Commander A. J. Billings, USN
(ret.), holds a master’s degree in computer systems from the Naval Postgraduate School and an undergraduate degree in
engineering. He completed a successful 22 year career in naval aviation and has qualified in more than 20 different aircraft.
He rose from the enlisted ranks to become the Commanding Officer of the Navy’s oldest combat search and rescue squadron
(HC-1). He served as Air Boss aboard the USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3) and was a member of the Navy’s most decorated squadron
of the Vietnam era. He flew over 600 missions and was awarded more the 40 medals and citations for his service to his country,
including the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and 24 Air Medals.
As a civilian Program Manager, A. J. Billings invented, designed, and
built ground support hardware and software (AV-8B Mission Planning and Ground Maintenance Stations, and F/A-18 Moving Map
display) for combat aircraft which were used in Desert Storm. The Aviation Ground Maintenance Station was later adopted by
the AH- 1 Cobra and the Naval Aviation Command Management Information System (NALCOMIS). Commander A. J. Billings personally
designed and built the ruggedized support hardware and software systems including the portable battery pack that was used
in desert storm. He was the lead design engineer for the NAVAIR MH-53E Aerial Minesweeping ground station utilizing the first
GPS integrated map display.
Commander A. J. Billings, USN (ret.),
is the author of Seawolf28: Branded a Maverick as a Junior Officer this is a true account of naval aviation as
seen through the eyes of one of the most decorated Navy pilots of the Vietnam era.
According to the book description
of Seawolf28: Branded a Maverick as a Junior Officer this is a true account of naval aviation as seen through
the eyes of one of the most decorated Navy pilots of the Vietnam era, “Seawolf 28 Summary An exciting
action filled novel of one of the top decorated naval aviators of the Vietnam era brings the reader a dramatic story of a
twenty-two year career of a Navy helicopter pilot. By the end of the Vietnam War he was a four tour veteran with well over
600 missions and the recipient of more than thirty-nine citations, including the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross.
his career he qualified in over 20 different types of aircraft and rose from the enlisted ranks to squadron Commanding Officer.
This is not just another Vietnam combat action story. Seawolf 28 is a timeless, powerful, honest and uncompromising first
hand account of a man that knew no limits when it came to standing up for his men and what he believed in. What makes this
novel stand out is the unparalleled successes they enjoyed while others stood by and watched to see if they would fail. They
took on every challenge including the military bureaucracy and could not be defeated. Driven as a young man to find the person
he truly was, he risked everything to complete that journey. Even though it took years, he learned to honor himself for what
he accomplished in an environment where he was overmatched and out of his league when it came to politics and manipulation.
Through it all he was able to maintain his integrity, and loyalty to his men.
These actual accounts are a testament
of the determination of one individual to meet life head-on and challenge those intrusions and aggression of others. He was
labeled a Maverick by the Navy because he would not compromise his beliefs or the men he served with. Even with his directness
and at times boldness they were unable to stop him as long as he had the support of his men. The story spans the gamut from
a young cadet full of exuberance and high ideals to nine engine failures and dozens of life threatening incidents and hair
raising combat stories, to his biggest battles challenging senior officers to do the right thing, at the risk of his own career.
As his distinguished career comes to the end he finds himself battling the crippling results of medical mismanagement from
the doctors at Balboa Naval Hospital. Even then he refuses to accept the inevitable and fights back to restore his dignity
and physical well-being.
The story ends with the Naval Hospital
doing everything they can to cover up their incompetence and total disregard for the men who served. Through his internal
strength and undefeatable character he never loses faith in the Navy and the men who served so gallantly. Out of shear determination
and on his own he was able to overcome the debilitating affects at the hands of the Navy doctors. It is a compelling story
that will cause young people to think about what lies ahead and let them see the sacrifices that are needed to serve their
country and bring back the memories both good and bad for those who were there.”