Chastain, Kenneth L. Jr. Flying Blind

ISBN 13: 9781456857271

Flying Blind

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9781456857271: Flying Blind

Flying Blind is a novel of one man’s hazardous journey in South Asia during the Second World War. Flight Officer–Service Pilot Roger Caron joined the army air force even though he was too old to be drafted. He simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to fly military aircraft. Flying was the focus of his life.
Earlier, through a flying buddy, he had met a young girl who worked her way into his heart. She had some health issues and was very young, only sixteen, but they ended up getting married anyway. His passion for aviation often kept them apart while he traveled from place to place advancing his career. So after he joined the army air force and was sent to war in China, Burma, and India, the separation was just another of many. It was made bearable for Caron because he would be flying—and flying was in his blood.
After spending many months enduring the hazards of war, life back home reached across the seas and grabbed Caron. He received a disturbing letter from his wife, Lorraine. He’d always known she had health issues, but in the letter, she hinted her problems were more serious than he had thought, though she wasn’t explicit. He suspected she was trying to protect him—but from what? For the first time in his life he began thinking more seriously about his wife than of flying. But what could he do? He was stuck in CBI.
Not long after the war with Japan had ended, and Caron was transferred to a search-and-rescue outfit, the base chaplain informed him that his family had contacted the American Red Cross with an urgent message. His wife was gravely ill, and he had been granted emergency leave. His head swimming from the shock, he stumbled about, struggling with the words “gravely ill.” He had always believed Lorraine would be there—she was his world outside of flying. She couldn’t die—especially not now that the war was over. It suddenly hit him: Lorraine was the most important thing in his life, not flying. He should have been putting her first, before anything else. Now he had to rush home to be by her side.
The shuttle plane Caron caught to get home kept having difficulties and took an inordinate amount of time to reach Karachi at the western end of India. All the while Caron was frantic, struggling to understand what could be wrong with his wife and questioning why he had not put her first in his life. He loved her more deeply than he ever imagined. So with each delay in his flight he became more frenzied. On reaching Karachi, he had to summon the base chaplain’s help in order to catch a ride on a C-54 headed for the States.
After enduring the challenging flight back to the U.S., his wife’s brother Aaron informed him Lorraine’s kidneys were failing and nothing could be done for her. He felt like he’d been kicked in the stomach and was gripped by an overwhelming urge to beat on something until his hands were bloody—to yell to the world how unfair it was. As he fought for control, tears streamed down his face.
Later, when saying goodbye to his beautiful wife at her burial, Caron appeared stoic on the surface, as was his training since youth, but inside he felt like he was moving through a thick fog. After the funeral he signed for an L5 plane and flew it out over the coast. Attempting to escape his pain, he traveled over the vast Pacific Ocean, searching for his sweet Lorraine among the clouds. The fading image of the truest love of his life swirled around in his brain. He reached out, desperately trying to keep her from slipping from his consciousness. He flew higher and higher, the diminishing oxygen level making it more and more difficult to concentrate. His hand grew unsteady on the controls as the clouds pressed in on him and the little L-5.

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About the Author:

Kenneth Lee Chastain, Jr. was born the same year World War II began in Europe. Raised an only child in California he lived an insular life until joining the United States Navy in 1958. In the military he attended schools in electronics and was introduced to life beyond California. Compliments of the U.S. Navy, he traveled throughout the United States in the 1950s and 1960s becoming familiar with the customs and lifestyles in other regions of the country. During the latter part of his eight-year naval experience he was stationed on ships that made port in Hawaii, Mexico, Scotland, Portugal and Franco's Spain. Once out of the Navy and after college he entered the Semiconductor Industry and traveled the world on business. The countries he visited helped to further broaden his understanding of the wider world and included: Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, Philippines, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. Later he traveled by cruise liner adding Costa Rica, Colombia, Alaska, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Gibraltar and Morocco to his travel experiences. Most recently he made several trips to Brazil where he wrote a series of "Letters from Brazil" outlining his discoveries in that enormous and divergent country. Chastain began writing seriously in the 1990s and has co-published one non-fiction book, Winged History, the Life and Times of Kenneth L. Chastain, Aviator (Turner Publishing, 2003). He has just completed what he hopes to be his first published novel, Spears Odyssey, which is based on his experiences while in the U.S. Navy.

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