Reviewed by Keith Jones
“The Final Salute” has been touted as a must read for Air Force pilots and their families. I maintain that it should have a far broader audience than that. This is a book that everybody would enjoy. In fact I would go so far as to call it a must read for all Americans because it gives a solid insight into the emotional world these families inhabit.
At the beginning we find Lt. Col. Tucker Westerfield dealing with what every fighter pilot spends his entire career fearing, the loss of a close friend. Tuck is told on his first day of flight training that in a twenty year flying career, one in three of them will die at the stick. While dealing with his grief, he walks into the middle of a situation that places him in the cross hairs of the most powerful people on his base. Tuck is forced to navigate this web of intrigue while maintaining his role as a husband and father. To keep him from being bored, Tuck also has a daughter he barely knows from a short lived previous marriage dropped back into his life. This backdrop places the reader in the world of a military career spanning from Viet Nam to the first Gulf War and everything that entails.
“The Final Salute” will grab you from the first page. You will dread having to put it down and long for your next opportunity to pick it up. Author Kathleen Rodgers has lived this life herself as the wife of a retired flyer and gives you a vacation into a whole other world. If you have no first hand experience with the military, this book will come as close as anything I have found to helping you understand what this life is like.