Gangway, Regular Navy: Memoirs of Life and Humor in the United States Navy during the Cold War
Author: Richard I. Merrell
Publisher: Heritage Books, Inc. (2005)
Binding: Paperback, 206 pages
Inspired by an extraordinary twenty-year U.S. Navy career, Gangway, Regular Navy! is the end result of two decades of blood, sweat, and beers. Covering the Cold War era from 1960-1980, Gangway, Regular Navy! is a historically and militarily accurate portrayal of world events during that time period. These pages contain an in-depth "behind the scenes," whirlwind journey that lets the reader experience the historical, hilarious, shocking, and sometimes criminal activities that the author witnessed as a member of the world's most powerful and diverse fighting force-the United States Navy. Gangway, Regular Navy! is a no-holds-barred, unapologetic, politically incorrect, first-hand account of these activities, from a time when being a member of the U.S. Navy meant not only overwhelming responsibilities, but also unbridled freedom and good times for millions of young men and women. Young people often dream of escaping the boundaries of their mundane hometowns and traveling to exotic lands, experiencing unique cultures, and meeting unforgettable characters around the world. The author lived this dream during a twenty year U.S. Navy career that proved to be the adventure of a lifetime and a learning experience that cannot be taught in any school. Much of the material in the book was dredged from hard nights in the sleazy, grimy, wonderful back alleys and gin mills of some of the world's most shady places, where the hookers would just as soon slit your throat as perform their intended obligations. It is here where sailors gather to drink heartily and engage in the age-old art of verbal one-upmanship, taking great pride in telling the most amazing, the funniest, or the most bizarre story of the evening. Written by a tried and true Tin Can Sailor, the author's diverse background as both an enlisted man and an officer gives a truly unique perspective of Navy life, and also provides insight into the amazing men and women who served during that time. As a humorous, honest, uplifting account of a twenty-year slice of naval history, Gangway, Regular Navy! is certain to entertain, inform, and delight everyone who dares read its pages.
MWSA 2007 Silver Medal for Non-Fiction, Military, Navy
A hilarious account of life in the REAL Navy! Richard Merrell's book is a treasure of SNAFU's, goatropes, and other various nautical misadventures from his distinguished career in the Navy between 1960 and 1980. Merrell's frank, open style coupled with a seemingly endless supply of pranks, foibles, and brushes with greatness paint a rich tapestry of humor, camaraderie, and service that any military servicemember will certainly appreciate.
The most striking things I noticed as I read through his book were Merrell's attitude of service and his innate ability to the job done. Beneath the humor of the situations described were the stories of a man who truly believed in the value of what he was doing, someone who enjoyed serving his country, who took care of his sailors, and who took pride in his career. He just had the personal balance to have a heck of a good time while doing it!
From his days in boot camp though time in Florida, the Philippines, the Persian Gulf, Richard Merrell enjoyed life and enjoyed his career. Through his book, you can enjoy them too. An absolute MUST READ for anyone who served in the Navy during Vietnam or the Cold War!
Reviewed by: Rob Ballister (2007)