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Home > Charles L. Lunsford

Recent Reviews for Charles L. Lunsford

Departure Message (Book) - 1/26/2010 12:23:06 PM
Drawing on his own detailed memories, those of friends with whom he served, and the journal that he kept of his military service, Charles Lunsford has crafted an always engaging and oft times riveting account of his years as an Air Force airborne radio operator in 1950s Europe. In “Departure Message,” Mr. Lunsford takes us from his New Mexico boyhood home to Air Force basic training, then technical training in Mississippi, and onward to his flying assignment in Dreux, France. It is from the small Dreux airbase that we travel with him to Germany, Italy, North Africa, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia with flight events—some of them hair raising, locales, cultures, and people described in a natural storytelling style that gives us the sense of being a fellow crewmember rather than mere reader. Almost all American men who came of age from World War II until the end of the Vietnam War served in our armed forces. In wartime, it was a necessity. In those inter-war years, it was expected and encouraged by our society; a rite of passage through which parents could not take them and for which no school could substitute. They would test and stretch the limits of their abilities; have their curiosity and interest awakened to world events, and experience places and cultures that most others would only read about. They would learn the invaluable life lesson that the boss would not always be the smartest person in the room (or aircraft) and that the least ranking among them might be the one who at some point would hold their lives in his hands. And all along the way they would meet people of disparate backgrounds and circumstances, some of whom would become lifelong friends. All of this and so much more perfectly spice the vignettes and stories of Charles Lunsford’s excellent service memoir. I didn’t so much read “Departure Message” as I devoured it, resenting having to put it down to eat and sleep. I found myself nodding my head and smiling at the recognition of similar experiences and enjoying the return of some of my own dusty memories, unbidden but welcome. And when I came to the end, I both loved and hated that final page. I loved it as I loved all the pages of this book and I hated it, well, I hated it simply because there it was … the last page. There is a quote I sometimes see appended to emails. It is, “If you’re reading this, thank a teacher. And if you’re reading this in English, thank a soldier.” Thank you, Chuck. And thank and God Bless all who serve. Gary Stephens Author of "Epiphany"

Boxcar Down: The Albanian Incident (Book) - 2/28/2009 1:07:37 PM
Fans of Clive Cussler, Dan Brown, and Tom Clancy should take a look at this slightly different military/political adventure, a highly enjoyable tribute to “all the forgotten Cold War veterans who served very close to the Iron Curtain when the Cold War was not so cold.” Boxcar Down, The Albanian Incident is the story of Airman Second Class Jim Wilson, a radio operator on a C-119 “Flying Boxcar” which is shot down in 1958 during a secret courier mission when it inadvertently strays into Albanian airspace. The author, Charles L. Lunsford, is a former Airborne Radio Operator and one of the very last to be trained in Morse code operation. His expertise in this field provides the fabric which holds this tale together, for this is a story of a resourceful young enlisted man whose clever use of a vintage WWII spy suitcase radio provides the wherewithal for a daring and dangerous rescue mission. This is a big, fat novel rich in background and populated by memorable characters. The dialogue is a pleasure to read, and the action is realistic and compelling. I can highly recommend Boxcar Down as a fun read that includes a little bit of espionage, a fair amount of history, and a lot of adventure. Reviewed by Dianne Salerni For POD Book Reviews and More

Contrails (Short Story) - 10/6/2009 6:01:08 AM
It’s that fleeting urge to hop a slow freight for no other reason than to find out where it takes you. It’s standing on a beach and wanting to know what’s beyond the horizon. It’s watching an airplane’s contrail until it disappears from sight or gazing at the stars and wondering who or what is out there, and if or where “out there” ends. It is that strange human curiosity known as wanderlust, and Charles Lunsford’s “Contrails” taps into it perfectly. Like Mr. Lunsford, I’ve been a lover of flying and airplanes since my youth. I love the sight, sound, and smell of them. To me, there is no such thing as an ugly airplane. So, if you’re an aviation writer, you immediately have my reading attention. And if you’re the kind of storyteller who can immerse me in your tale such that I am “there” rather than “here,” you have me hooked. Charles Lunsford is that kind of storyteller and I am very willingly hooked. Gary Stephens Author of “Epiphany”

Mr. Marseille (Short Story) - 10/5/2009 9:41:11 AM
For those of us of a certain age, Charles Lunsford's "Mr. Marseille" is a return to the golden era of long distance flight. In those pre-GPS, pre-computer years when avionics were rudimentary and autopilots - to the extent they existed - were inaccurate and unreliable, long distance air travel especially at night or over water was an exotic and perilous undertaking. Pilots and co-pilots took turns spelling one another over muscle-aching long hours at the controls. Flight engineers monitored pressures, temperatures, fuel consumption, and the smoothness and synchronization of temperamental engines. Navigators employed all the skills of the mariners of old in maintaining course. And radio operators such as Mr. Lunsford - radio engineers, really - expertly manipulated finicky oscillators and tuners and used both voice and code to maintain a lifeline of contact with other aircraft and the world below. This recounting of Charles Lunsford's flying days put me in mind of parts of Ernest K. Gann's 1953 novel, "The High and the Mighty," and evoked pleasant memories of tales of the fictional air heroes of my youth: Terry and the Pirates, Smilin' Jack, and Steve Canyon. "Mr. Marseille" is much more than one man's memory. It is part of the rich history of flight. And like the experience of flight, good reading transports us to places we've never seen, people we've never met, and adventures we've never had. The trip is as fulfilling as the destination. "Mr. Marseille" is just that kind of good reading. Gary Stephens Author of "Epiphany"

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