I was born October 6, 1950 in north Louisiana and grew up in Shreveport. My father was an auto mechanic and he owned a small garage there. From the time I was eleven years old until I graduated from college, I worked in my dad’s garage when I wasn’t in school. I did work for the Department of Defense a couple of summers after high school to learn what it was like to work for someone else. I developed a love affair for fast cars, thanks to my dad, and have owned many fast cars during my life.
As I grew up, I wanted to be a pilot. Not just any ordinary pilot but an Air Force fighter pilot. I was also realistic about this dream and knew that I might not qualify. If I couldn’t be a fighter pilot, I wanted to be involved in the building and developing of fighter planes. So, when I went to college, I majored in Aero-Space Engineering and joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). While in ROTC, I passed the physical required to be accepted into pilot training and was given private pilot training lessons. As it turned out, I was a natural pilot
After graduation from Louisiana Tech University with my Aero-Space Engineering degree, I was commissioned as an officer in the US Air Force and sent to pilot training. I graduated at the top of my class and would select the plane I wanted to fly. I selected the A-7D, a single-seat, single-engine light attack plane, the one you see in the photo. The A-7D had the most advanced bombing system available on a fighter jet at the time. The A-7D also didn’t have any two-seat training jets, so my first flight in the A-7D was solo.
A-7 training took me to Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. I met my first wife there. The Air Force had different plans from me and sent me to England AFB in Louisiana to continue my progression in the A-7. My new wife was allowed to follow me there – she was a nurse in the Air Force at the time.
As anyone who has watched the movie “Top Gun” knows, fighter pilots get nicknames whether you’re Navy, Marine or Air Force. While at Davis-Monthan and England AFBs, the nicknames my squadron mates tried to saddle me with didn’t stick. My next aircraft assignment was to the OV-10 in Germany. The OV-10 is a light observation and forward air controller plane. My flight commander in Germany grew up in western Pennsylvania and was familiar with the town of Altoona, PA. Instead of calling me “Alton,” he added the extra syllable and called me “Altoona.” The rest of the squadron picked that up and started calling me “Altoona” also. Before long, the pronunciation changed to “Al Tuna” and finally, the “Al” was dropped. That was 1979 and I’ve been “Tuna” ever since.
After Germany, I got to fly the A-10 at Myrtle Beach, SC. That was the best flying assignment I ever had, as I was a flight commander, an instructor pilot, a functional check pilot and a standardization-evaluation check pilot. My squadron commander selected me to be project officer for several small and large deployments and the wing commander selected me to be the wing’s project officer for a deployment to Red Flag. Along the way, I was promoted to Major. That was both good and bad. After the promotion, the Air Force decided I needed to be a staff officer for a while – that was the bad part as it took me out of the cockpit. The good part was being able to continue my career in the Air Force. I spend a year in South Korea then came back to the states to Central Air Force headquarters where I became a long range munitions planner for the Gulf War Theater. The CenTAF commander must have liked the way I did my job, because he made sure that I got promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. That happened just before Gulf War I. During GWI, I was an Airborne Command Element Director – fancy name for being the Director of Operations man on an AWACS aircraft overseeing the prosecution of the war.
After GWI, my assignment options were limited – more staff positions in parts of the world I really didn’t want to be or I could stay at CenTAF. I stayed at CenTAF with the plan to retire when I reached twenty-years of service. Just before that happened, the assignments people offered me a job in Oklahoma working for the Federal Aviation Administration where my technical and flying background would come in handy. I was told it was not a promotable position but it would most likely lead to a job after retirement. It did.
In 1996, I retired from the Air Force and came back to work the next week at the same desk and doing the same job as before but as a contractor for the FAA. My job in the FAA was to write technical specifications for an in-house software system that allowed procedure specialists to develop instrument procedures into and out of airports in bad weather. The flying world was transitioning from ground-based navigation systems to space-based systems (GPS) and I was the lead specification writer on GPS procedures at the time.
My first wife and I got a divorce not long after my retirement from the Air Force and I met my second wife when she showed up at a Corvette show driving a Corvette and single. She liked my Corvette and I had to convince her to like me. In late 1998, we were married and still are.
My job at the FAA was sometimes very busy and sometimes very slow. During the slow times, I started writing short stories – usually autobiographical. I think writing about my life was part therapy and part creative. I tossed all those short stories one day and started writing a fiction story totally unrelated to my life. I think every man wants to see himself as a ‘super-hero’ at some point – was wanted to avenge wrong doing and be a hero in somebodies eyes. Of course, none of us are super-heroes and very few of us ever become vigilantes. I wanted my first book to be about a vigilante – someone that steps in when justice isn’t served by those entrusted to serve justice.
Crossbow Revenge is that book. I worked on this book, off and on, for ten years while still working for the FAA. As I got closer to retiring from the FAA (early 2015), I found more time to work on this book and see if I could be a published author and, maybe, make some money as an author. Well, my book has been published and I’m hoping people like it and will tell their friends about it.
Since then, I have written three more novels based on many of the same characters in Crossbow Revenge. All are based in present day Houston, Texas. Alice Was Not Her Name came along second and was followed by Antiques To Die For. I recently finished my fourth novel, HyperDeath. The lead detective in each novel is David Hill of the Houston Police Department.