Military

By Dammit, We're Marines! Veterans' Stories of the Heroism, Horror, and Humor in World War II on the Pacific Front

Title: By Dammit, We're Marines! Veterans' Stories of the Heroism, Horror, and Humor in World War II on the Pacific Front
Author: Gail Chatfield
Genre: Non-Fiction, Anthology
Reviewer: Mike Mullins

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 097790394X

Technology changes with every war, but the universal human experience of combat remains the same. Marines and soldiers from the battlefields of Valley Forge to the streets of Fallujah understand patriotism, fear, death, loneliness, and the humor that helps them through the rough times. By Dammit, We're Marines! is a collection of eye witness accounts by 52 veterans who served on the Pacific Front during World War II. When ordered to secure another Japanese-held island, these Marines grabbed their M-1 rifles, climbed down rope ladders into the waiting landing craft, and hit the beaches. They faced not only an embedded, well-equipped enemy, but also flesh shredding coral reefs, malarial and dengue fever-ridden jungles, mosquito and crocodile-infested swamps, and a noxious moonscape sulfur island. The author's father was one of those Marines who fought on Bougainville, Guam, and Iwo Jima. He died when she was 15 and never shared his wartime stories. Wanting to learn more, Chatfield sought out veterans of those conflicts. Their stories offer a literary archeological dig of sorts into 1940's culture and technology. Body armor was a canvas shirt with a metal covered copy of the Bible in the breast pocket. Camouflage clothing was do-it-yourself burlap suits stippled with Max Factor women's make-up. Cutting edge medicine was sulfa tablets to treat infection and blood plasma shipped in glass bottles to field hospitals. Canvas hammocks stacked 8-10 high served as bunks aboard overcrowded ships. They used salt water soap for salt water baths and were issued OPA tickets, V-mail, C-rations, K-rations, and helmets that served as sinks and saucepans. Creating the safest foxhole took some ingenuity and a few discarded tank parts. Most of the veterans interviewed in this book are Marines, but war is a collaborative effort. Marines were transported by the Navy, relieved by the Army, and most of the time their job was to secure airfields for the Army Air Corps. No story of the Marines would be complete without hearing from those branches of service. Chaplains, corpsmen, sailors, soldiers, and B-29 bomb crews share their stories of serving with the Marines. These veterans offer their stores as a part of our historical record with the hope that battles like Saipan, Bougainville, and Iwo Jima will never happen again

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Chatfield, Gail

Stand To... A Journey to Manhood

Title: Stand To... A Journey to Manhood
Author: E. Franklin Evans
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Jim Stewart

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0595450539

E. Franklin Evans had watched every war movie John Wayne ever made, sometimes several times over. When the “Duke” led his men, war was exciting and heroes were made as they ruggedly fought and predictably won each battle. But when Evans’ high school friend and real-life hero Glenn was killed in Vietnam, war became real and personal for Evans, and he felt a tremendous obligation to the buddy who gave his life in that faraway jungle.

At the tender age of nineteen, Evans voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Army and left for basic training in early December of 1966. Before long, he was deeply entrenched in a treacherous war, far removed from his innocent and carefree youth. He had to learn not only to survive but also to muster the bravery to lead others in combat as he was thrust from adolescence into adulthood.

It has taken Evans more than thirty-five years to begin to heal the physical and emotional wounds that kept him from sharing his intensely personal story. From his depiction of the picturesque aerial view of Cam Rahn Bay to that of the barbed wire, metal planking, and squat huts housing weapons of death and destruction, Evans’s Stand To …provides a vividly detailed glimpse into what it was like to become a man on the battlefields of Vietnam.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Evans, E. Franklin

Proximity: A Novel of the Navy's Elite Bomb Squad

Title: Proximity: A Novel of the Navy's Elite Bomb Squad
Author: Stephen Phillips
Genre: Fiction, Military, Navy
Reviewer: Rob Ballister

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1425751563

EOD-"It's a lot like brain surgery, except if we screw up the patient detonates....Oh yeah, and we do it underwater."
- A Navy EOD Technician

The Sailors of the United States Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community "perform under pressure" in the hazardous job of bomb disposal, often deep beneath the sea...alone.

An EOD Technician must have the brains of an engineer, the hands of a surgeon, and the courage of a martyr. In the U.S. Navy, carrier flight operations only occur under the watchful eye of EOD Techs ready to respond to ordnance accidents. U.S. Marines assault enemy beachheads only after EOD Techs clear the littoral seas and landing zones of mines. The U.S. Secret Service even relies on military bomb squads to protect the President and visiting foreign dignitaries. Perhaps the best testimony of their value is that when the Navy needs to place a limpet mine under an enemy ship it tasks the Navy SEALs, but to respond to such an attack - the Navy summons EOD.

Proximity highlights the exciting work of one EOD detachment as they become enmeshed in the efforts of a terrorist coalition operating both in Europe and the United States. Lieutenant "Jazz" Jascinski and the men of Detachment Four become the key to helping the FBI apprehend these terrorists - until their unique skills place them under suspicion. To protect themselves, the Techs must race to find the culprits before they become the next victims...

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Phillips, Stephen

One Weekend a Month

Title: One Weekend a Month
Author: Craig Trebilcock
Genre: Fiction, Military, Army
Reviewer: Andrew Lubin

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1591138922

An eight man Army Reserve team struggles to find meaning in the Iraq War, as their attempts to save a critically ill Iraqi boy are hampered by careerist superiors, enemy insurgents, and the unyielding Arab culture. Written by an Iraq War veteran.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Trebilcock, Craig

Fire Mission:The World of Nam-a Marine's Story

Title: Fire Mission:The World of Nam-a Marine's Story
Author: Earl Gorman
Genre: Non-Fiction, Military, Marines
Reviewer: Andrew Lubin

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0615205941

Award Winning Memoir of a life-changing 2007 adventure back to Vietnam with a medical mission team that weaves in the author's 1965-66 combat experiences as a Marine artillery officer, "who spent too much time with the grunts." Against all odds, he searched for the two Vietnamese friends he had emotionally connected with during the war. Closure for combat veterans is the powerful message that weaves through the inspirational story. A deadly Viet Cong sapper unit attack on his artillery battery as well as episodes from Operation Hastings, the first large scale battle along the DMZ are featured combat stories. Tours of Hue, the Gulf of Tonkin, and the "Hanoi Hilton" prison round out the Annapolis graduate's memoir.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Gorman, Earl

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