The John Fahey Collection

Wasn't I the Lucky One
By Commander John A. Fahey, USN (Ret.)

During World War II Navy Airships escorted over 89,000 merchant ships. Not one of these vessels was sunk or damaged by a German U-boat. Airships flew under all weather conditions. THEY WERE DEPENDABLE AND EFFECTIVE in anti-submarine wartime operations. After the war Navy airships flew air-sea rescue, hunter-killer from aircraft carriers, and early warning missions with great success until June 1962 when the Navy's lighter-than-air activities were terminated.


Reviews for Wasn't I the Lucky One

"Fahey covers his experiences as a combat airship pilot during and after World War II.

Included in his book is one of the greatest mysteries of Naval aviation when the Navy airship L-8 flew off the Pacific Coast, returned and landed undamaged in Daly City, Calif., without a single crew member on board. The narrative of a young combat airship commander and over 40 photographs provide an accurate record of Navy airship history."

- Retired Officer Magazine


" GREAT BOOK! Thank you very much for your prompt mailing of your latest book, Wasn't I the Lucky One, and particularly the warm note inscribed therein. The pics look great, John, and from my early perusal, your writing style is very appealing - making it a light and enjoyable bedtime reading. I shall treasure it always."

- Edward Higgison III, Noon Balloon Publisher


"I have just finished reading the greatest book on LTA that I have ever read. It is Cdr. John A. Fahey's book Wasn't I the Lucky One. Anybody wanting to know about WWII LTA and understand the feeling of the blimp service should get this book and enjoy reading it. From hydrogen ballooning in California's redwood forest, to night carrier blimp landings, to all sorts of airship personalities, it is a kick. The demise of free balloon ZNF 817 in a Fort Dix firing range/swamp is a must read story for any gas or hot air pilot to read. Thank God it was helium...It will be money well spent."

- Don Piccard, Free Balloon Designer and Record Holder


"The prologue of this book hooked me. I was aware of German U-boats attacking ships on our Atlantic coast, but I had no idea of the number of U.S. vessels sunk so close to home.

He deserves credit for this memoir. His words carry a ring of integrity, and the reader is treated to quite a ride. Memoirs tend to ramble, but this author resists that temptation fairly well. From airsick cadet to combat airship commander, it's for the most part a direct route.

The prose is sharp. Whether holding our breath as we assist in the inflation of balloons with hydrogen (1943), or taking a free balloon flight that went awry (1952), we feel the excitement along with the narrator.

A good memoir is full of human emotions, everlasting relationships. This book soars when these elements are incorporated. Through dialogue between airship and carrier, we learn just how hair-rising a landing can be.

The book is informative about military subjects not usually elaborated on. I'm sure the author’s forthcoming book about his adventures behind the iron curtain will prove exciting. This one surely did."

- Writer's Digest 2000 Self Published Book Awards