Book details

Fly Navy

Discovering the Extraordinary People and Enduring Spirit of Naval Aviation

Author: Alvin Townley

Fly Navy

Fly Navy



About This Book

Top Gun was only part of the story. Fly Navy delves beyond the Hollywood image to reveal the true mettle and genuine story of the elite men and women of naval aviation.

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Book Details

Top Gun was only part of the story. Fly Navy delves beyond the Hollywood image to reveal the true mettle and genuine story of the elite men and women of naval aviation.

For one hundred years, the U.S. Navy's aviators and crews have made the difference on military and peacetime missions around the world. Their unparalleled skill, preparation, and everyday dedication have paid off when it matters most: when lives are on the line. Together, these men and women—officers and enlisted personnel, past and present—have protected freedom, served their country, and forged a legacy of valor like no other.

In this landmark book, Alvin Townley takes readers on an adventure around the world and across generations as he goes behind the scenes of naval aviation. From the skies over the Arabian Sea to the jungles of Southeast Asia to carriers patrolling the vast Pacific, he uncovers incredible stories of service members who survived weeks adrift at sea, made midnight rescues in deadly storms, crash-landed behind enemy lines, and found themselves in situations where their exceptional training and focus were the only things standing between life and death.

Filled with inspiring personal accounts of courage, camaraderie, and sheer perseverance, Fly Navy pays tribute to the extraordinary individuals who have built naval aviation into the revered force it is today—and will remain tomorrow.

Imprint Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books



In The News

“For real-world adventure and excitement surrounding people from all backgrounds, income and education, and to learn lessons that will stick for life, this book is on-target.” —The Washington Times

“Townley's description of naval aviation jobs is so detailed that at times it feels as if he has lifted up the skin of an aircraft carrier and showed us what's going on inside. ... The Navy is celebrating its centennial of flying this year, and Townley gives aviation lovers a vivid portrait of that 100-year history, complete with lots of gripping war stories.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune

“In this era when frontline warriors are often taken for granted, it is important to be reminded of the dedicated professionals in uniform who love their work, trust each other, relish the adventure, and believe in the cause. Anyone who reads this superbly crafted and glowing tribute may well decide to enlist.” —Aviation History

“A thoroughly enjoyable read and a must for any naval enthusiast.” —The Post and Courier

“In this exhilarating and enlightening survey of naval aviation, Townley covers everything from training in Pensacola, to the Blue Angels squadron, to the real-life fighter weapons school known as TOPGUN (the inspiration for the movie). ... Through these stories, Townley ably captures the camaraderie and vigor of naval aviation.” —Publishers Weekly

“[Townley] peers deep into the innards of a modern aircraft carriers to learn the secrets of everyone from messmen to engineering specialists. ... It's a fitting testament to the first 100 years of Naval Air and should you have a son, daughter or grandson or granddaughter considering joining up, have them read this first.” —Pacific Flyer

“In Fly Navy, author Alvin Townley takes readers on an exhilarating and revealing flight into the world of U.S. naval aviators. ... More than a mere history of Navy flight, Fly Navy is an exploration of the heart and soul of naval aviation.” —Richard G. Latture, editor-in-chief of Naval History Magazine

“Flying has always captured the human imagination and, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of naval aviation, Alvin Townley's Fly Navy crystallizes that imagination into inspiration. From the first sea-based flight through all of our nation's battles in the twentieth and twenty first centuries to the farthest reaches of man into space, Townley weaves a compelling story of the actions and lives of the men and women who make up the naval aviation legacy.” —Vice Admiral Tom Kilcline Jr., commander of Naval Air Forces, 2007–2010

“In this year of the 100th anniversary of naval aviation, Fly Navy gives the reader snippets of the colorful history of the exploits of naval aviators and naval aviation's importance to the United States this last century.” —Captain James A. Lovell Jr., commander of Apollo 13

“With fascinating insight into the seldom seen parts of naval aviation, Fly Navy illustrates the profound sense of honor and duty found among the men and women who serve, from the mechanics to the fighter pilots and everyone in between. Alvin Townley's exquisite storytelling brings their stories to life and creates a book you can't put down. Fly Navy is a thrilling, moving reminder of what makes America great.” —Gregory A. Freeman, author of The Last Mission of the Wham Bam Boys: Courage, Tragedy and Justice in World War II and Troubled Water: Race, Mutiny and Bravery on the USS Kitty Hawk

“The spirit of naval aviation resides in the colorful characters who share the common bond of gold wings and the excitement of aerial adventures from the sea. Fly Navy opens a window to this romantic, dedicated, and occasionally irreverent spirit.” —George “Elwood” Dom, former TOPGUN instructor and commanding officer of the Blue Angels

“Inspirational.” —Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates on Legacy of Honor

“A compelling story about a new generation and America's future.” —NFL MVP Peyton Manning on Spirit of Adventure

About the Creators

Fly Navy

Fly Navy