Writer needs help with memoir

I would be grateful for any help with my memoir-in-progress as it relates to my time in Indian Wells Valley in a time long past. I was there from early August, 1979, to around mid-December, 1981, before returning to reporting the news abroad, and later teaching journalism at colleges and universities.

I covered Lt. Cmdr Theodore Faller’s tragic passing after he crash-landed his disabled vintage China Lake Sabre into an empty field to avoid hitting a crowded elementary school. I watched helplessly with others as flames engulfed the plane, taking away a true hero.

I was given a rare tour of China Lake and wrote a lengthy illustrated story for the Associated Press detailing its work and history. I later worked on the base, producing an illustrated brochure about China Lake, which was used to recruit additional scientists, engineers and others to work there.

I helped out at the News-Review. It was a great experience for a “big city journalist” to work on a small weekly with its Farris family owners to get the paper out. Flying with Paul Farris in his small plane to and from Bakersfield to get the paper printed was an adventure in itself.

I later wrote stories for AP about the development of China Lake’s famous Sidewinder missile, and when U.S. Navy fighters used Sidewinders to down hostile Libyan warplanes.

Sidewinder again figured in my reporting when I covered the Falklands War in the South Atlantic, chronicling how British Royal Navy Sea Harrier fighters used Sidewinders to defend British warships against Argentine fighter-bombers and other attack planes. Using the missiles to down attacking aircraft is widely thought to have helped Britain win the conflict.

I came to the Valley in hopes of overcoming deep depression that plagued me after divorce. I had little success until I was given a loving home with the Farris family. Mental Illness was little understood in those days, and it is still poorly understood and not well tolerated today. I’m especially interested in hearing from anyone who has had a personal connection to the issue.

I can be contacted at wwrightsr@icloud.com or wwrightsr@aol.com or by text message or phone at 602-714-0878. My mailing address: 2529 E. Minnezona Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85016.

William Wright

Story First Published: 2021-04-02