BOOK REVIEW – Defender Dolphins: The Story of Project Short Time, A Brief History of the U.S. Navy’s First Marine Mammal Swimmer Defense System


By Harold Goforth, Fortis Publications, United Kingdom, (2013).
Reviewed by Stephen Phillips
Asymmetric tactics are the hallmark of battlefield victory for an insurgency. In the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong employed sappers – those who use explosives to destroy a specified target – to great effect. In his book Defender Dolphins: The Story of Project Short Time, Harold Goforth relays that attacks on U.S. ships in port or inland waters had profound impact. Goforth describes several examples, and reports Communist forces even attempted a coordinated attack initiated with sinking a ship near Dong Ha to block an important supply channel followed by an overland assault. Warning only came after a captured swimmer-sapper folded under interrogation. These operations were of particular concern to Admiral Elmo Zumwalt who especially needed some form of force protection for the ammunition pier at Cam Ranh Bay.
(read the full review here)
BOOK REVIEW – Defender Dolphins: The Story of Project Short Time, A Brief History of the U.S. Navy’s First Marine Mammal Swimmer Defense System

By Harold Goforth, Fortis Publications, United Kingdom, (2013).

Reviewed by Stephen Phillips

Asymmetric tactics are the hallmark of battlefield victory for an insurgency. In the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong employed sappers – those who use explosives to destroy a specified target – to great effect. In his book Defender Dolphins: The Story of Project Short Time, Harold Goforth relays that attacks on U.S. ships in port or inland waters had profound impact. Goforth describes several examples, and reports Communist forces even attempted a coordinated attack initiated with sinking a ship near Dong Ha to block an important supply channel followed by an overland assault. Warning only came after a captured swimmer-sapper folded under interrogation. These operations were of particular concern to Admiral Elmo Zumwalt who especially needed some form of force protection for the ammunition pier at Cam Ranh Bay.

(read the full review here)

2013 David Leighton Lecture: Former POW Rear Admiral Robert Shumaker, USN (Ret)

We are very pleased to present the video of the 2013 David Leighton Lecture, from the Naval Historical Foundation Annual Membership Meeting, 15 June 2013. The speaker was Rear Admiral Robert Shumaker, USN (Ret). In February 1965, while flying an F8 Crusader, he was shot down on a mission over North Vietnam, was captured, and spent the next eight years as a POW. His fellow POW’s consider him as a resister, leader and patriot. He spoke about his experiences as a POW, and what he learned.

(watch the video)

Former Vietnam POW RADM Robert H. Shumaker To Deliver Leighton Lecture

We are honored to announce that Rear Admiral Robert H. Shumaker, USN (Ret), will deliver the annual David Leighton Lecture at the 2013 Naval Historical Foundation Annual Meeting. Bob Shumaker was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania where his parents, Alvah and Eleanor, were a lawyer and a writer, respectively. He attended Northwestern University for a year and then the U. S. Naval Academy, graduating in 1956. After flight training, Shumaker eventually joined VF-32, a fighter squadron in Jacksonville, Florida. He was a finalist in the Apollo astronaut selection, but a temporary physical ailment prevented his selection. A 1964 graduate of the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School with a masters degree in aeronautical engineering, Shumaker joined VF-154 in San Diego, California.  About this time he married Lorraine Shaw of Montreal. In February 1965, while flying an F8 Crusader, he was shot down on a mission over North Vietnam, was captured, and spent the next eight years as a POW.

(read more here)

BOOK REVIEW – An American Adventure: From Early Aviation Through Three Wars to the White House
By William Lloyd Stearman, Naval Institute Press: Annapolis, MD (2012)
Reviewed by Dr. Richard P. Hallion
Mention “Stearman” among any group of aviation aficionados and an instant image of one of history’s most influential and appealing aircraft comes to mind. The Stearman biplane occupies a unique place in the pantheon of American aviation, having produced, through its widespread use as a primary trainer, hundreds of thousands of Allied pilots before and during the Second World War. Afterwards it gradually gave way to more modern monoplanes, but found new life as an agricultural sprayer, and even a measure of cinematic fame as the murderous strafer chasing Cary Grant through the cornfields of Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic North by Northwest. Today, nearly eight decades after its first flight, the “Yellow Peril” is readily sighted cavorting at air shows, and some still ply their trade as trainers, sailplane tugs, and crop-dusters.
(read the full review)

BOOK REVIEW – An American Adventure: From Early Aviation Through Three Wars to the White House

By William Lloyd Stearman, Naval Institute Press: Annapolis, MD (2012)

Reviewed by Dr. Richard P. Hallion

Mention “Stearman” among any group of aviation aficionados and an instant image of one of history’s most influential and appealing aircraft comes to mind. The Stearman biplane occupies a unique place in the pantheon of American aviation, having produced, through its widespread use as a primary trainer, hundreds of thousands of Allied pilots before and during the Second World War. Afterwards it gradually gave way to more modern monoplanes, but found new life as an agricultural sprayer, and even a measure of cinematic fame as the murderous strafer chasing Cary Grant through the cornfields of Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic North by Northwest. Today, nearly eight decades after its first flight, the “Yellow Peril” is readily sighted cavorting at air shows, and some still ply their trade as trainers, sailplane tugs, and crop-dusters.

(read the full review)

RSVP for Naval Historical Foundation 2013 Annual Meeting

15 June 2013

Featuring the debut of a new exhibit about U.S. Prisoners of War during the Vietnam War

(click here to RSVP)

BOOK REVIEW – Seabee Teams in Vietnam, 1963 – 1968
Edited by Kenneth E. Bingham. NMCB-8 Association, Ventura, CA (2013).
Reviewed by Charles Bogart
The subtitle of this book is “The 13-Man Teams That Helped Rural Vietnamese and who Fought Alongside the Special Forces.”  The introduction of the book under review proclaims that it consists of excerpts taken from the book “COMCPAC REPORTS, Special Edition, Seabee Teams Oct. 1959 – July 1969”, by Lt. Joseph L. Henley and Chief Journalist Thomas A. Johnson.  This COMCPAC report as written covered not only Seabee Teams that served in Vietnam but also in the Americas, Africa and Thailand. The editor of the book under review has chosen to use within his book only information concerning those teams that saw service in Vietnam.
(read the full review)

BOOK REVIEW – Seabee Teams in Vietnam, 1963 – 1968

Edited by Kenneth E. Bingham. NMCB-8 Association, Ventura, CA (2013).

Reviewed by Charles Bogart

The subtitle of this book is “The 13-Man Teams That Helped Rural Vietnamese and who Fought Alongside the Special Forces.”  The introduction of the book under review proclaims that it consists of excerpts taken from the book “COMCPAC REPORTS, Special Edition, Seabee Teams Oct. 1959 – July 1969”, by Lt. Joseph L. Henley and Chief Journalist Thomas A. Johnson.  This COMCPAC report as written covered not only Seabee Teams that served in Vietnam but also in the Americas, Africa and Thailand. The editor of the book under review has chosen to use within his book only information concerning those teams that saw service in Vietnam.

(read the full review)

Naval Historical Foundation Working to Commemorate 40th Anniversary of POW Release

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the return of American Prisoners of War held by the North Vietnamese. Many of the POWs were naval aviators, and the Naval Historical Foundation, in conjunction with the National Museum of the United States Navy, is working on a number of initiatives to remember the long ordeal endured by these brave Americans. We hope that you’ll follow along with our efforts, and even consider a donation to support this important work.

(read more about our plans)

BOOK REVIEW – McNamara, Clifford, and the Burdens of Vietnam, 1965-69

By Edward J. Drea, Washington, D.C.:Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, (2011).

Reviewed by Dr. Richard P. Hallion

The historians within the Office of the Secretary of Defense have established an enviable reputation for meticulously researched and well-crafted books, particularly their series on the various Secretaries of Defense. Edward J. Drea’s impressive new volume in this series will add further luster to both the office and its author. Drea, a highly regarded historian of wide-ranging experience, is no stranger to those in the military history community, and he has drawn on a wide range of official and unofficial sources to brilliantly relate four crucial years in the Johnson era.

(read the full review)

On 6 April 1968 the battleship USS New Jersey (BB 62) was recommissioned for shore bombardment duty in Vietnam. New Jersey is shown here bombarding enemy targets near Tuyho, on South Vietnam’s central coast, during her last line period, late in March 1969. NHHC image NH 90639.

BOOK REVIEW – Pass Me The Rice

By Robert G. Kay, Author House, Bloomington, IN (2011).

Reviewed by Charles H. Bogart

In 1966, the author, as a Navy Lt. (JG) with his marriage collapsing in divorce, volunteered for duty as a Naval Advisor in Vietnam to allow him to refocus his life and to help his promotional opportunities.  Robert Kay would complete two back to back tours of duty in Vietnam, seeing combat with both a Vietnamese Junk Group and a River Assault Group. His second tour would end early after he was wounded by a booby trap that resulted in the loss of a foot. After being discharged from the Navy, Kay returned to Vietnam and served there as a DOD civilian employee until April 1975. The book, however, only covers his naval service in Vietnam from 1966 – 1969.

(read the full review)