Titan Tales: Diary of a Titan II Missile Crew Commander

200 pages. 5.5 x 8.5 inches. ISBN No. 0-9655546-0-0. Available from author for $12.00, plus $4.00 shipping and handling via USPS Priority Mail, shipping with invoice on the day after order. Payment may be made by check or money order.  For more information contact  John at 828-256-3495 or johnhwomack@gmail.com

Statement by the Author

Some of the movies about the Cold War have depicted those of us who carried the nuclear weapons into the air, or who stood ready to launch them at a moment's notice as being wild eyed, macho monsters full of bravado and rage, ready to attack to prove our manhood. Well, this is a story of what it was really like working with the incredible system known as the Titan II. This book tells a tale of great missiles and aircraft and great men, too, that's true; but it is also a story about their families. It is a tale of children and parents - and the larger family of the United States Air Force - and how all that fit in to the great war that stayed cold, and the one in Vietnam that did not.

I served as a crew member on the Titan II ICBM for six years. This book is a story of the last two of those years. During that time, I was Commander of a Senior Instructor Crew serving at the Alternate Command Post; my crew launched a Titan II from Vandenberg AFB, California, we were selected as the SAC Crew of the Month, and we participated in the filming of a simulated missile launch. I was active on the SAC Speakers' Bureau and presented speeches at community organizations and affairs and participated in several university seminars. I also published articles in the Strategic Air Command's professional magazine Combat Crew concerning missile operations, missile safety and management techniques.

In this book you will visit the hardened missile silos that once were dug into the southern rim of the Ozark mountains, you will go on alert with missile crew members and meet some of the people who maintained and operated America's first line of defense during the Cold War. You will travel to Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Western Test Range and explore some of the even-then ancient missile complexes from the first generation of ICBMs. Also, chapter three is a step-by-step description of the underground launch of a Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile!

Statement by the Publisher

This is a surprisingly deep book. It will turn out to be more complex than it appears at the beginning, and that's one of the reasons you will probably read it more than once. Initially, it presents a simple story describing two years in the life of a United States Air Force officer who is commander of a Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile crew. The crew helps maintain a gigantic missile on constant alert status, a missile that can carry its multi-megaton nuclear weapon deep into enemy territory at the push of a button.

But there is also the subtle background tension of the Cold War with its constant ebb and flow, and the unsettling, nagging pulse of the Vietnam War which slowly makes its presence felt and then gradually rises in intensity throughout the book. Then there is the main story, a description of a pleasant but hectic life in a military family with three young children during the late 1960's. We are treated to a deep look at life seen through the eyes and feelings of this family, both from the perspective of the young parents, and also their children.

The story unfolds across the southern United States. From the missile base in Arkansas the family travels in an ancient travel trailer across the southern deserts to California, where they spend seven weeks preparing a Titan II for launch at Vandenberg AFB. The launch, itself, is described in vivid, moment-by-moment, detail. Then, we return to Arkansas, and later, on into Florida. What was Orlando and the Atlantic Coast like back in the 1960’s? Remember? This book does. And throughout the book you will find revealing excerpts of direct observation of life, which carry a very strong Zen-like quality in which you may find yourself observing, not just nature, but a deep place within yourself. The book is well written, with humor, and a lively pace and rhythm that will lead you on to the next page, and then to the next, and on and on! It is a real treat to read, and it is a book for all ages!