MWSA authors report on their trip to Italy and Spain
This year, we were contacted by Richard Aubry, a Naval Librarian in Italy, who had received a grant to bring authors to bases in Italy and Spain. Mr. Aubrey wanted to know if we had any members who would be interested in their program that is known as "Author on Deck." I nominated nine members. Mr. Aubrey and his committee evaluated the nine and selected two -- our author of the year for 2012, Jack Woodville London and multi-award winning novelist and biographer, Del Staecker.
Jack was the first author to journey to Europe with his wife Alice in May. He posted several entries to his blog to keep us in the know. Here are the links: Sicily the First Leg, Naples, the Second Leg, and Spain and the Red Car.
Del just returned and here is some photos and his letter to us about his adventures.
DATE: June 18, 2012
TO: MWSA Colleagues
RE: Writers On Deck
Seven flights, four train rides, and ten thousand miles in eight days framed my Writers On Deck Tour to three US Navy bases. Fellow MWSA member Jack London ably led the way in May and my experience was akin to following Marco Polo along the Silk Road to China. Jack’s reporting and photos are superb, so I will try to cover some new ground with my report.
Richard Aubrey, who initiated the concept of Writers On Deck, hosted me (along w/ his wife, Maria) at Sigonella NAS, where I was treated extremely well by all. I cannot say thanks enough for all the great food, wine, and touring. While there, I was initially disappointed by the light turnout at some events, but was quickly elevated by the quality and depth of the contacts made by readers and aspiring writers. I especially enjoyed my time with 23 Sixth Graders, who asked some of the best questions I have ever fielded as a writer. If those kids are any gauge for the future-we are going to be okay. An extra treat for this vet was a visit to the flight line where I saw Global Hawks and Predators close up and was briefed by the aircrews. AFN (Armed Forces Network) did a great TV follow up and I was particularly touched by the enthusiasm of one young reader who researched and read my books in advance of my appearance.
Ciro Giordano (and many others) made me feel welcomed and did all they could to convince me that I was the center of attention. Again, my events were lightly attended, but the quality of the contacts more than made up for any short falls in numbers. A long conversation with a young petty officer and his wife gave me candid insights into their life and I gained an appreciation for what modern sailor’s and their families contend with in order to serve and protect us. I was interviewed at length by the AFN radio station serving both bases in Naples and appreciate the media support.
Javier Smith, a retired Navy Officer assigned now as a civilian, served as my guide in Spain. With just one scheduled event I had time to tour a modern day Lady Gangster, the Spanish Navy’s Galicia, and be briefed by the US Marines serving as the FASTEUR Unit, the region’s anti-terror specialists. Rosa, the AFN DJ, did a superb interview and I wrapped up my day at the NEX with a book signing.
I cannot express how overwhelmed I am with input from such a whirlwind tour. I have much to digest and will be including this experience in my session at our convention this September.
Briefly, I am a much better person for having been in the company of our sailors, airmen, and Marines, and will strive to represent them truthfully and with vigor in my writings. It was a pleasure and honor to represent MWSA as a Writer ON Deck.
In Sicily -- Maria, Ryan, and Richard
In Sicily, Del and Richard.
Speaking for MWSA, we are so very proud of you Jack and Del -- and we are thrilled that you had this marvelous opportunity. Let's hope that more opportunities for MWSA authors is in our future.