My Dash: The Autobiography of
Colonel William C. Koch, Jr. By William
C. Koch, Jr., USAF (Ret). JeanShadrack Publishing. ISBN 978-0-615-88689-3.
A follow-on to author William C.
Koch’s first book, The Diary of Elsie Kleiner Koch 1932, published in
2008, which was based on a diary that Koch’s mother kept in 1932 and ended with
her being pregnant and Koch’s birth in 1933. My Dash begins with Koch’s
birth and runs through the present. It is the story of a man born in a small
town during the Great Depression, who lived through World War II, the Korean
War, and graduated from college. While in college, Koch completed ROTC and
became an Air Force officer. The book includes his experiences in the Air Force
while flying in the Vietnam War and retiring after 30 years of service.
Finally, it delves into his second career and final retirement. It is similar to
many lives lived by men of his age and time. Many will see their own lives in
We Wrote Letters Then: How
Family and Friends Stayed in Touch During the Vietnam War. By Maj. William A. Walker, USA (Ret). Lulu Publishing.
Prior to the internet, email,
Skype, and social media, the primary means of personal communication was postal
mail, and delivery times were subject to the vagaries of transporting personal
mail in wartime. With author William (Bill) Walker in Chu Lai and his wife Elin
Walker in Denmark, it sometimes took weeks to exchange information. Today’s
generation, accustomed to instant communication, can hardly imagine waiting a
week or more for a reply from a loved one.
Elin’s anxiety was already high
when she boarded a plan in Copenhagen, Denmark, to meet Walker for some rest
and relaxation in Bangkok, not knowing if he had received her letter confirming
her travel plans. It accelerated when Russian fighter planes suddenly appeared
beside the commercial plane as it flew over Russia and inexplicably was ordered
to land in Moscow. Passengers deplaned and were herded to a dark room while
their passports were inspected. The couple’s reunion in Bangkok did occur
though, and included a rendezvous with Walker’s brother Jack, who was an Air
Force air traffic controller stationed at Takhli Air Force base, Thailand.
Elin’s letters to her husband were
postmarked from wherever her travels took her, beginning at Fort Ord, Calif.;
Fort Hood, Texas; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; New York; Denmark; Thailand;
to Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, and Heidelberg, and Goppingen, Germany.
Walker, a personnel officer at the
American Division headquarters, wrote about the ins and outs of providing an
array of day-to-day personnel services to the division from the Chu Lai,
Vietnam, base, where sometimes routine activities were punctuated by a rocket
The Walker family managed to save
all of their correspondence, as well as letters from family members and
friends. Hundreds of letters, transcribed, unedited, and arranged sequentially,
are heavily illustrated with photos and make for a small time capsule of the
times on a personal level. The thoughts and impressions of close family members
and friends are laced with their own letters written during tumultuous times,
which included the Tet Offensive, antiwar demonstrations in the U.S. and
Europe, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy,
the invasion of Czechoslovakia and others, which influenced world affairs.
Seasons of Triumph. By Cmdr. Kenny Wayne Fields, USN (Ret). CreateSpace. ISBN
Seasons of Triumph is an inspiring story written by Kenny Fields, a former
Navy A-7 combat pilot and award-winning author of The Rescue of Streetcar
304. In his latest book, Fields recants his trials and tribulations while
growing up in the ‘40s and ‘50s. This deftly written and novel-like memoir by a
coal miner’s son weaves true tales about his daily activities and schooling in
hilly West Virginia, the backwoods of Kentucky, and one year in Ohio. Along his
path to high school graduation, Fields struggles to break free from his overly
restrictive mother, and he also fights to overcome two obstacles that are
thwarting his two major goals: stardom on his high school athletic teams and
the love of a girl. He constantly is told he is too small to play with the big
boys and he is too shy to talk to girls. Yet, he fights on with dogged
persistence, courage, religious faith, and the support of family, coaches, and
friends. Fields’ experience will appeal to readers of all ages and his
heartwarming memories — home life, roaming the mountains, attending a one-room
school, competing with teammates, dating girls — provide a nostalgic look back
in time at the daily lives of his real-life characters. This story will inspire
the young who have similar obstacles to overcome, and, for the not so young,
will evoke wonderful memories of their own youthful mistakes and triumphs.
The President's First Year:
None were Prepared, Some Never Learned — Why the Only School for Presidents is
the Presidency. By Capt. Douglas A. Cohn,
USA (Ret). Lyons Press. ISBN 978-1-4930-1192-6.
A fascinating new angle on
presidential history, assessing the performances of the presidents in their
freshman year of the toughest job in the world. Grouped by issues the new
presidents confronted in their first years in office, the book takes readers
into the history, thought processes, and results on a case-by-case basis,
including how the presidents’ subsequent actions proved they learned (or didn’t
learn) from their mistakes. From George Washington to Barack Obama, The
President’s First Year details the challenging first twelve months of all
our presidents’ tenures.