Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel

Title: Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel
Author: Jim Kosmo and John Kriesel
Genre: Military, Army
Reviewer: John R. R. Faulkner

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1592983375

When SSG John Kriesel lost his legs and two buddies in a roadside bomb explosion, no one expected him to survive. He died three times on the operating table. Miracles, a lot of miracles, starting with a few grunts who refused to let him die in Iraq, ripped the young warrior from the grip of death and sent him on to four hospitals, thirty-five surgeries, and months of recovery and rehabilitation. Medical miracles put his body back together, but it was an incredible confluence of angels at every step along the way that breathed life into his shattered body.

This is not just another war story. This is the story of an ordinary young man who overcame extraordinary challenges with a lot of help from others, including many strangers and he emerged stronger and more in love with his country, his wife, his children, and ultimately, his own life.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Kosmo, Jim
Kriesel, John

The Sentinel & the Shooter

Title: The Sentinel & the Shooter
Author: Douglas W. Bonnot
Genre: Military, Army
Reviewer: Lee Boyland

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1595944184

Secret societies have existed for millennia; their purposes myriad. Generally, they are exclusive and require members to take an oath to keep their organization and activities secret. They possess guarded means of identification and communication. Some exist in the open, their purposes known, their activities undisclosed, and their practitioners anonymous. The US Army Security Agency was a separate organization within the Army having its own installations, training, academic, logistic, communications and scientific institutions and members took an oath to keep the organization and its activities secret, their identity and communications guarded. Until the advent of the Vietnam War, their purpose was intelligence gathering for national strategic objectives. As the US role expanded from advisory to active combat, intelligence support to combat units changed the structure and character of the Agency. Organizational secrecy, guarded communications, and member anonymity remained. The 265th Radio Research Company (Airborne) sentinels operated in the shadows, yet stood beside their warrior counterpart providing intelligence to the 101st Airborne Division. 101st Airborne units involved in the war are etched in the stone of their memorial at Arlington Cemetery. The 265th RRC (ABN), the only unit etched on the back, remains in the shadows. Nearly forty years have passed since the last Sentinel departed Vietnam. This is their story.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Bonnot, Douglas W.

Two Gold Coins and a Prayer: The Epic Journey of a World War II Bomber Pilot and POW

Title: Two Gold Coins and a Prayer: The Epic Journey of a World War II Bomber Pilot and POW
Author: James H. Keeffe Jr.
Genre: Military, Air Force
Reviewer: Rob Ballister

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 098436000X

James H. Keeffe Jr., a World War II and Korean War veteran, went on his first airplane ride at the age of 10 and thus was born his life-long love for flying. This book tells the riveting story of a young airman s journey from enlistment, through training, into battle, and beyond. His story is told with fascinating detail that allows the reader to experience all that he encounters as he bails out of his stricken bomber, is hidden in plain sight of the enemy, eventually betrayed, taken prisoner, and sent into the German POW system. In August, 1942, in the midst of World War II, Jim Keeffe joined the U.S. Army Air Forces and arrived at Aviation Cadet Training. On Thanksgiving Day, 1943, after months of rigorous training, he arrived in England with his crew to begin flying B-24 bombing missions. Then, on the 8th of March 1944, Keeffe s airplane is shot down over Holland, catapulting him into a world squeezed colorless by the ever-tightening Nazi fist of occupation. Moving from safe house to safe house in the Dutch Underground, Lt. Keeffe is able to evade the enemy for five months. Then one day, he is betrayed and sent to Stalag Luft III, a German POW camp near Sagan, Germany. There he spends months in captivity and endures the rigors of a forced march to another prison camp. Keeffe takes us into the difficult life in the POW camps which we see in unfaltering detail. When he and his fellow POWs are finally liberated in late April of 1945, we experience their joy firsthand.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Keeffe Jr., James H.

Safe Landings; Memoirs of an Aviator's Wife

Title: Safe Landings; Memoirs of an Aviator's Wife
Author: Fran McGraw
Genre: Military, Air Force
Reviewer: Larry Wikoff

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1615665633

A heart-warming memoir of an aviator's wife and her successful fifty-year marriage that endured numerous separations and frequent locations related to military service and her husband's insatiable desire to fly. There are vivid descriptions of military quarters and family situations during assignments that included a 3-year tour in Italy, Alabama (4 times), Arizona (3), Georgia (2), New Jersey (2), North Carolina, Hawaii, and New Mexico (2) where the family lived during the Vietnam War years.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
McGraw, Fran

Men Who Killed the Luftwaffe: The U.S. Army Air Forces Against Germany in World War II

Title: Men Who Killed the Luftwaffe: The U.S. Army Air Forces Against Germany in World War II
Author: Jay Stout
Genre: Military, Air Force
Reviewer: Bob Doerr

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0811706591

At the outset of World War II the Army Air Corps numbered only 45,000 men and a few thousand aircraft—hardly enough to defend the United States, let alone defeat Germany's Luftwaffe, the world’s most formidable air force. Yet by the war’s end the Luftwaffe had been crushed, and the U.S. Army Air Forces, successor to the Air Corps, had delivered the decisive blows. The "Men Who Killed the Luftwaffe" tells the story of that striking transformation, one of the marvels of modern warfare, while simultaneously thrusting the reader into whirling, heart-pounding accounts of aerial combat.

The Allies couldn't defeat Hitler's Third Reich without destroying its industry and taking its territory. But before they could do either, they had to neutralize the Luftwaffe, whose state-of-the-art aircraft and battle-seasoned pilots stood ready to batter any attackers. Great Britain's Royal Air Force was only barely holding the line and the might of America was needed to turn the tide. Almost from scratch, the United States built an air force of more than two million men. Thanks to the visionary leadership of Henry “Hap” Arnold, Carl “Tooey” Spaatz, Ira Eaker, James Doolittle, and others, the USAAF assembled a well-trained and superbly-equipped force unlike any ever fielded. And thanks to the brave Americans who crewed, maintained and supported the aircraft, the USAAF annihilated the Luftwaffe as it pounded targets deep inside Germany and elsewhere.

A stirring tribute to these men as well as an engaging history, The Men Who Killed the Luftwaffe vividly describes World War II in the skies above Europe. At the same time it captures the personalities of the men who won it, whether on the ground or in the sky. Stout—a career fighter pilot—brings to this work what few other writers can: The perspective of an airman who knows firsthand the confusion of air combat and the terror of being fired upon.

Jay A. Stout, a retired U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot with twenty years of service, flew thirty-seven combat missions during Operation DESERT STORM and is now a senior aviation analyst for a leading defense corporation. His previous books include Hornets over Kuwait, Fortress Ploesti, Hammer from Above and Slaughter at Goliad.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Stout, Jay