Ensign Locker, The
Author: John Zerr
Publisher: iUniverse.com (2010)
Binding: Paperback, 436 pages
Set in 1966. Most of the action takes place aboard USS Manfred, a Navy destroyer, operating in the waters off North and South Vietnam. The five junior officers live in the ensign locker. Against a backdrop of the social, moral, and geographic forces working to shape the nation, and the expanding Navy's efforts to adjust to the demands of this new war, the denizens of the ensign locker all struggle to adapt to the Navy and to the rigors of combat, but no one struggles more than the junior ensign, Jon Zachery. But even after a new commanding officer takes a personal dislike to Zachery, nothing affects the junior ensign as much as being personally attacked by anti-war college students after he returns from his combat deployment.
Naval Junior Ensign Jon Zachary, Two Buckets, can't seem to get the hang of things aboard the USS Manfred bound for the war in Vietnam. Odd man out, he has a hard time hanging on to his strong Catholic Faith, his wife and his temper. When he gets a handle on one aspect of his life, another seems to fall apart. Mixed ideals and reactions to the war in 'Nam complicate his life on land and at sea even more. Just as Two Buckets starts to make amends at home and a name for himself onboard, the ship gets a new Skipper who's more interested in medals than honor, and things start spiraling out of control.
John Zerr's unique conversational style of writing takes the reader through the protagonist's life as if a stowaway inside Jon's brain.
Reviewed by: Sandra Miller Linhart (2011)