Member Books for July 2014

Nonfiction

Aboard the Farragut Class Destroyers in World War II: A History With First-Person Accounts of Enlisted Men. By Capt. Leo Block, USN (Ret), Life Member. McFarland & Co. ISBN 978-0-7864-4222-5. 240 pp. $39.95.

This book describes the life of the enlisted man aboard a Farragut class destroyer during the pre-World War II years; the war preparation period in 1941; and the wartime years. It features first-person narrations collected from interviews and correspondence with the few remaining Farragut class destroyer sailors, and briefly describes the evolution of the destroyer and the Farragut class destroyers, five of which survived the war.

Acres Aweigh! A True Story of the History of Naval Station Mayport. By CWO2 Joe Abb Overby, USN (Ret). Global Authors Publishers. ISBN 978-0982122389. 172 pp. $9.82.

Those who see Naval Station Mayport as it is today may not realize that the property where they now stand once held a thriving resort called Wonderwood By-The-Sea. Acres Aweigh! is the story of that time, and of the woman who developed the resort, Mrs. Elizabeth P. Stark. Get to know and love this fascinating, courageous and groundbreaking woman as young tug master Overby himself knew her. But Acres Aweigh! is more than Mrs Stark's story. It is also the story of a growing Navy base during the author's tour of duty there and his adventures aboard his aging tugboat, jokingly called "June-Moon-Uniform." It will bring a knowing smile to the face of any sailor who's ever served at Mayport or aboard a Navy ship. 

Dartmouth Veterans: Vietnam Perspectives. Edited by Phillip C. Schaefer, with several essays by MOAA members. Dartmouth College Press. ISBN 978-1-61168-549-7. 400 pp. $23.42. 

These are tales of what it was like for young men to go from the bucolic hills of New Hampshire to a land wracked by war and violence. The result is a collection of more than fifty accounts, showing the variety of experiences and reactions to this dramatic period in American history. Some soldiers were drafted, some volunteered; some supported the war, but many turned against it. Common to all the stories is the way in which war changes men, for good and ill, and the way in which the Vietnam experience colored so much of the rest of these writers’ lives. 

For God and Country: Considering the Call to Military Chaplaincy. By Lt. Col. Brian L. Bohlman, ANG, Life Member. So Help Me God Project. E-book ASIN B004P8JSWO. 131 pp. $6.99. 

Considering the call to ministry can be a difficult process. When one senses a call to ministry outside the traditional church setting, such as the military chaplaincy, there can be a greater deal of difficulty in discerning the call. The author writes from a Christian perspective and holds the premise that the vocation of military chaplaincy is a high and honorable calling from God. 

This project examines the call to serve as a military chaplain in the United States Armed Forces among a group of fifteen seminary students. The majority of the participants were students at Columbia International University. Several others attended Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. To assist these students in discerning a call to military chaplaincy, a three-session small group workshop was developed and held during the spring 2008 semester.
The goal of the students was to discern and demonstrate a clear call to military chaplaincy as they participated in the workshop. The goal of the workshop facilitator, who also helps recruit military chaplains, was to list and interpret the common factors and vocational motivations of the seminary students called to serve as military chaplains.
The dissertation explores the call to military chaplaincy as an act of ministry that involves an initial call from God, the confirmation of the Church, and the obedience of the person who says, “Here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6:8b). The author views Christian chaplains in the military as an extension of Christ’s ministry to all people and examines several Biblical texts that relate to the various aspects of the military chaplaincy and provide a Biblical basis for ministry.
The outcomes of this project will benefit military chaplain recruiters, vocational counselors, denominational endorsers of military chaplains, and any person who is considering the military chaplaincy as a vocation.

Post 8195: Black Soldiers Tell Their Vietnam Stories. Edited by former Army Sgt. Bobby White, with a chapter by Maj. Charles James, USA (Ret). Beckham Publications Group. ISBN 978-0-9848243-5-9. 228 pp. $15.53. 

VFW Post 8195 in West Park, Florida, through the Stone of Hope Program, organized services and programs to help Vietnam and other military veterans and their families who had special needs. "The Vietnam War was physically, spiritually and emotionally exhausting for us," says post commander Bobby White. In this unique collection, he has brought together the words of 23 veterans who witnessed the war's cruelty and brutality. Through their testimonies, White reminds us that the war's impact has been long-lasting, with both negative and positive results. Readers will be riveted by their narratives of racism, hostile battlefields, ambush zones, fire fights, land mines, flashbacks, search-and-destroy missions, military police operations, working with K-9s, and finally addressing and putting the PTSD issues at ease. 

Fiction 

Return to Harvest: A Novel of Hope About Recovering From PTSD. By Lt. Col. Banks Hudson, USAR (Ret), Life Member. ISBN 978-0-615-93249-1. 772 pp. $25.95. Available as an e-book. 

This is a gripping story of two soldiers, Jett and Ace, coming home from war who dread facing the new battles of adjustment from the horrors of combat to their old life in the mountains of North Carolina. You follow these two life long friends through the trauma of their last long range patrol and through their struggles to rebuild their lives. Driven by their desperation to numb the darkness of unspeakable memories, they turn to sex and booze which leads to betrayal, hurt, confusion and problems with the law. Intensifying their heart ache and pain, those choices drive them further into despair and isolation from families, friends and the women in their lives. After a life threatening experience, they are forced to face the reality they are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Through the urging of family and an increasing sense of desperation, they reluctantly agree to participate with eight other combat veterans in a PTSD treatment program led by a psychologist they call, “Doc.” They share a sense of urgency to find some relief from suicidal thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, isolation and depression. Two of the veterans face an additional crisis. A female veteran lost an arm and a male lost vision in one eye. Doc introduces them to a new form of “basic training” which is received with mixed reactions. In and outside the group, you walk with them through their hopelessness, rage, despair, and tears. They experience hope and possibility not only through what Doc teaches, but through the close bond that forms between these soldiers that share the experience of combat. They stand together to cry, laugh and relive their trauma to find hope for recovery from a source they never suspected. 

Memoir

An Aviator’s Journal. By Lt. Col. James D. Fox, USA (Ret). Xlibris. ISBN 978-1-4653-4499-1. 434 pp. $31.49. 

The story of a young man's humble beginnings to become a corporate pilot for the worlds largest oil company. With only his experience from a Piper Cub J-3 he competes in the world of experienced military and airline pilots for the top job as one of the frirst generation of business jet pilots.  Lockheed called them Jet Squires. 

His story of personal rejection because of his lack of experience to his rise in the ranks contains elements of adventure with sometimes a humorous tint. 

A study of pilot personalities is part of the story; of pilots that have done nothing in their life but fly airplanes, and they hate it! 

It is a fun read. 

First in Vietnam: An Exercise in Excess of 30 Days. By Col. Emmett F. Knight, USA (Ret), Life Member. AuthorHouse. ISBN 978-1-4918-4505-9. 364 pp. $21.56. 

This book is about the continuation of someone else's war and the very early days in the assumption of that war by the United States of America. It is set against the beginning of a major expansion of our advisory effort supporting the South Vietnamese Government which was fighting against an expanding guerrilla war supported by the communist North. North Vietnam was in turn supported by both China and Russia, thus setting the stage for an essentially no win situation. The geopolitical problem was, of course, of limited concern to most of those soldiers who fought there, including the men of the 57th Transportation Helicopter Company. As conditions worsened they just went out and flew the missions including the first heliborne assault of the war and for a year afterward. In words written at the time, this was a period when they were not going by the book, they were writing the book on helicopter combat operations. This is their story as told by the operations officer that led the flying activity in the unit. It is a description of the training, deployment and first missions in Vietnam. It recounts the serious aspects encountered in the early days, but it also tells of the accidents, incidents and the humorous side of things that are often left out of wartime accounts. There are chapters about dealing with the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps as they entered the fray. Not the least of the story has to do with the interaction between the author and some of the more senior officers involved in the war at that time. In those cases, the author often contradicts the official view and draws uncomplimentary conclusions about their conduct and eventual impact on the Vietnam War. 

Flying in the Land of Sand and Sun: The Land of Mystery and Intrigue. By Lt. Col. James D. Fox, USA (Ret). Xlibris. ISBN 978-1-4797-8607-0. $34.99. Any book purchased from the author will be personally autographed by the author at no additional charge. Contact: jfox@vvm.com

This is the story of a pilot's adventures and education while flying for the Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia. A land of mystery and intrigue. There are no tourists in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. You must have a government sponsor with an entry visa to go there. An exit visa will be issued after your arrival at the discretion of the government. To go there is no guarantee that you will be allowed to leave. The author was held sixty-days beyond his contract before he was allowed to leave. The mail is censored both coming and going. Mail from the USA is sometimes as late as six months. Photographs are forbidden without express permits from the government. Photos made by the author were made without a permit and were taken from suitcases passing through airport checkpoints. Hotels and fine dining rooms are primarily for men only. Separate and isolated sections are for families (men with their wives). There are no movie theaters or places of entertainment as known in the rest of world. No religion other that Islam is tolerated. The author explains his experience there with some tongue in cheek. To live in a place that has much wealth and is still trying to bring its nomadic people still dedicated to tribalism into the modern world is an education. In the most part the Saudis are a very friendly people, and they love Americans . . . in the most part. If you think that recent coverage of the Middle East on television has given you knowledge of what that part of the world is like, then please read on. 

Just a Dumb Kid From Nowhere. By CWO2 Joe Abb Overby, USN (Ret). iUniverse. ISBN 0-595-36802-6. 182 pp. $16.95. 

Please, Bill, don't shoot! A shotgun blast changes young Joe Overby's life forever. After his father shoots the county sheriff, three-year-old Joe sets out on an unimaginable series of adventures. Just A Dumb Kid From Nowhere takes you back to Depression-era Mississippi. Join Joe as he lives life in an orphanage, in a series of sharecropper's shacks, in a log cabin, and on a farm. Learn what it was like to pick cotton by hand, to harvest sorghum, to make molasses, and to work the wheat harvest during World War II. With Joe, you'll share in the joys, yearnings, and desperations of a growing boy as he discovers the world and his place in it. Through this anything-but-dumb kid, you'll laugh and cry, always rooting for the boy who is determined to make something of himself. If you want to experience life in the rural South during this formative time in America's history-the food, clothing, culture, and customs-Just A Dumb Kid From Nowhere will take you there. 

No Bell for Dak To. By Col. Michael P. Umhofer, USA. Luthers Publishing. ISBN 1-877633-49-6. 322 pp. $25. Purchase from Kate Umhofer, 1531 Rugged Ct., Midlothian, TX 76065, or call Ann Umhofer-Marich at (623) 414-0868. A videocassette is available upon request for $10 (includes postage). 

This book is the daily journal of Col. Michael P. Umhofer, describing events and personal attitudes, as objectively as possible during his assignment as a Civil Affairs Officer within the 1st Bde. Of the 4th Infantry Division Army located in the central highlands of Pleiku Province. The journal begins in 9 July 1967 through 30 June 1968. 

Turning Final: A Life Complete. By Lt. Col. Jim Reed, USAF (Ret), Life Member. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4269-6319-3. 228 pp. $14.27. 

Jim Reed has had a life of diverse adventure. From sending U-2's to the North Pole, retrieving missiles in the open ocean, and a flying and boating career that spanned the world, he has done just about everything that you could pack into one lifetime. Turning Final captures those adventures and shares it with all of us who dream of meeting exciting challenges. This story is about a real life pilot/sailor who accomplished things that most people only dream about while at the same time he and his lovely wife raised a family of four boys. His life truly spans the world.