In an autobiography written for his grandson’s edification, Tom Maxwell chronologically recreates his past in Grandfather’s Journal: A Grandson’s Journey into His Grandfather’s Life (WestBow Press, 140 pp., $28.95, hardcover; $11.95, paper; $3.99, Kindle). The book covers Maxwell’s childhood as he traveled the world with an Air Force father; his military experiences as a Navy pilot and commander; and his career as a highly successful business executive who also ministered to people he calls “the least of these in our prison system.” Maxwell sets exemplary standards for perseverance and dedication in every pursuit.
His Navy career stretched from 1955-83. He filled all the right squares while rising to the rank of Captain and a posting as an attaché in West Germany where he helped gather Cold War intelligence from the Soviet Union.
In 1967 and 1968 during the Vietnam War, Maxwell deployed twice to the Gulf of Tonkin aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany. He flew two hundred missions in the KA3 Skywarrior, receiving credit for eighty-five “saves” of aircraft in distress. A short time later on a two-month TDY to Danang Air Base, he flew an additional fifty combat missions.
For most of his military career, Maxwell put his job first, even ahead of family needs. Occasionally in times of trouble, he prayed for help, but mainly as wish-fulfillment rather than with confidence in the powers of an almighty deity. Nevertheless, his prayers brought positive results. Then, at the age of forty-two, motivated by intensely focused reading and urging from his wife Betty Ann, Maxwell “accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.”
The closing fifth of Grandfather’s Journal describes a life dictated by guidance that resulted from prayer. For thirty years as a civilian, Maxwell produced excellent results in both business relations and in his prison ministry work.
He disappointed me, however, by including only ten pages on his Vietnam War experiences in this book, just half of which dealt with events in the air.
The author’s website is captaintommaxwell.com