Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ron Corbin- Guest Blog

Ron Corbin
Today I am excited to welcome Ron Corbin, who explains his road to becoming a writer.

Path to Publication
by Ron Corbin  

Army helicopter pilot, Vietnam vet, police officer and helicopter pilot/instructor, school teacher and principal, counter-terrorism trainer for nuclear facilities, security consultant and lecturer, security director, guard service manager, crime prevention specialist, editor of a police training magazine, police academy training manager…these are the “hats” I have worn for the past five decades. On “face value,” it would appear that I can’t hold a job…right? But actually, events of my life have opened many doors of opportunity for new adventures. 

Interspersed with all these careers, I started college after completing my military career in 1969 as a 23-year-old. Being on a college campus as a Vietnam War “baby-killer” in the early 70s was not a good place to be. I worked my way through college without any student loans for the next eighteen years. In other words, I went to college for a long time, not a good time … no frat parties and such … and my wife saw to that.

As varied as my job professions have been, so are my degrees. I have an AA in Physical Education, a BA in Child Development, an MS in Elementary Education, and a PhD in Security Administration. I think that all I am really qualified to do is to teach counter-terrorism to those little “terrorists” running around pre- and elementary school.

I retired three years ago for the third time in my life, only this time it is for good. I was a sworn officer for LAPD, a federal security contractor, an honorary captain for New Orleans PD, and a civilian employee for Las Vegas Metropolitan PD. Although I hope that I never need them, maybe my ID cards from these agencies…these “get-out-of-jail-free” cards… might come in handy someday.

After working forty-seven years, my immediate goal upon retiring was to not drive my wife crazy and to keep from getting a divorce. Which this almost happened when I started reorganizing the freezer contents by meat type, arranging the dishware in the cabinets by color, and telling her how to do things more efficiently around the house. I couldn’t believe how she had done this without my help and advice for forty-five years.

Being home 24/7, I was having adjustment issues to my new world of not having deadlines and projects to meet on a daily basis. I was waking up early each morning, realizing that the alarm was not set, and that I could actually sleep-in. I was becoming a couch-potato, getting hooked on TV shows like “Army Wives” and “Dance Moms.” So, it was my wife, Kathy, who encouraged me to do something productive and to write a book. I think that she believed this would probably just get me “out of her hair” for a few months; it took only three before I finished.

Experiences of a Los Angeles 
Police Officer protecting 
and serving the various 
communities within the 
Los Angeles Metropolitan area.
Although I have written short stories for several anthologies and have been a columnist for a magazine, I didn’t consider myself a good writer. Not wanting to be an embarrassing failure to family and friends, I thought that I would simply document some thoughts on paper. If nothing else, I’d staple at the top left corner and leave some readings for my children and grand-children. But through a mutual acquaintance and a social event, fortunately I was introduced to Billie Johnson, Publisher for Oak Tree Press. After sharing some casual conversation, she asked me to send her the manuscript that I had written. And now, thanks to her, I have my first book released…Beyond Recognition.

In my military flying career, I had experienced a complete engine failure (at night), an in-flight cockpit fire, loss of tail rotor control, and a couple bullet holes. In June 1976, I was instructing an LAPD pilot trainee when we experienced a loss of power while landing to the top of a mountain pad. Coming just four-inches short from making the pad, my trainee and I impacted and rolled down the mountain 167 feet, exploding in a ball of fire. Tragically he was killed, but I was more fortunate and walked away with nearly 70% second and third degree burns. 

Beyond Recognition is a memoir and expose` of my accident. It begins with a few police street stories that I encountered working as a patrol officer in LA. As a survivor of Hamburger Hill, I also incorporate a few combat incidents from my two tours flying combat missions in Vietnam. But overall, the book is a non-fiction account of the jealousies and animosities I encountered as a military-trained pilot in a civilian organization. It tells of my experience in the burn ward, a few of my rehab issues and my wife’s emotional ordeal, but mostly it’s a legacy of the misled post-accident investigation and false accusations by the chief pilot. It is also a story of sadness and survivor’s guilt.

However, now that my ego has been fed with that successful publication, I am concurrently working on two manuscripts. One is a short book for adolescents. It’s about growing up in a small, farming community in southeastern Kansas during the 40s and 50s. It will be titled, Why All the Elm Trees Died. If you like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer tales, then I think you will like this.

The other is a historical fiction account titled, Bullet Points. This is a murder mystery about a retired and widowed Los Angeles Police Officer, Russ Corbett, who moves back to his small home town in southeastern Kansas. He quickly finds himself involved in chasing a serial killer who is murdering some of Russ’ school classmates. The method used is a gunshot to the head, but no bullets are ever found in the victim.

My retirement is spent enjoying my family; wife, children and six grandkids. Personal pleasure comes from being a USO volunteer at the Las Vegas McCarran Airport, assisting troops and welcoming our heroes when they return from combat duty overseas. I like cruising, and occasionally am a guest lecturer on cruise ships in the subject matter of Personal Safety and Security.

Ron Corbin, PhD

Member of the Public Safety Writers Association (Winner of 2 Awards)

Member of the Wednesday Warrior Writers

Author of: “Beyond Recognition” - First Place Award Winner

Contributing Author of:

“We Gotta Get Out of This Place” (Anthology of Vietnam helicopter pilot stories)

“Felons, Flames and Ambulance Rides” (Anthology of police stories)

“I Pledge Allegiance....” (Anthology of patriot and hero stories)

“True Blue--Police Stories by Those Who Lived Them” (Anthology of police stories)

“True Blue--To Protect and Serve” (Anthology of police stories)


Compared to other pilots in LAPD’s Air Support Division who had received their flight training from civilian instructors, Ron’s’ military training and Vietnam flying experience as a combat helicopter pilot goes beyond recognition. He immediately becomes the target of jealousy by the unit’s chief pilot, whose animosity leads him to do everything he can to undermine Ron’s skills.

After an aircraft accident that claims the life of Ron’s police pilot trainee, and one which puts Ron in the hospital with 70% burns, the Chief of Police assembles a Board of Inquiry into the cause of the accident. The chief pilot sees his opportunity to seek jealous revenge by feeding misleading and false statements to the investigators about Ron. The board’s investigation eventually turns into an exercise of “finger-pointing.”  But that quickly backfires as Ron exposes a department “cover-up” that has city attorneys scrambling to make a settlement with Ron and his trainee’s widow.

Available from and direct from Publisher.
Publisher: Oak Tree Press (2013)
ISBN 978-1-61009-070-4 ~~
Trade Paperback


Ron goes into great detail expressing his thought process, emotions, techniques used to evaluate and diagnose the various situations confronting him. Eventually, Ron was assigned to the Air Support Division as a helicopter pilot and later became an instructor. During a training session, Ron’s helicopter crashed killing his student pilot. Ron survived with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 70% of his body. It is hard to imagine the mental stress, pain and suffering he felt during his recovery in the burn center. Ron expresses his feelings on the emotional impact of the tragic accident, the findings of the Board of Inquiry, and the “CMA” attitude that various individuals had on him and his family.


Albert Ellis, FBI Special Agent - Retired 

"BEYOND RECOGNITION is a must read. 

If Michael Connelly or W. E. B. Griffin wrote non-fiction, you would think this is one of their books; however, it is Ron’s. I know, I have read this book once and can’t wait to read it again.  You will not put it down until you have worked your way to the last page, and then still want to know more."

Keith Bettinger, author of Fighting Crime With “Some” Day and Lenny, and End of Watch.


Holli Castillo said...

Ron, thanks for joining me today. You have a very impressive and varied resume of experiences under your belt--I bet you have unlimited fodder for novels and short stories to share.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I loved this. Laughed out loud at you comment about teaching little terrorists, and also retraining you wife. Thanks for sharing, you've had quite a life. Feel pour to know you for real.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

That was supposed to be I feel proud to know you! Daggone fingers. said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I look forward to reading your book.

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

Loved this blog with Ron Corbin. I especially love your attempts to help your wife reorganize the house when you finally retired. I have read "Beyond Recognition" and will personally recommend it as a wonderful and interesting book. I hope we get to meet in Las Vegas at the next conference in July 2014.

marja said...

You and my husband must have been brothers in another life. Yes, I also enjoyed your story about being at home full-time.

I commend and thank you for all you've done, and I'm sorry you've had to go through so much in your lifetime. It builds character? I hope.

Thank you so much for sharing.

Marja McGraw