Saturday, September 15, 2012

Military Fly Moms: My Review

About the Book:
Military Fly Moms is a gorgeous coffee-table book with a collection of true stories by seventy women who shared the same two dreams—becoming a military aviator, and being a mom. The first few women, who, in the seventies, took their places in the world of all-male military aviation, paved the way for other women to follow. From flying during the Cold War to rescue missions during Hurricane Katrina to flying in combat during the current war on terror, these gutsy women—our nation’s sisters, daughters, neighbors, friends, and, yes, even moms—have done it all. Illustrated throughout with 75 stunning color photos, Military Fly Moms depicts women aviators in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard alongside their helicopters, transport aircraft, or fighter planes, as well as highlighting their families. These stories and their accompanying photographs weave a beautiful tapestry, passing on a lasting legacy to inspire future generations to reach for their dreams. Book Review, Military Writers' Society of America: "Linda Maloney knows her subject when she writes of women who balance the career of military flying and motherhood. The author herself was one of the first to fly combat missions after the law allowing women to do so went into effect in 1993. Not so coincidently, she also happens to be the mother of two boys. "Passionately devoted to her career and family, Maloney records the stories of others women likewise who dared to dream big. The book is divided along service lines: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Each account is unique, but they all share two things in common, a love of flying and family. "Being a woman balancing a career and a family isn’t easy even in civilian life, but being a pilot, navigator, flight instructor, etc., in the military sometimes with a husband who may or not be deployed at the same station with you, is daunting to say the least. No matter the odds or risks, these are intimate accounts of women who wanted to serve their country in a particular way—by flying. Some came from military backgrounds, which made their career choice easy. Some came from horse farms. Some joined the military to finance their educations. Some went to Annapolis. Some became Chief Warrant officers, other lieutenant colonels or Rear Admirals. Some dreamed of flying before entering the service, others afterwards. There was no one set path to their goal. Yet all had the ambition, brains, and courage to endure rigorous training programs, peace and war deployments, separations from family, and yes, pregnancy and career. "What sets the book apart are the special touches Maloney adds. Each woman gives two pieces of advice, her insights from parenting and her comment on her career. The Little Flybys, quotes from some of their children at the end of the book, are endearing. "Maloney pays touching tribute to a friend, Kara, whose F-14 didn’t make landing on the USS Lincoln and was the sole crew member who didn’t survive. Equally fitting is Maloney’s dedication to Lieutenant Commander Barbara Rainey, an aircraft instructor who was killed while training a pilot, leaving two young daughters behind." Reviewed by Barbara Peacock, 2012

My Comments:
Recently someone wrote an article for one of the major newspapers about "having it all".   Her conclusion was that, at least for her, it was impossible to "have it all"--one of the highest powered job AND kids,if you are a  woman.  Military Fly Moms is about women who do think they've managed to "have it all"--and about some women who have decided that a job that required periodic deployments to war zones was not one they wanted once they had kids.  

Military Fly Moms is the story of about seventy women, some from each branch of the United States military, who are pilots.  Thier aircraft range from helicopters to transport jets to fighters.  Some come from military families; others do not.  Some had their children before they became pilots; others afterwards.  Some have managed to combine family life and a job as a military pilot; others have decided to fly with the Reserves or National Guard; still others have decided to either retire or just resign.  All love to fly.  All are intelligent, hard-working women who set high goals for themselves.

Each woman's story is told magazine article style over three to four pages.  Sometimes we learn a little about her childhood. We hear how she decided to join the military and how she got into flight school.  Each woman's military career is briefly discussed as well as when she had children and how that affected her career.  

I enjoyed reading about these remarkable women.  Many were among the first women to reach certain positions in the military.  I think the book would be a good addition to a high school libray and would be a wonderful gift for a young woman considering a career in the military or one who wants to be a pilot.  Grade:  B+.

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