Excerpt of Home Front by Kristin Hannah
(Page 5 of 8)
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Tami and Jolene had even gotten pregnant at the same time, sharing
that magical nine months, holding each other's fears in tender hands.
Their husbands had nothing in common, so they hadn't become one of
those best friends who traveled together with their families, but that
was okay with Jolene. What mattered most was that she and Tami were
always there for each other. And they were.
I've got your six literally meant that a helicopter was behind you, flying
in the six o'clock position. What it really meant was I'm here for you.
I've got your back. That was what Jolene had found in the army, and in
the Guard, and in Tami. I've got your six.
The Guard had given them the best of both worldsthey got to be full-time
moms who still served their country and stayed in the military
and flew helicopters. They flew together at least two mornings a week, as
well as during their drill weekends. It was the best part-time job on the
Tami climbed into the passenger seat and slammed the door shut.
"Happy birthday, flygirl."
"Thanks," Jolene grinned. "My day, my music." She cranked up the
volume on the CD player and Prince's "Purple Rain" blared through the
They talked all the way to Tacoma, about everything and nothing;
when they weren't talking, they were singing the songs of their youth
Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson. They passed Camp Murray, home
to the Guard, and drove onto Camp Lewis, where the Guard's flight
facilities were housed.
In the locker room, Jolene retrieved the heavy flight bag full of survival
equipment. Slinging it over her shoulder, she followed Tami to the
desk, confirmed her additional flight-training period, or AFTP; signed
up to be paid; and then headed out to the tarmac, putting on her helmet
as she walked.
The crew was already there, readying the Black Hawk for flight. The helicopter
looked like a huge bird of prey against the clear blue sky. She nodded
to the crew chief, did a quick preflight check of her aircraft, conducted
a crew briefing, and then climbed into the left side of the cockpit and took
her seat. Tami climbed into the right seat and put on her helmet.
"Overhead switches and circuit breakers, check," she said, powering
up the helicopter. The engines roared to life; the huge rotor blades began
to move, slowly at first and then rotating fast, with a high-pitched whine.
"Guard ops. Raptor eighty-nine, log us off ," Jolene said into her mic.
Then she switched frequencies. "Break, Tower. Raptor eighty-nine, ready
Jolene began the exquisite balancing act it took to get a helicopter
airborne. The aircraft climbed slowly into the air. She worked the controls
expertlyher hands and feet in constant motion. They rose into
the blue and cloudless sky, where heaven was all around her. Far below,
the flowering trees were a spectacular palette of color. A rush of pure
adrenaline coursed through her. God, she loved it up here.
"I hear it's your birthday, Chief," said the crew chief, through the
"Damn right it is," Tami said, grinning. "Why do you think she has
Jolene grinned at her best friend, loving this feeling, needing it like
she needed air to breathe. She didn't care about getting older or getting
wrinkles or slowing down. "Forty-one. I can't think of a better way to
. . .
The small town of Poulsbo, Washington, sat like a pretty little girl along
the shores of Liberty Bay. The original settlers had chosen this area because
it reminded them of their Nordic homeland, with its cool blue
waters, soaring mountains, and lush green hillsides. Years later, those
same founding fathers had begun to build their shops along Front
Street, embellishing them with Scandinavian touches. There were cutwork
rooflines and scrolled decorations everywhere.
Excerpted from Home Front
by Sarah Hannah. Copyright © 2012 by Sarah Hannah.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press. All rights
reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted
without permission in writing from the publisher.