by Marcia J Sargent
Published by (date): Createspace (November 2010)
ISBN: 1453809260 / 978-1453809266
Price: $15.95 Paperback
Tags: Non-Fiction – Memoir History AllThingsMilitary USMC,Marine Corps,Marine aviator,military spouse,F-4,Phantom,fighter pilot,officer wives,squadron
Book of the Month, April 2011
Marcia never flew high performance aircraft, yet she learned to appreciate and maneuver through the irreverent, technical, and dangerous world of the Marine aviator–at and under her husband’s wing. In WING WIFE: How to Be Married to a Fighter Pilot, a memoir of the first few years of her marriage to a Marine jet jockey, Marcia navigates the unfamiliar skies of officer’s wives, military expectations, and the loss of loved ones. Over time she realizes what she risks by loving a man who flies. WING WIFE brings the reader intimately into the bawdy, comedic, and tragic world of the Marine Corps aviator and the aviator’s wife.
The author shares soul-felt reflections that begin in the seventies when, at twenty-two, she marries big brother’s best friend. The union is not common – both husband and brother are Marine F4 Phantom jet fighter pilots – and her life blasts off in a direction any wife could hardly fathom. Using a fast paced writing style, Marcia Sargent shares a thorough account of the ongoing love and sacrifice experienced with a career Marine aviator. Blending humor and tragedy, she vividly portrays the psychosocial dynamics at the officers clubs and wives meetings, through deployment and relocation, and when babies are born and loved ones vaporize in the air. While reading, I felt it – when the switch is hit that instantly changes your life forever … you can’t go back, reach for the brake, and zoom out of control. In Wing Wife, families persevere through incredible loss and then regroup in traditional Marine Corps fashion to show the young newcomers how to live fully in the face of constant danger. Thumbs up! I highly recommend this survival – success story and consider it an educational building block for anyone who likes or NEEDS to learn about the dedication and determination required in service to family and country.
Review by Hodge Wood, MWSA Reviewer (March 2011)
“A terrific read about love, loss, grief, happiness, doubt, anxiety and comedy. All the emotions a fighter pilot or a grunt will never express, told by a wife with the skills of a novelist and a scary streak of honesty.”
–Francis J. “Bing” West Former Assistant Secretary of Defense, author of The Village, No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah, and The Strongest Tribe.
“Life in a fighter squadron can be exciting, challenging, and fast paced not only for the pilots wedded to their craft, but also for the spouses wedded to the aviators. Marcia Sargent provides a unique account of the typical routine in a fighter pilot’s life from a wife’s perspective, along with the daily challenges wives face while living that same life.”
–MajGen James F. Flock USMC (Retired), F-4 and F/A 18 pilot, former Deputy Commander U.S. Forces Japan, and Commanding General 2d Marine Aircraft Wing 2009-2010
“Wing Wife is simultaneously funny and tragic. But above all, it is authentic. Marcia Sargent’s exceptional account of her life as the wife of a Marine Corps fighter pilot is not only a great read, but also an entertaining study of a unique social dynamic. As such, it is also an important addition to the historical record.”
–LtCol Jay Stout, USMC (Retired), F/A 18 pilot 1981 to 2001. Author of To Be a U.S. Naval Aviator, Hammer from Above: Marine Air Combat Over Iraq, Hornets over Kuwait
There are many books about brave men in their flying machines. Now, finally, we have the chance to see how they really live, from a person who has seen both the professional and childlike sides of Marine fighter pilots. The saying goes, “Being a Marine wife is the hardest job in the Corps.” This outstanding book proves this true. A must-read.
–MSgt Benjamin Spotts (retired) Plane captain on F-4 Phantoms and F/A-18 Hornets, Maintenance Chief on F/A-18s.
This story zips along at full throttle as we meet fighter pilots like her husband, Andy, her brother, Don. One second they seem bigger than life–these flight-suited sun gods–the next mere mortals. Fighter pilots live and fly on the edge of the envelope, and sometimes their wives and children are buffeted in the jetwash.
The author is a good stick when it comes to flying her words around on the page. She’s got the dialogue and jargon down, and her characters are people you know. Throat clenched, I sat on the edge of my seat until I got to the end.
Authentic to the core, this story made me laugh, cry, remember. A huge thumbs up!
— Kathleen M. Rodgers, author of the award-winning novel “The Final Salute: Together We Live On” and proud member of Military Writers Society of America
For anyone, male or female, husband or wife, who ever wondered what it would be like to live in the world of the Fighter Jock, Marcia Sargent’s memoir captures the true essence of being there. This poignant story, set it the small world of Marine Fighter Squadron 314 at MCAS El Toro in the late ’70s, gets it exactly right, and I should know, I was there as the OpsO for the Famous Black Knights and lived both the hilarity and heartbreak that is so well described in Marcia’s book.
From the intensity of training for supersonic aerial combat to outlandish social behavior, this book tells the story accurately and without hyperbole. It’s the way it REALLY was!
— Col J. Stewart Mosbey USAF, Fighter Pilot (ret)