Del is a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Submarine Service. During his Navy days, Del served aboard USS Jacksonville, SSN-699, USS George Washington Carver, SSBN-656 (Gold), USS Pasadena, SSN-752, and USS Norfolk, SSN-714.
He was aboard the USS Jacksonville during her collision with a Turkish freighter in 1982, and in a cruel twist of fate was assigned to her again as his final boat – following the Norfolk – and was aboard for another collision in 1996.
In addition, to his submarine background Del is a private pilot, aviation photographer, and works in the aviation industry at Pratt & Whitney. If you know aviation, you know that company. His is the lead for the military jet engine training program.
Del says, “Writing these books came as something of an accident. I didn’t “get the bug” to write, instead, I just started writing down thoughts about my submarine career, which eventually became the backbone for Death From Below. The Boneyard Almanac came into being as a byproduct of my aviation photography. After numerous visits to Davis-Monthan AFB, I suddenly had a few thousand photos along with a desire to share them.”
He continues to say, “The Boneyard is a patch of Arizona desert full of stored and derelict aircraft from the past and present. To walk among the war-weary aircraft parked here is to take a literal trip into the past. Fighters sit among cargo aircraft, while bombers are surrounded by trainers. Regardless of what specific plane is in your view, there’s a story around how it got there and the men and women who flew it. One of service. One of sacrifice. Of times both better and worse for the airmen and the world.”
Photographer Del Laughery received unprecedented access over the last ten years to the collection itself as well as never-before-seen archival photographs. He also includes the boneyard’s connections with the USAF Museum and the Pima Air and Space Museum as part of the greater story of what happens to old, unwanted warplanes.
If you’re an aviation fan, an ex-military pilot, or in love with history, The Boneyard Almanac will provide a highly pictorial perspective that few ever get to experience firsthand. Del’s photographs are extraordinary, placing you right next to these aircraft, so close, in fact, you can almost reach out and touch them.
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