Special Recognition Awards
Mike Mullins Memorial Writer of the Year
Our inaugural Mike Mullins Memorial Writer of the Year for 2018 was presented to Mike Mullins posthumously and was presented to his widow, Phyllis, and sons, Shane and Joel, during our awards banquet.
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Over time, MWSA’s special recognition awards have varied in content, intent and number. In the recent past, we have given special recognition in the form of a Writer of the Year, Founder’s Award, and President’s Award. Although there will be no President’s Award for the 2018 Season, we will be presenting the recently-modified Writer of the Year and the Founder’s Awards this evening.
For the past decade or more, MWSA has honored one of its stand-out member/authors as its Author of the Year. If you peruse our website, you’ll find the names of these distinguished writers going all the way back to 2011.
The award has always recognized both excellence in literature and a demonstrated strong commitment to our organization. In December of last year, your MWSA Board of Directors passed a resolution to rename this award in honor of long-time MWSA member, author, poet, veteran… and all-around good guy, Michael “Moon” Mullins.
Mike was a serious and dedicated writer—but those of us who knew him, saw him as someone who never took himself too seriously. He always had a kind word of advice, a joke to tell, or perhaps a prank to pull on some unsuspecting fellow MWSA member. We’ll all remember and cherish that ever-present smile and that distinctive twinkle in his eyes.
Mike’s body of work includes a wide variety of literary achievement. He authored solo efforts like:
- Vietnam in Verse: Poetry for Beer Drinkers
- Out of the Mist: Memories of War, and
- The Drifter
He also co-authored many other works—often working with fellow MWSA member Jim Greenwald—like:
- Pass The Salt Doc
- Memories and Shadows, and
- Kings of the Green Jelly Moon
You’ll even be able to listen to Mike’s smooth baritone voice, as he agreed to narrate the audio book version of Joyce Faulkner’s Username.
Mike’s service to MWSA goes way back as well. Over the years, he served in various volunteer and leadership positions—including a stint as MWSA Vice President. He also reviewed scores of books as a rather prolific MWSA reviewer.
Many years ago, Mike authored a periodic column for one of the earlier iterations of our website called “Moon’s Mutterings.” In one of those Mutterings, Mike discusses the deteriorating quality of the writing he sees around him: in books, on TV, and even the grammatical errors he finds in department store advertising. He ties things together in this article with a short overview of what MWSA meant to him… and I’d like to share those few sentences with you this evening…
Mistakes, which we all make, are not my concern. Quality, and the effort it takes to sustain it, are. That is one of the reasons I am proud of MWSA. Quality is a core value and the programs we put together are meant to help us all maintain a higher than usual level of that disappearing goal.
The criticisms I have gotten within this family have helped me evolve into a better writer. The support I get here has turned my educational training into something more creative and flexible. I continue to learn.
Every time another educational opportunity is offered to us, it is a chance to be something more than I was before. Our membership forces me to think about what I do. I doubt I will ever be satisfied. I doubt anyone here will be. We push each other at the same time we offer a word of support. It is a pretty good deal for a few bucks a year.
Although Mike’s no longer with us, his writing and the legacy of his involvement with this organization still echoes for all of us. In recognition of his works of literature, and especially for his contributions to MWSA over the years, it is an honor and privilege for me to present our inaugural Mike Mullins Memorial Writer of the Year Award to Mike’s wife, Phyllis, and his entire family.
Rick St John for Tiger Bravo’s War
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The MWSA Awards Program is perhaps best-known for our award of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for the top-scoring books submitted each year.
Our Founder, Bill McDonald, also likes to single out an author for especially meritorious works of literature; or perhaps for his or her service to our country’s military, its active duty members, or its veterans; or, frankly, for any reason he feels is appropriate. Bill tends to highlight those authors and their works, which are not only clearly superior in a literary sense, but personally impactful to him.
For this reason, we’re never quite sure where Bill’s gaze will settle each season.
This year, Bill zeroed in on one of those authors who has just been presented with one of our Gold medals for 2018. In Bill’s opinion, this author’s book clearly exemplifies a literary effort that is completely in synch with our MWSA mission and philosophy… a work that reflects credit upon the author, our nation’s military, and this organization.
Due to ongoing health struggles, Bill was unable to join us this evening. However, on his behalf, I’m very proud to present the 2018 MWSA Founder’s Award toRick St John, for his book, Tiger Bravo’s War. Rick, please come up…
As Rick makes his way up front, I’d like to share two paragraphs from our MWSA review of Rick’s book. It’s worth pointing out that this review is from Betsy Beard, without doubt, one of our most discerning… AND demanding reviewers:
If you have never read a book about the Vietnam War, I recommend that you read this one. For that matter, if you’ve read fifty books about Vietnam, I still suggest that you read Tiger Bravo's War by Rick St John. Engagingly written, Tiger Bravo's War draws you into the maelstrom of war, one step at a time. It provides context and understanding of a divisive time in our nation’s history. It honors the men who lived and loved; laughed and cried; sacrificed and bled or died.
This is not an easy book to read. But it’s important. There were several times I had to put the book down, just to take some time off to absorb the difficulty and the horror of what our fighting men endured. And there were a couple times I just wanted it to end; the book seemed too long. However, I felt compelled to continue reading in honor of those who actually lived through the experience. If they could persevere and endure for a full year, I reasoned that I could continue reading for a few hours. No doubt they would have liked the luxury of time off to absorb the difficulty and horror. And no doubt they just wanted it to end. But they soldiered on. I could do no less.
On behalf of our MWSA Founder, Bill McDonald, it is our pleasure to present our 2018 Founders Award to Rick St John.
Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Eddie and Bingo : Destination Christmas by Kathleen and Katherine Taylor
my daddy is a sailor by Tahna Desmond Fox
My Daddy Sleeps Everywhere by Jesse Franklin
Children's Chapter Book
Jacqueline by Jackie Minniti
Love, Sweet to Spicy: A Corrales Writing Group Anthology by Chris Allen, John Atkins, Maureen Cooke, Sandi Hoover, Tom Neiman, Jim Tritten, and Pat Walkow
Holy in the Moment: Simple Ways to Love God and Enjoy Your Life by Ginger Harrington
Uncommon Bond by John House
The Shadow Tiger: Billy McDonald, Wingman to Chennault by William C McDonald III & Barbara L. Evenson
Tiger Bravo's War by Rick St John
Air Force One by Nicholas Veronico
Blades of Thunder by W. Larry Dandridge
Chopper Heroes by William Peterson
Wonderful Flying Machines by Barrett Beard
Tested by Connie Cockrell
Hal Moore on Leadership: Winning When Outgunned and Outmanned by Harold G. Moore
Syllables of Rain by D.S. Lliteras
The Perfection of Valor by Bob Mustin
Flowers from Afghanistan by Suzy Parish
Marcel's Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man's Fate by Carolyn Porter
Racing Back to Vietnam, A Journey in War and Peace by John Pendergrass
Heroes to the End by Jim Smith
Kanaga Diary: Lost in the Aleutians, 1938 by Estelle Lauer
Through Smoke-Teared Eyes: The Vietnam War I Fought by Johnny F. Pugh
Land of Wolves: The Return of Lincoln's Bodyguard by Tj Turner
Soft Target by John D Trudel
The Consultant by Tj O'Connor
Homeland Burning by Brinn Colenda
Into a Dark Frontier by John Mangan
Sins of the Fathers by Joseph Badal
Lighthouses of America by Tom Beard
War in the Company of Medics: Poems of the 45th Surgical Hospital in Vietnam by John J. Candelaria
Vietnam Voices by Michael Lepore
The Wicked Problem of Cultural Heritage and Conflict by Christopher Herndon and Joris Kila
African American Warrant Officers - Their Remarkable History by Farrell Chiles
Bradley vs. BMP: Desert Storm 1991 by Mike Guardia
Young Adult (fiction or non-fiction)
Sebastian's Tale by Dylan Weiss
Book Summaries & Reviews
Click on a book cover or title to go to the individual book page for more details and to see the MWSA review (if completed).
Or use the search box to find a specific title, author or genre.
Videos and Press Releases
Click here to visit our promotional materials page where you’ll find digital images of medals, stickers, and other items for your marketing efforts