Preservation, Education, and Commemoration of Naval History
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.
On 1 May 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the U.S. Asiatic Squadron, commanded by Commodore George Dewey, crushed Spanish naval forces at the Battle of Manila Bay. This halftone reproduction of an artwork by J.D. Gleason, circa 1898, depicts the action as seen from alongside the forward 8” gun turret of USS Olympia. NHHC image NH 1269.
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.
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.
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.
BOOK REVIEW – In the Shadow of Greatness: Voices of Leadership, Sacrifice, and Service from America’s Longest War
By Joshus Welle, John Ennis, Katherine Kranz, and Graham Plaster, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD (2012)
Reviewed by Stephen Phillips
All midshipmen realize that they have volunteered for service. However, as they started the fall semester of their senior year, the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2002 could not have predicted that they would become junior officers in the next global war. In the Shadow of Greatness: Voices of Leadership, Sacrifice, and Service from America’s Longest War is their story written in their words. The Class of 2002 discusses leadership, personal trials, and an insider’s view of the war on terrorism at the tactical level.
On 19 March 1898 the battleship USS Oregon (BB 3) departed San Francisco for a 14,000 mile trip around South America to reinforce the U.S. Squadron off Cuba, during the Spanish-American War. The poem above describes the battleship’s cruise and participation in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, a great American victory.
BOOK REVIEW – The United States Coast Guard and National Defense: A History from World War I to the Present
By Thomas P. Ostrom., McFarland & Company, Jefferson, NC. (2012).
Reviewed by Charles H. Bogart
Anyone interested in the United States Coast Guard will want to read this well-written and researched book. The book consists of fifteen chapters and three appendices. Each chapter and appendices is a stand-alone article on the history of the Coast Guard or a report on current Coast Guard operations.