military books by servicemembers.





Walter Marty Schirra

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Schirra's Space (Bluejacket Books)
Wally Schirra  More Info

Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon
David Reynolds  More Info

The Real Space Cowboys (Apogee Books Space Series)
Ed Buckbee  More Info
Wildcats to Tomcats: The Tailhook Navy (Tailhook Navy Series)
Richard L. Cormier  More Info

According to the book description of Schirra's Space, “Irreverent, provocative, and filled with fascinating anecdotes, this autobiography by one of America's first astronauts offers a revealing inside look at the early days of space flight and the men who captured the heart of the nation. Wally Schirra was the only one of the original seven NASA astronauts to command a spacecraft in all three pioneering space program-Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. Born to a World War I-ace father and a barnstorming, wing-walking mother, he inherited a love of flying and spirit of adventure that served him well. In this chronicle of an important era in aviation history, Schirra takes us into space on his 1962 Mercury flight that orbited Earth six times and aboard Gemini for the first rendezvous of two manned craft in space. Never reluctant to discuss the problems along with the stunning successes of those exciting, formative years, Schirra openly describes the pressures, tensions, and dangers associated with launch.

Schirra does not confine himself to his days as an astronaut but talks candidly about his entire career as a navy pilot, beginning in 1947 with bi-planes, transitioning to jets for combat missions over Korea, and ending with rockets into space. He also offers his views on the space program today and its options for the future. You don't have to be a space buff or a pilot to enjoy his remarkable story.”


According to the book description of The Real Space Cowboys, “The tension-filled careers of the Mercury Seven, a handful of elite fighter pilots selected as America's first astronauts, is traced in this account of the dreams and nightmares of the early days of the U.S. manned space program. A behind-the-scenes look at the competitive and often arrogant atmosphere of the initiative—including details on the struggles of deciding whether to send chimpanzees or humans to space and the conflicts between NASA engineers and astronauts—is included along with an account of the program's moments of humor, from recurrent "gotcha" training session pranks to the round of drinks that a dubious answer to the question Are you a turtle? could entail. While most of these men eventually made it to space and even the moon, their lives as a part of NASA continued long after. The story of their work with motivational programs such as the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, U.S. Space Camp, and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is also included.”

Captain Walter Marty Schirra, Jr., USN (ret.) was one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and best known as Wally Schirra.  Wally Schirra graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1945.  He served aboard the battle cruiser USS Alaska in the closing months of World War II.  After the war, he trained to become a pilot and joined a carrier fighter squadron. 


When the Korean War began, Wally Schirra was sent to South Korea as an exchange pilot on loan to the US Air Force. He served as a flight leader with the 136th Bomb Wing, and then as operations officer with the 154th Fighter Bomber Squadron. He flew 90 combat missions between 1951 and 1952, mostly in F-84s. Wally Schirra was credited with downing one MiG-15 and damaging two others. Wally Schirra received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with an oak leaf cluster for his service in Korea.


After his tour in Korea, Wally Schirra served as a test pilot.  In April 1959, he was selected as an astronaut.  As an astronaut, Wally Schirra was the fifth American in space, orbiting in a mercury capsule.  In 1965, he continued with a December flight of a Gemini craft. In October 1968, he was the commander of Apollo 7, the first manned flight in the Apollo program. Captain Wally Schirra co-authored four best NASA books: Schirra's Space; Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon; The Real Space Cowboys; and, Wildcats to Tomcats: The Tailhook Navy.

The Library Journal said of Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon, “Among the many books written on the history of the Apollo program, this one, by classical archaeologist Reynolds, stands out. The author of six previous books, including Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, Reynolds looks back on the history of Apollo from the perspective of the 21st century. NASA, despite its success, was not the flawless government agency many believed it to be, and the lunar astronauts themselves were not simply one-dimensional heroes but complex human beings with failings.


Nevertheless, America won the race to the moon, and this book re-creates the drama the whole world experienced over 30 years ago. The well-written text is accompanied by numerous photos and drawings much more so than most other works on Apollo history. The author's explanations of complex technological matters are easy to understand, and readers will appreciate the small details he recounts, such as how astronauts repaired a fender on the lunar rover with duct tape.”


One reader of Wildcats to Tomcats: The Tailhook Navy said, “Having been 'soaked' in boring aviation reference (i.e. Jane's) for years, it was great to discover this book. You won't find to much dry technical specs, or second hand descriptions of flight from authors who've never been close to a cockpit. "Wildcats to Tomcats" is authored by three who have been there, and have had every title worth having in Naval Aviation. Wally Shirra, Zeke Cormier, and Phil Wood are three of the finest aviators ever to take flight...and all three share their experiences in this amazing book. Every aspect of their glorious and dynamic lives they share! And they don't attempt to paint a rosy picture of the U.S. Navy. All three describe their feats with absolute honesty, no gripes held back. If you're buying only one aviation book this year, this is the one! If you're in love with anything "FLY NAVY", let these TOPGUNS tell it to you. GET THIS BOOK!”

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