The Gift of Wings: An Autobiography of a Life in the Sky. From a farm-plow to Supersonic flight in the United States Air Force! From sergeant to cadet to fledgling flyer and on to Command Pilot! Trainers, fighters, bombers, transports and anything between! Come fly with me! Enjoy! 5.5 x 8.5 - 310 pages - Paperback - large print
Marquette (MI) native Ben Mukkala, author of The Gift of Wings: An Autobiography of a Life in the Sky is made of tough stuff. One has to be tough to survive Marquette Winters. Mukkala spent 20 years in the U.S. Air Force from 1950-1970. In Gift Mukkala writes of his military flying experience. He is more literal than literary; there s more humor than hubris. Gift is a combination of Will Rogers wit and test pilot Chuck Yeager s this-is-how-it-was laconicism. It s hard to put the book down. It is what the Germans call echt the real thing or what we call the Right Stuff. --Reviewed by Javan Kienzle, Detroit Free Press
In 50 short chapters, Mukkala discusses his entry into the military, how he became a pilot, his training, and various missions including assorted airborne, fighter pilot and ground adventures. His reminiscences disclose a situation when his base was under attack in Vietnam; they were issued weapons, but ironically no ammunition. Fortunately, Mukkala uses a light-hearted writing style that makes this volume quite enjoyable, not tedious. This is an ideal book for any aviation historian or those who appreciate an unconventional autobiography. --Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed books regularly since 1987.
The Gift of Wings is a rare and irreverent look into the life of a fighter pilot who was trained during the Korean War, flew with Strategic Air Command during the Cold War, then flew an F-2 [sic] “Phantom” in Southeast Asia as a combat fighter pilot over Viet Nam. He retired from the Sir Force as a Major in 1971. He currently lives on the South shore of Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan and is fully qualified to call himself an UPer. --Richard N. Larsen, Reviewer, The Midwest Book Review
About The Author
Ben Mukkala was a native to Marquette Michigan, an adventurer, a storyteller and an amateur historian.
In 1950 Ben enlisted in the United States Air Force and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. He was then commissioned a Second Lieutenant and trained as a pilot. He enjoyed flying many aircraft and was an Aircraft Commander in the B-47 Strato-jet, the B-58 Hustler and, in fact, flew ‘most any airplane they didn’t forcibly keep him away from. He also served in the Viet Nam War as a Flight Commander flying F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers in combat. He retired in 1970 with the rank of Major.
As a civilian he continued to fly privately, commercially and Air Ambulance, sailed boats and traveled widely camping out and, later, in a motor home. He enjoyed life and shared his adventures through speaking engagements and writing. He has been published in books, flying and outdoor magazines, and several newspapers.
Ben passed peacefully in his home with his wife Dorothy at his side in 2013. He is greatly missed by his many fans, friends and family. The legacy he left behind is still enjoyed in the books he wrote.