Parables from the Prairie: How an Admiral Was Trained on Dry Land

Parables from the Prairie: How an Admiral Was Trained on Dry Land

$19.95 USD

By Dennis A. Jones

paperback • 432 pages • 5 x 8 • photos

Vice Admiral Dennis A. Jones, USN (Ret.) grew up in landlocked Fairbury, Nebraska, in the middle of flyover country. It was an unlikely starting place for someone who subsequently spent 37 years in the Navy, serving on and commanding submarines.

"Every day of my career I made decisions that were based on lessons that I had learned in Fairbury, Nebraska, and on a farm in Mahaska, Kansas… I knew that my childhood had given me the tools necessary to succeed and to approach situations in a logical manner. I had been taught to be decisive in my decision making, but most of all, I had been taught … to listen… You can learn a lot from other people, good things and bad things, if you will just listen—I made a career of it. And it all started while observing the good, bad, and stupid things that happened in my childhood—parables."

Readers of A Piece of Kansas Soil by Jim Cossaart may recognize his Great-Uncle Leslie Cossaart, who was Dennis's grandfather.


Dennis A. Jones was born and raised in Fairbury, Nebraska, and attended Fairbury Junior College for one year, followed by a year at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He was then appointed as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he graduated and was commissioned as an officer in the Navy. Following graduation, he was selected for the Navy's very elite Nuclear Propulsion Training Program and then went on to submarine training. He also attended Harvard University, studying in the program for senior executives in national and international security affairs.

From the beginning of his training at the Naval Academy until he retired, he wore the uniform of his country for over thirty-seven years. He served on multiple submarines throughout his career and commanded the fast attack submarine USS Birmingham during the height of the Cold War. 

Admiral Jones served as commander of all the United States and NATO submarines in the Mediterranean Sea during the war in Yugoslavia.

His final tour of active service was as the deputy commander of United States Strategic Command (StratCom) at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha. StratCom is responsible for all of the country's nuclear forces, weapons, and strategic operations supporting the national security objectives.

Following his retirement from active duty, Admiral Jones had a wonderful twelve-year second career as a vice president of a large defense-oriented corporation, L-3 Communications Corporation.

Admiral Jones and his wife, Janet, recently moved to North Carolina from the Washington, DC area. They are joined there in their retirement by the most wonderful dog in the world named Tallie and a mischievous black cat named Ruby.

The admiral describes his retirement as living in a state of "genteel poverty" while he works on completing items on his bucket list. Now that writing a book has been checked off the list, he is considering taking guitar lessons. His everyday mantra is "I have been very, very lucky in my life. Now I'm blessed to be surrounded by the people and animals that I love to hep me enjoy the rest of the adventure."


Military Writers Society of America


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