Wing member releases new book
By Airman 1st Class Nathanial Taylor, 167AW/PA
/ Published August 08, 2012
Martisnbrug, W.Va. -- Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Young, a flight engineer assigned to the 167th Airlift Wing, recently released his new novel "The Renegades." The book, which was released in early July, is the third in a series of novels written by Young.
"It is the third in my series of military thrillers," Young said. "All three of the books feature the same main characters, an Air Force flyer named Michael Parson and Army interpreter Sophia Gold.
The first novel of the series, "The Mullah's Storm," came out in 2010 and was followed the next year by the second novel of the series "The Silent Enemy."
Though all three books follow the missions of Parson and Gold, each book has its own story line, Young said.
"There is some mention of events that took place in earlier books, but for the most part each book can stand on its own," he said.
"The Renegades" story follows Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Parson as he serves as an advisor to the Afghan Air Force, Young said. Things take a turn for the worst when a major earthquake hits northern Afghanistan. To add to the already dangerous situation, a violent, Taliban splinter group calling themselves "Black Crescent" begin to attack rescue workers and forbid the local population from accepting aid. To deal with the situation, Parson seeks the help of his old friend Army Sgt. Maj. Sophia Gold, the best Pashto translator in the military.
"The whole situation is a triple threat," Young said.
Young got the idea of putting Parson in the role of an advisor to the Afghan Air Force from a fellow unit member, he said.
"One of our pilots, Maj. Peter Gross, actually spent time as an advisor to the Afghan Air Force," Young said. "He was kind enough to actually sit down with me and tell me about some of his experiences. I actually thank him in the acknowledgements in the book. I also thank another one of our pilots, Maj. James Freid-Studlo, for sitting down with me and talking with me."
When asked if any of the events in the book are based on the two pilots' experiences in Afghanistan, Young laughed and said, "Fortunately no. I don't think anything happened (to them) that's as bad as what happens to some of my characters."
He went on to say that he "would certainly not wish that on them."
"They helped with a lot of the background," Young said. "I haven't spent a lot of time on the ground in Afghanistan; I have mainly just flown in and out. They have spent much more time on the ground and really know the territory."
Young said he gets a lot of his inspiration from his experiences as a member of the Wing.
"Fortunately nothing has happened to me that is as bad as what I do to my characters," Young said laughing. "But being able to go to places and interacting with different members of the crews is where I get a lot of my inspiration."
"My experiences have helped me write authentically about a lot of things," he said. "Not just about the things military members do; but the way military people think and the experiences they have."
Young - who worked as a reporter for the broadcast division of the Associated Press for 10 years - hopes that his writing helps the public better understand the military and the people who serve in it.
"Less than 1 percent of the American population has served in Iraq or Afghanistan," he said. "So it is an experience that 99 percent of the population knows nothing about. I hope that I can use this entertainment medium to help the public at large learn a little bit about what we do and why we do it."
Young is currently working on the fourth book in the series and hopes to be able to continue the series in the future.
"I hope to be able to continue this," he said. "I am very lucky to be able to do what I do."
"I owe a lot to this Wing and the people in it," he added.