Jay Hammond was born in upstate New York in 1922 . As a young man, he studied petroleum engineering, but migraines and a football injury drove him out of college. He took up flying as a civilian, but was compelled to enlist after the United States was drawn into World War II. He becane an Alaska bush pilot after the war and stumbled into the newly established state’s politics. He was a key player in deciding how the state would manage its newfound oil wealth, and eventually became one of Alaska’s most colorful governors.