My Pilot: A Story of War, Love and ALS by Sarajane Giere
Can you imagine you are due to have your first baby the week your husband leaves to fly F4 Phantom jets in Vietnam and your mother suddenly passes away? That is a smidgeon of the challenges faced by the Giere’s fifty-three year life journey together. Author Sarajane Giere provides a marvelous chronological reflection of life with her pilot-husband. From the beautiful get-go to the unfortunate end, caused by a fatal degenerative neurological disease, these two people show how to hold on tightly together and never let go.
This couple falls in love early and stays there. Young Bernie Giere graduates ROTC and gets the lucky draw to become an Air Force pilot. In short order, he is assigned to fly the brand new F4 Phantom jets out of the factory. Deployment soon follows to fight in these incredible jets in Vietnam. He bails out twice and completes 214 missions. Later Bernie pilots for commercial carriers Pan Am and Delta and is directly involved with the Air National Guard. There is so much more told as Bernie completes life with his wife and two children while flying eleven airplanes in forty-six years. Author Sarajane captures how they did it right, despite seemingly insurmountable challenges. They shared a deep love that I found admirable.
The Gieres faced amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a rare disease, in heroic fashion. Readers will appreciate their insightful battle and learn practical strategies to cope with and manage this terminal condition. As a career therapist, I have followed patients with ALS. Without a doubt, the progressive muscular paralysis faced is catastrophic. It creeps away with neuromuscular functions, including swallowing and breathing. I tip my hat to Bernie and Sarajane with the way they kept love alive, despite this tragic disease.
This book is recommended for anyone who appreciates leaders in life through service to country and beyond. You will find that love abounds and that is most inspiring.
Review by Hodge Wood (April 2021)
My Pilot offers a uniquely intimate glimpse into the life of a military wife as she tells the story of her fighter pilot husband, Bernie, a Vietnam veteran who flew 214 combat missions in the Vietnam War and served twenty-five years in the Air National Guard’s world-class 106th Rescue Wing. With searing and explicit honesty she recalls the terror of the Vietnam years and the lifetime sacrifices that affected her pilot’s life and death. In the telling, she honors her husband, their family, and their extended military family, the community she holds dear.
ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-944635-20-0, 978-1-944635-21-7, B08LMG92DS
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 226
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