aircraft but also of telling the story in a way that brings the reader into the moment. He faithfully conveys a sense of the sacrifice, discipline, and intensity with which naval aviation must be approached. Steve's transparency humbly demonstrates to the reader that the most demanding hardships of life can be overcome. Further, throughout the book, he highlights how the very set of values that made our nation great also armed him for a successful season in naval aviation, and life thereafter.
"Flying on and off carriers is exciting, rewarding, often treacherous, and never boring. It is intolerant of mediocrity. Steve's book conveys naval aviation as it is-a crucible through which few men and women pass, and having passed, are better for it."
-Curtis G. Phillips (Otis), Captain, USN (Retired), and Citation X Captain
Stephen McKenna is a trial attorney with twenty-five years' experience in private practice and at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Prior to attending the University of San Diego School of Law, where he graduated summa cum laude, Steve served as an E-2C Hawkeye carrier pilot and landing signals officer in the United States Navy. He flew with the VAW-113 Black Eagles out of NAS Miramar and on Western Pacific cruises aboard the USS Constitution and USS Independence. He later served as an instructor for the VAW-110 Firebirds. Steve holds a degree in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
All books by this author
All books by this author