From the Publisher
"Roger Ball!" straps the reader to a high-G odyssey and catapults him into the life of John Monroe "Hawk" SmithNavy fighter pilot. It captures the adventures and hardships of deployment, the pressures of command, and the unforgiving and very lethal nature of tactical flying.
"Roger Ball! heralds the disciples of fighter doctrine, the inauguration of TOPGUN, and articulates the monumental success it had in resurrecting the Navys air dominance during the Vietnam War. "Roger Ball!" traces the selfless sacrifices of Hawk and other key fighter crews in developing the worlds deadliest fighterthe Grumman F-14 Tomcat. Finally, it captures the spirit, the commitment, and personal sacrifices of the men and women of naval aviation.
"Roger Ball!" is a highly personal story of an extraordinary fighter pilot set during one of the most tumultuous times in naval fighter aviation. All those who also have been there and all those who have a desire to understand life as a Navy fighter pilot will savor the telling of Hawks story.
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From the Author
This work reflects the efforts of numerous people who improved the technical accuracy, the historical fidelity, and offered small clusters of important personal recollections that could not be found in official documents or historical records. For their efforts in breathing life into "Roger Ball!" I wish to thank the following individuals: Admiral Leighton W. Smith, USN (Retired); Vice Admiral Michael T. Bucchi, USN (Retired); Rear Admiral John R. Wilson, Jr., USN (Retired); Rear Admiral Paul T. Gillcrist, USN (Retired); Rear Admiral Jay A. Campbell, USN (Retired); Captain Ronald E. McKeown, USN (Retired); Captain Clinton L. Smith, USN (Retired); Commander Richard K. Pottratz, USN (Retired); Commander Katherine S. Auten, USNR (Retired); Commander Joseph H. Zahalka, USN (Retired); Commander Richard A. Redditt, USN (Retired); Colonel Earl Young, USA (Retired); Commander Joseph F. Satrapa, USN (Retired); Commander Jeremy Gillespie, USN; Major Chris Guarnieri, US! MC; Mr. John Sherwood (Naval Historian); Senior Chief Robert L. Lawson, PHCS (AC), USN (Retired); Sergeant Alan J. Weiss, USAF (Retired); Technical Sergeant Yancy Mailes, USAF; Mr. Mark Evans (Naval Historian); Mr. Robert Young (Naval Historian). Finally, but most importantly, I also wish to thank the person who, more than any, gave me criticism, enthusiasm, and a steady wind over the deck: Colonel John Grider Miller, USMC, (Retired).
John Monroe "Hawk" Smith will never be a household name, but I hope this work paints a portrait of a U.S. military officer, like thousands serving America today, who was willing to work and struggle, often at great personal risk, for those principals, people, and institutions he held dear.
If "Roger Ball!" is enlightening, these men and women helped make it that way. If it is poignant, I have successfully told Hawks story.
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