August 16, 2019
Winged Brothers recounts the service exploits of two brothers over more than forty years of naval aviation history in both peace and war. They were deeply committed to each other and to advancing their chosen profession, but due to the vast difference in their ages and the fourteen years between their respective graduations from the U.S. Naval Academy, they experienced carrier aviation from very different perspectives.
The older brother, Ernest, entered naval aviation in an era of open-cockpit biplanes when the Navy’s operations from aircraft carriers were still taking form, when Fleet Problems were still the primary means of determining aviation’s warfighting utility and proving its merits to the fleet, and found his greatest professional challenge and fulfillment in command of an air group in the Marianas Turkey Shoot. Macon’s story guides the reader through the Navy’s transition from piston-engine aircraft to jets, from straight-decks to angled decks and mirrored landing systems, through the early days of test pilot instruction at Pax River, and finally to air wing command in the early difficult days of Rolling Thunder operations over North Vietnam.
Ernie Snowden is the son of Macon and nephew of Ernest Snowden. He is a 1970 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a former naval aviator. After active duty, he continued in the naval reserve as an aeronautical engineering duty officer until his retirement in 2000. As a Navy civilian, he served as the Business Manager for the Maintenance Policy Division of the Naval Air Systems Command, followed by a tour as staff assistant to the Deputy Director for Research and Engineering in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In his civilian work outside of the Navy, he was a Sales Engineer for Cessna Aircraft’s Commercial Jet Division, and later, the Director of Navy Programs for Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems Sector in the Washington DC Corporate Office. Since retirement from Northrop Grumman he worked for a time as the Associate Department Head for Corporate Communications at MITRE. In his retirement, he volunteers as a docent at the National Air & Space Museum (and travels every fall to Montana for serious fly-fishing).