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From Pilot to Author

How a Military Family Legacy Inspired a Children's Book Series on Aviation and Teamwork

Welcome to our Author Spotlight! Today, we're excited to dive into the world of a very special author—an Active Duty Air Force pilot with a deep military heritage that stretches back four generations. Drawing from this rich background, our featured author crafts captivating children’s books that turn military aviation into fun, approachable adventures for kids. Through the Operation Aviation series, children of military families can see their own lives reflected in these exciting tales. Get ready to learn more about how these stories came to life, the heartfelt themes woven into each book, and the big dreams they inspire in little readers. Join us as we chat with the author and discover the powerful connections between family legacy and creative storytelling!

1.     Can you tell us a little about your background in the military community and what inspired you to write your book?

I’m a fourth-generation military officer; my great-grandfather, both of my grandfathers, and both of my parents were all career Army. I’m an Active Duty Air Force pilot married to an Active Duty Marine, and my brother-in-law was Navy special forces. So I come from an extreme example of a military family!

After my son was born, I wanted a way to share my aircraft and its mission with him in a kid-friendly and entertaining way. I think integrating military kids into the fun elements of this lifestyle is important; there are so many unique and interesting aspects, and our children really do play a role in making the mission happen. Writing my books was a means to explain military aviation in an approachable way and to give my son a sense of pride and ownership in the C-17’s mission.


2.     What message or themes do you hope to convey through your book, particularly to fellow military families and individuals?

Each book in the Operation Aviation series has a subtle lesson in it, and I developed these based on the nuances of each book’s respective operational platform. For example, in Fly with Mytai, the fighter jets are responsible for “tagging” the pretend bad guys, but they must rely on other types of aircraft if they want to be successful. It highlights the importance of teamwork and showcases that everyone—even an F-22—can sometimes need help from their friends. 


3.     How has your personal military experience influenced your writing style or the stories you choose to tell?

My military experience has completely influenced the stories I’ve chosen to tell—it is a tangible and direct inspiration. My background as a C-17 pilot and my love for the mobility mission were the crux of why I started Moose on a Mission, and my knowledge, friends, and experiences have all played a significant part in shaping the entire Operation Aviation series.


4.     In what ways do you believe your book can resonate with and provide support to other military families facing similar challenges?

I hope other military families appreciate seeing aviation translated to be approachable and entertaining, that kids get inspired to learn about flying and STEM, and that military brats feel included and welcomed into their grown-up’s professional world.


5.     Were there any specific challenges or rewarding moments you encountered while writing your book that you would like to share?

Fly with Mytai was challenging to write, as I don’t have a lot of experience with the Combat Air Force (CAF) community. As a C-17 pilot, I’m niched into the mobility world… Fighters and their daily operations are outside of my subject matter expertise. Because of this, I really relied on my CAF friends to help build out Mytai’s storyline and ensure all the details were correct. I owe a lot to the fighter pilots who invested their time and knowledge to help me with the accuracy of this project!


6.     What impact do you hope your book will have on readers, and how do you envision it contributing to a sense of unity or understanding within the military community?

I hope my books will help military kids better understand what their lifestyle is supporting. I want them to see these planes take off in real life and know what those jets actually do. I want military brats to feel included in the mission—to have a sense of belonging and pride in their community. And I want these books to spark curiosity and an interest in STEM, which will hopefully inspire kids of all backgrounds to seek out big opportunities later in life.


7.     Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives related to your book or future writing plans that you would like to share with our audience?

Two more picture books in the Operation Aviation series will be released later this year. Toad the Tanker is currently available for preorder ( ) and will be coming out on 11 June; it features a KC-135 aerial refueler. Moose on a Mission, which follows my aircraft—the C-17—will be released on 10 September. The characters of Mytai, Toad, and Moose interconnect throughout the series, so kids will be able to see familiar friends in all three books.

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