A novel by Kathleen M. Rodgers
In my debut novel, The Final Salute, I write about the aftermath of plane crashes, the tight bond between military pilots, and how crewmembers and military families cope after terrible tragedies. The story is based on the years I spent as a military wife married to an Air Force fighter pilot. I was twenty-one years old when I married into the world of military aviation. A world I thought was full of parties at the Officer’s Club, the roar of jet engines, and a place where my husband and the other pilots lived on the edge of the envelope at a speed faster than the rest of us.
Early in my marriage, I learned about the other side of military aviation. The side that nobody likes to talk about when a plane goes down. When a hush goes over a squadron of men like a black pall because earth and sky have collided and one of their brothers isn’t coming home. A young wife is widowed, a child left fatherless, an older couple’s hopes for their son destroyed in a fireball. In one year alone, my husband and I lost eleven friends in air mishaps. And this was during peacetime. But the crashes kept coming, and the death toll rose. We toasted the dead and partied on.
I learned to accept two things about my husband’s career choice: His job could kill him, and he loved every minute of it. When I started writing The Final Salute sixteen years ago, my goal was to give a voice to the men who perished flying for their country and the women and children they left behind.
But my novel’s not all doom and gloom.
In the story, seasoned fighter pilot Tuck Westerfield, a Vietnam Vet and father of three, must deal with a devious commander, an animal-crazy neighbor whose husband hates pilots, a beautiful but suspicious wife, and a rebellious teenage daughter. The last thing he needs is another war. But when Iraq invades Kuwait in the middle of a muggy Louisiana summer, duty calls.
For more information on how to purchase the book, log on to the author’s website at www.kathleenmrodgers.com
About the Author
Native New Mexican Kathleen Rodgers followed her husband from base to base during his twenty-year career as an Air Force fighter pilot. The mother of two grown sons, Thomas and J.P., the author lives in Colleyville, Texas, with her husband, Tom, and her Chocolate Lab, Bubba.
Her work has appeared in Family Circle Magazine, Air Force, Army & Navy Times, Because I Fly, a poetry anthology by McGraw-Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Albuquerque Journal, The Clovis News Journal, and Daedalus Flyer.