A Golden Hills author has penned his first novel in a collection of biographies and memoirs of World War II and Cold War veterans and patriots. "The 509th Bomb Wing Veterans Association," written by now-retired John A. Ashe is rich in history and photographs.
Ashe, who held the rank of chief master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, served in the Vietnam War from 1966 to 1974.
He said that whenever people ask him how long he served, their reactions are ones of amazement.
Although he remembers the years he served, Ashe said he could not count the number of tours he spent in Vietnam.
"We were the team that you call, we haul," Ashe said.
In his own biography in the book, Ashe wrote, "This is a historical documentary of my life, my Air Force career, and two of the United States Air Force organizations with which I was privileged to serve."
The book begins with a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the ending of World War II in the Pacific War Theatre with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945.
"A lot of my companions in the pictures were, in fact, World War II veterans," Ashe said, adding, "When I met these guys in 1961, I was an 18-year-old kid."
The book includes an introduction by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, in which McCarthy writes, "The 509th Bombardment Wing Veterans Association is most deserving of national recognition for its outstanding performance. Your contributions to the security and advancement of our nation are sincerely appreciated and will never be forgotten."
Biographies also include Gen. Paul W. Tibbits Jr., Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV, and nearly two dozen others.
"I always wanted to write a book, and when we would go to these reunions, I would hear the old-timers talk about these days," Ashe said. "I always loved history anyways."
The book is chock-full of historical photographs, including snapshots of reunions held over the years.
Also included is a memoriam to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and footage of old war planes.
"I have over the years wondered about you, where you were stationed, what you may be doing, and in general just how life has been for you, as key men who were then and still are my most 'Outstanding Role Model,'" wrote Ashe.
John and his wife, Marie, were married in 1995. John gave Marie great credit for helping him pull the pieces together and assemble his book.
"Every time he went to a reunion, I went with him," Maria said.
Asked how humbling it was to meet the war heroes, Maria said, "They are all very nice people."
Published in December, "The 509th Bomb Wing Veterans Association" is available on Lulu.com and is available in hardback only. It retails for $65, and is worth every penny.