Probe the Ocean, Plow the Sea: A Destroyer Sailor's Vietnam Era Odyssey by Paul Jewell

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MWSA Review

Probe the Ocean, Plow the Sea is a memoir that captures a time in our nation's military history through a personal telling of the author's own experiences. Not many people know much about our Navy's destroyers, let alone what it was like to be on a crew of one during the Vietnam War era. This is a very personal telling, through a well-written memoir, by a USN enlisted man, who was assigned on board one of those ships.

It was a time that our younger generations may never fully understand, nor appreciate the impact those times had on so many young men's lives in this nation. The author brings home to the reader some clarity, by sharing his own personal accounts of what his life was about and how he handled it all.

He also shares some insights on his unit's involvement and role in naval history for the closing months of the Vietnam War.

This should be a must-read for USN veterans and, I think, the greater audience of readers of military genre. I enjoyed reading Paul Jewel's memoir. I now feel like I know him personally.

Review by Bill McDonald (July 2019)

Author's Synopsis

“Probe the Ocean, Plow the Sea” chronicles, in prolific detail, the enlisted tour of duty of a destroyer sailor in the western Pacific during the Vietnam era. Naval memoirs tend to be written by senior commissioned officers or well-known biographers. Far less common is the view from the bottom looking up by junior enlisted sailors, particularly those who served in less glamorous surface ships such as destroyers. The lack of detailed U.S. Navy surface ship narratives is particularly chronic for the Vietnam War where if naval forces are acknowledged at all, it is generally the role played by naval aviation. Particularly overlooked is the important role cruisers and destroyers played in “Linebacker”, the final combat operations off North Vietnam in 1972. Author Paul Jewell joined the USS Richard B. Anderson in the closing phase of Linebacker and remained with the ship until 1974. Whether conducting combat operations at the close of the Vietnam War, suffering through prolonged yard periods, or gathering intelligence off the Korean peninsula, the ships of Destroyer Squadron 15 homeported in Japan were the point of the spear for U.S. foreign policy in half the world’s ocean. This memoir chronicles that history during the early years of the Anderson and other DESRON 15 ships forward deployment as seen through the eyes of an enlisted sonar technician.

ISBN/ASIN: 9781718722484
Book Format(s): Soft cover, ePub/iBook
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 254