Member Books for March 2017

NONFICTION

Let’s Do Some Planning, A Guide for Working with Groups to Accomplish Bottom-Up Planning. By Lt. Col. Garry Cooper, USA (Ret). BookBaby. ISBN: 978-1-48356-224-7.

Let’s Do Some Planning fulfills a practical need when working with groups to accomplish planning-related tasks.

This is a how-to book that provides step-by-step descriptions for a variety of applied-planning methods and techniques: focus groups, mission statements, core values, changing times, visioning, strategic directions, alternative futures, action planning, and several more. Descriptions are concise, include essential information to get started, and are practical platforms for the development of applied skills that one can use in communities and organizations of any size.

Working with groups can be challenging, and chapters in this book provide what often is a missing link in understanding process designs that can help create good ideas and making them happen. Each chapter independently makes sense, and collectively they paint a portrait that captures the dynamic nature of several applied-planning concepts.

The final chapters include reflections on the art and science of planning and bring closure to an informative planning journey that involves working with groups to accomplish applied planning.

The Ragged Edge: A U.S. Marine’s Account of Leading the Iraqi Army Fifth Battalion. By Lt. Col. Michael Zacchea, USMC (Ret), Life Member, and Ted Kemp. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-61373-841-2.

Deployed to Iraq in March 2004 after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, U.S. Marine Michael Zacchea thought he had landed a plum assignment. His team's mission was to build, train, and lead into combat the first Iraqi army battalion trained by the U.S. military.

Quickly, Zacchea realized he was faced with a nearly impossible task. With just two weeks training based on outdated and irrelevant materials, no language instruction, and few cultural tips for interacting with his battalion of Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Yazidis, and others, Zacchea arrived at his base in Kirkush only to learn his recruits would need beds, boots, uniforms, and equipment.

His Iraqi officer counterparts spoke little English. He had little time to transform his troops — mostly poor, uneducated farmers — into a cohesive rifle battalion that would fight a new insurgency erupting across Iraq. In order to stand up a fighting battalion, Zacchea knew he would have to understand his men. Unlike other combat Marines in Iraq at the time, he immersed himself in Iraq's culture: learning its languages, eating local food, observing its traditions, even being inducted into one of its Sunni tribes.

A constant source of both pride and frustration, the Iraqi Army Fifth Battalion went on to fight bravely at the Battle of Fallujah against forces that would eventually form the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The Ragged Edge is Zacchea's deeply personal and powerful account of hopeful determination, of brotherhood and betrayal, and of cultural ignorance and misunderstanding. It sheds light on the dangerous pitfalls of training foreign troops to fight murderous insurgents and terrorists, precisely when such wartime collaboration is happening more than at any other time in U.S. history.    

FICTION

Forty Thieves: A Novel of Intrigue and Terrorism in Arabia — Book One of the Care and Valour Trilogy. Lt. Col. William Westgard, USA (Ret), Life Member. CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1-53505-052-4.

Forty Thieves is set during 1994 in the fictional, small, newly oil-rich Emirate of Al-Khali on the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. As the first book of a trilogy, Forty Thieves introduces the lead characters — four members of the newly-established defense attaché office in the American Embassy — and follows them as they interact with the local government and military forces and with other foreign diplomats and oil company executives to defend against sabotage and terrorism threats. Also included: a love story between the American defense attaché and a British diplomat; mystery about the ownership of the oil company; internal intrigue in the Al-Khali government; and the possibility of malfeasance by the American ambassador and his wife.

Personae Non Gratae: A Novel of Intrigue and Terrorism in Arabia — Book Two of the Care and Valour Trilogy. Lt. Col. William Westgard, USA (Ret), Life Member. CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1-53700-078-7.

Personae Non Gratae continues the storyline begun in Forty Thieves. The setting remains in the newly oil-rich, fictional Emirate of Al-Khali in 1994.

The principal characters — Lt. Col. David Morgan, defense and military attaché; Lt. Cmdr. Jean-Jacques Pelletier, naval attaché; Chief Warrant Officer Peter DaSousa, operations coordinator; Marianne DaSousa, office secretary; and Kate Macleod, British diplomat and Morgan’s lover — continue to lead the plot but are joined by several new characters. The title alludes to the identification of those who are removed from Al-Khali because of their personal undesirability or official malfeasance. 

The love affair between Morgan and Kate Macleod continues with complications.  Pelletier establishes a relationship with a French female journalist. At the same time, opponents of Al-Khali’s emir continue their efforts to destabilize the country by terrorism, and the counterterrorism actions of the Americans and their Al-Khali colleagues achieve mixed successes.

Care and Valour: A Novel of Intrigue and Terrorism in Arabia — Book Three of the Care and Valour Trilogy. Lt. Col. William Westgard, USA (Ret), Life Member. CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1-53751-496-3.

Care and Valour concludes the story begun in previous novels, Forty Thieves and Personae Non Gratae. The setting remains principally in the newly oil-rich, fictional Emirate of Al-Khali in 1994.  However, there are sequences in the U.S., England, Germany, and the Hebrides Islands of Scotland.

The principal characters — David Morgan, Jean-Jacque Pelletier, Peter and Marianne DaSousa, and Kate Macleod — still lead the plot, and they are joined by both previously introduced characters and newcomers. The title alludes to a line from Shakespeare’s play, Henry V, which the young king praises a professional soldier, Captain Fluellen. Toward the end of the novel, it is applied to David Morgan by Kate Macleod’s father, a knight and retired major general of the British army. Kate and David’s love affair continues, although now at long distance, as she is in London. 

The same applies to the affair between Pelletier and the French journalist, Françoise Ducrot, since her work requires her to travel through the Middle East and East Africa. Terrorism and sabotage against the Al-Khali government intensifies, but additional allies, some very surprising, are introduced, resulting, finally, in a successful defense. Personal relationships also are more or less resolved while being complicated by several factors.   

MEMOIR  

Shovels and C-Rations: A Seabee’s Recollections From Vietnam 1968-1969. By Maj. Charles D. Thompson, USA (Ret), Life Member. CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1-51889-793-1.  

Shovels and C-Rations is the memoir of Seabee Builder Charles Thompson's experiences with the Naval Support Activity, Da Nang, South Vietnam, from June 1968 through June 1969. A different view of the war in Vietnam is seen through the eyes of a new builder-construction apprentice as he witnesses more of the construction than the destruction of the war. While watching fireworks explode at Da Nang's ammunition dump from atop Monkey Mountain, viewing incoming Soviet 122mm rockets overhead to adventures at a French dam up the coast from Da Nang, the stories give an entirely different look at the war. Working with South Korean allies in carpentry was an exceptional experience, as was working with and teaching building techniques to local Vietnamese self-help crews. Finally, while standing at quarters one morning, he is hit with a whole new realization of the devastating weaponry of war as the battleship New Jersey fired rounds overhead from its 16-inch guns. It was like the sound of a freight train racing through the sky as the shells zeroed in on their targets up to 20 miles inland.

The View from the Rigging: Memoirs of a Coast Guard Career. By Capt. Richard J. Marcott, USCG (Ret). Wave Cloud Corp. ISBN 978-1-53560-395-9.  

The View From the Rigging will plunge you into intriguing stories of a 28 year Coast Guard career that spanned the cold war, the turbulent 60s, and the period of detente with Russia.   

Richard Marcott’s crisp, scenic details will make you feel as though you are with him when he encounters Ernest Hemingway, Jacques Cousteau, Eliot Richardson, and Perry Como.  

You will feel the tension during a dramatic night rescue as his command, the Cape Knox, pulls a fisherman from the cold, stormy Chesapeake Bay. You will experience the fury of a hurricane at sea on cutter Absecon en route to one of the largest sea searches in history for survivors of German sail-training ship Pamir. You will laugh with him as he outfoxes a U.S. Navy blockade while pretending to be the enemy. You will giggle as he stumbles to explain to a Japanese artist why his portrait of the captain’s wedding is all wrong. You will discover how Nikita Khruschchev changed his life.  

His stories are more than seagoing adventures. You will enjoy his warm tales of family and friends as they adjust to the diversity of career changes that take them from coast to coast. His stories are told with wonderful detail, pathos, and humor.   

He served on an ocean station vessel and was the commanding officer of a 95-foot patrol boat in Norfolk, Va. He was executive officer of the medium endurance cutter Resolute in San Francisco and commanding officer of the Chilula out of Morehead City, N.C. Marcott directed the West Coast boot camp, taught at officer candidate school, and was the founding director of the first Coast Guard Leadership and Management Development School, which led to his assignment teaching at the National Defense University, the first Coast Guard officer to be so assigned. He had two tours at Coast Guard headquarters, his last as chief of the Training and Education Division. He retired as commanding officer of the Training Center, Petaluma, Calif.