As a young boy growing up in the Great Depression, the author discovers learning is important, college is possible, but his dream of flying is impossible. Suddenly, Pearl Harbor explodes! The world at war, a desire to serve, a chance to fly—he enlists in the navy’s flight training program, arguably the finest ever devised.
Come fly with him in open-cockpit biplanes, low-wing trainers, dive bombers and fighters as he wins the coveted ‘wings of gold’, an officer’s stripes and qualifies as a carrier-based fighter pilot---when a bomb is dropped and the war ends. The lights go on again, the nation celebrates, euphoric homecomings. The author joins the naval reserves, completes college, the Korean War erupts and he receives orders to active duty. Come aboard a massive aircraft carrier and share the heart-stopping exploits of a jet fighter pilot racking up fifty-five combat missions over Korea. Catapult launches, shooting and being shot at, and landings (and crashes) on a rolling and pitching flight deck are vividly recounted.
The fury subsides, the author returns to devise and teach new procedures and flight patterns for the emerging jet age, while cavorting with stars in Hollywood and Palm Springs. Then he returns to civilian life, marries, and pursues another kind of combat—a career in international investment banking.