The Wild Blue: The Novel of the U.S. Air Force

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The Wild Blue – The Novel of the U.S. Air Force  


Walter J. Boyne & Steven L. Thompson

Cover artist



United States








Crown Pub & Ballantine Books

Publication date

October 1986

Media type

Print (Hardback & Paperback)


628 pp (hardback edition)



OCLC Number


The Wild Blue – The Novel of the U.S. Air Force, by historian Walter J. Boyne and Steven L. Thompson, was published in 1986.

This book follows the fictitious careers and lives of members of the United States Air Force. We get to follow them from their inception at Basic Training until they leave the Air Force. We also get to glimpse their personal lives. The book, while it is fiction, is a good glimpse at life in the military, particularly the Air Force.

From The Publisher

From the heroic Berlin airlift to dogfights over Korea, from the prisons of Hanoi to the Yom Kippur War and beyond, America’s bravest men answered the call of glory with grit, guts, and gallantry.

This thrilling, panoramic novel follows the lives of six very different airmen – at work, at war, and at home. Fearless flyers, they faced constant danger in the sky. Top gunners, they courted glamour on the ground. In or out of the cockpit, they had the right stuff to live fast and love hard.

THE WILD BLUE is also a loving portrait of military families…of military wives who supported their men, left them, or fought to forge their own identities in a man’s world.

Duty. Honor. Tragedy. Triumph. Thirty-five years in THE WILD BLUE.

— Synopsis from Back Cover, The Wild Blue ISBN 0-8041-0149-3

The Men and Women of THE WILD BLUE

ED NOVAK – Holding on to hope in a Hanoi prison camp, he faced his torturers, not knowing if rescue would ever come.

KATHY KELLY – She waited years for her man to satisfy her…then wondered where he had learned how.

MICHAEL McMANUS KELLY – A good Irish Catholic, he prayed to God to get his wigs, then met his destiny not in Korea but in California.

DON PICARD – A man who loved machines above all things and planes above all machines.

JOAN BROWN – A woman of many longings, one flyboy wasn’t enough for her.

JIM GARVEY – They said he went nuts and shot up a Korean airfield…so they knew he was the right man for an even crazier mission.

LARRY WHITE – He flew for the sheer thrill of it, and no one thought he’d ever live to collect his pension.

RACHEL GARVEY – Her father said it wasn’t feminine to fly…which made her want to soar all the more.

MILLARD WASHINGTON – A black man whose mother wanted him to preach, he chose instead to break the barriers of sound – and race.

— Character Synopsis/Inside Cover, The Wild Blue ISBN 0-8041-0149-3

Walter J. Boyne, coauthor with Steve Thompson, wants to add the following: The genesis of The Wild Blue came about in the following manner: In early February, 1984, Steven L. Thompson invited me to join him in writing a non-fiction social history of the United States Air Force. Steve was born into, raised, and served in the Air Force, three of his novels had been published, and at the time, he was Vice President for Publications at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and Executive Editor of its magazine, AOPA Pilot. We got to be friends and colleagues when he asked me to write a column called ‘The Boundary Layer’ for AOPA Pilot, so I was intrigued by his proposal. But it soon became clear to both of us that a better means of conveying the mostly unheralded sacrifices of Air Force members and their families was a novel. We hoped to do it as an anthology, but our publisher convinced us to build it around the experiences of a ‘cast’ of people in widely different roles, from Air Force ‘brats’ to Pentagon players.”

Walter J. Boyne


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