BOOK REVIEW – Big Mother 40, A Vietnam War Novel

By Marc Liebman, Fireship Press, Tuscan, AZ, (2012)

Reviewed by Thomas P. Ostrom

It was my pleasure to review this magnificent book about U.S. Navy helicopter combat rescue operations for downed aviators and crews during the Vietnam War. Naval Historical Foundation Program Director Dr. David F. Winkler suggested I review this book because of my own writing about U.S. Coast Guard history and that service’s Search and Rescue (SAR) legacy. The USCG flew SAR missions with the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam in the Sikorsky “Jolly Green Giant” helicopters that author Marc Liebman chronicles in his exciting book, Big Mother 40.

(read the full review)

NHF Board Member Dr. Jack London Receives Nathan Hale Award From Reserve Officers Association

Dr. Jack London (Captain, USN, Retired), has been honored with the Nathan Hale Award from the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) at the organization’s 90th anniversary celebration at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. Dr. London, who services Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of CACI International, Inc., is a member of the Naval Historical Foundation’s Board of Directors, and a great supporter of our mission to educate the public about naval history.

(read more here)

Photo: Dr. London poses with the Sikorsky HSS-1N “Seabat” helicopter model he sponsored for the Cold War Gallery’s unique aircraft model display. The model is a replica of the Seabat he flew for HS-7 in 1961

Medal of Honor Aircraft Models on Display at Cold War Gallery

By Taylor Hitt, NHF Intern

The danger of combat often brings out the best in people. A way to honor the individuals who have acted with “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his [or her] life above and beyond the call of duty” “while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States, engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force or serving with the friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party”[1] is by awarding them the Medal of Honor. Some of these Medal of Honor recipients died and were awarded the medal posthumously. Those who survived to tell their tale often remark that they wear their medal not for themselves, but for everyone who served and who also deserved the award.

Four Medal of Honor Aircraft models are located in a special display case in the Cold War Gallery at the Washington Navy Yard as a way to honor what these extraordinarily brave and courageous men did. An HO3S-1 Helicopter in memory of LTJG John K. Koelsch, an F4U-4 Corsair I flown by LTJG Thomas J. Hudner Jr., an UH-2A Seasprite in memory of LT Clyde E. Lassen, and an A-4E Skyhawk in memory of LCDR Michael J. Estocin are the four aircraft and Medal of Honor recipients that are honored in the Cold War Gallery.

(learn more about the aircraft models)

Three New Aircraft Models Installed in Cold War Gallery

The Cold War Gallery houses an impressive collection of aircraft models, all built by retired naval aviator Michael “Pyscho” McLeod. On Wednesday, 2 May 2012, three new models joined the collection. Each of the three new models has a unique story. Two are replicas of Medal of Honor aircraft, and the other played a fascinating role in early Cold War nuclear deterrence. Psycho lives in Florida, and builds the aircraft in his workshop at his home. He is currently a pilot for Delta Airlines, and was able to hop a flight up last week to install the three models. As usual on his visits, he relied on the hospitality of long time NHF volunteer Captain Ted Bronson, USN (Ret), who facilitated the transport of the models from Florida, and the model builder from the airport!

(read the full story here)

This 1967 U.S. Navy documentary looks at the sailors operating on the rivers and in the skies above Vietnam. Source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Photographic Section UMO-25.

Brown Water Navy in Vietnam

2012 marks the beginning of commemorations for the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration has launched a website ( which has information on the anniversary, and on the war itself. The website is a work in progress, and features an expansive interactive timeline of the war, featuring images and reference material. The Naval Historical Foundation will also be taking steps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. We are planning a major announcement soon on new Vietnam exhibit construction at the Cold War Gallery. We’re also planning to do a series of stories throughout the year on the Navy’s role in the war, and we want to begin the series with a number of stories on the “Brown Water Navy.”