Member Books for May 2014

Nonfiction

Big Guns, Brave Men: Mobile Artillery Observers and the Battle for Okinawa. By former Army Reserve 1st Lt. Rodney Earl Walton. Naval Institute Press291 Wood Road, Annapolis, MD 21402. ISBN 978-1-61251-130-6. 320 pp. $25.31.

Although it was the largest and final battle of the Pacific War, the Battle for Okinawa has long been overshadowed by other dramatic events in 1945. The books that have been written about it emphasize the role of infantrymen, armor, and U.S. Marines. This work takes a fresh perspective and focuses on the vital role played by the U.S. Army's forward artillery observers--the eyes and ears of American artillery who were among the least recognized heroes of the war. According to Rodney Earl Walton, U.S. artillerymen matched Japanese gunners in intensity and surpassed them in effectiveness because their forward observers were able to provide a much shorter response time to requests for artillery support. Divided into teams consisting of four or five men led by an artillery lieutenant, these observers would spend three days on the front lines directing artillery against enemy positions, return to their artillery battery for three days, and then rotate up to the line of battle again. While trying to maximize the damage inflicted on the enemy, the men had to deal with the ever-present possibility of firing on their own forces. The ability to shift artillery fire throughout the battlefield was a new development in World War II, and its evolution is fully examined in the book. 

Walton, the son of one of the forward observers on Okinawa, spent more than twenty years investigating what happened to his father and other artillerymen during the conflict. Interviews with the artillerymen and the infantrymen they supported are central to his story, which is filled with gripping and sometimes humorous accounts of what happened. The work stands as a stirring tribute from the "baby boom generation" to the "greatest generation." 

Skin in the Game: Poor Kids and Patriots. By Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich, USA (Ret), Pittsburgh Chapter. iUniverse, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403, (800) 288-4677. ISBN 978-1-4917-0382-3. 192 pp. $28.95. Available at www.amazon.com and www.bn.com.

Major General Dennis Laich is a citizen, a soldier, and a patriot. In Skin in the Game, he invites Americans to reflect on this very hard truth: the all-volunteer force is a bad bargain. Basic US military policy needs changing. Here is an essential guide on where to begin -Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country Major General Dennis Laich makes a compelling case that the all-volunteer force no longer works in a world defined by terrorism, high debts, and widening class differences. He sets up his argument by posing three fundamental questions: Is the all-volunteer force working? Will it work in the future? What if we had a war and no one showed up on our side? The answers to these questions become all too clear once you learn that less than one percent of US citizens have served in the military over the last twelve years-even though we've been fighting wars the entire time. What's more, most of that one percent comes from poor and middle-class families, which poses numerous questions about social justice. This one percent-the ones that survive-will bear the scars of their service for the rest of their lives, while the wealthy and well-connected sit at home. Fortunately, there are alternatives that could provide the manpower to support national security, close the civil-military gap, and save taxpayers billions of dollars per year. It's possible to fight for what's right while ensuring a bright future, Laich offers a wake-up call that a debt-burdened nation in a dangerous world cannot afford to ignore.

Social Work. By Maj. Reynold Muranaka, USAR (Ret), Life Member. Third Place Press, www.thirdplacepress.com. ISBN 978-1-60944-088-6. 271 pp. $20.

Chronic alcoholics (men and women) were committing slow suicide. I wanted to relieve this hopeless mood by a 3-phase process as follows: 

 

  • “A way to a man’s heart is thru his stomach” so I prepared freshly brewed coffee, bought donuts from the donut shop, and my wife baked cookies or cake the night before each weekly meeting. The group members appreciated this and resulted in free and open discussion of their many questions, complains and personal problems.
  • 2. Utilized community resources such as the public health nurse visiting each man’s apartment and suggested improvement in sanitation and appearance of the apartment; the nutritionist from the agricultural extension service prepared a complete and nutritious meal with surplus commodities (flour, canned meat) distributed by the U.S. Government to all welfare recipients. The group members participated in the preparation and consumed the meal in one of the members apartments; visits to the Washington State Museum, shoping mall and the public library.
  • Handed each member a certificate with the words of a famous Japanese philosophy “Seven falls – eight rises” which means “We all fail many times but if you try one more time, you will succeed.” I hand painted each certificate individually because I wanted it to be a personal gift as a thank you for voluntarily attending the meetings.

It proved successful. Several members quit drinking alcohol and resumed full time employment.

Understanding and Clarifying Your Values (Assessment Included). By Lt. Col. William O. Blackwood, USA (Ret), Ph.D., Life Member, and Maj. L. Ray Mauser, USAF (Ret). CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1-47510862-0. 76 pp. $12.99. Available at www.amazon.com or from the authors: William O. Blackwood, PO Box 1254, Haymarket, VA 20168, or L. Ray Mauser, 8501 Grigsby Drive, Springfield, VA 22152. The authors pay shipping and include an online version of the updated values assessment not available from any other source.

Bill Blackwood and Ray Mauser use their years of experience as executive coaches and consultants to help you define and clarify your personal values in this book. The authors present a discussion and definition of values as well as a tested, proven values clarification exercise. Values are those things that really matter to each of us—the ideas and beliefs we hold as special and will defend. Ray and Bill maintain a set of values are personal to you; no two people will necessarily have identical values. Thus, it is important that you clarify your personal set of values because your values define who you are, what you stand for, and influence your individual behavior. They provide a list of 70 values to start working with. Moreover, values drive how you gather and interpret information, frame decisions, and make choices, say the authors. Gaining an understanding of your value orientation is this book’s intention. The assessment instrument included in this book is designed to help identify those values that are most important and meaningful to you. This book goes beyond clarifying your personal values. It provides the reader with exercises and techniques for validating and testing your values. You will recognize the various ways in which you engage your values in your daily life and work processes. Also, you will learn to see how you engage in value-driven actions, which may appear neutral or simply logical but nonetheless carry out your values in the way you make judgments, choices, and decisions. The authors separate and define many terms often defined as values. They provide examples of behaviors, attitudes, attributes, traits, and related terms often viewed or misconstrued as values. They also present a discussion of other classifications of values such as core values, social, political, professional, and so forth to help you distinguish these terms from your personal values. This book is a relatively short, quick read; yet hard-hitting with a practical style. While it is designed for understanding and clarifying your personal values, it is also suitable as a handbook for clarifying values in group settings, such as seminars, workshops, classrooms, and professional development venues. 

Walter Goes to War — WWII: A Biography of Captain Walter H. Beckham Jr., USNR Retired, Who LaterBecame a Renowned Florida Attorney. By Maj. Dick Hrebik, USMC (Ret), Life Member. Windy City Publishers, www.windycitypublishers.com. ISBN 978-1-935766-85-8. 182 pp. $11.99. Available at www.amazon.com and www.bn.com.

When Walter was born in 1920, Japan had invaded Korea and China while the world stood by in disbelief that Japan would ever attack the United States. By the time Walter entered high school, he knew war was imminent with both Japan and Germany. Having already been admitted to Harvard Law School, instead, Walter stepped forward and said “take me, I want to serve my country.” 

Fiction

Ides of April: An Allegory for Grown-Ups. By Maj. Mark Druck, USAFR (Ret). Xlibris, (888) 795-4274, www.xlibris.com. ISBN 978-1-4771-5042-9. 

Ides challenges you to face the unthinkable: the ‘Logical, believable end of Planet Earth!’ 

Ides of April is the day! Told thru April Denver, 22, US Senate Page, selected by a weird lady with wild hair, lavender jumpsuit, because April is most special - she is in her 12th reincarnation! How will it happen? Monstrous bomb, stolen by terrorists in Pakistan, launched! 

Tracked by other nations, who launch bombs at Pakistan! The lady, Xrdzk, says, “Orbs come, Orbs go; but hideous explosions may damage other Orbs in this galaxy; that will not do.” Her job: b4 that, delete Planet Earth from the inventory. 

Olive in the Martini. By Maj. Mark Druck, USAFR (Ret). Xlibris, (888) 795-4274, www.xlibris.com. ISBN 978-1-4771-1803-0. 

Olive is 19. She comes to New York and turns all those sophisticated people on their heads. It teems with sophistication and sophisticated people. OLIVE is a HOOT! 

Starhawk. By former Navy Lt. j.g. Jack McDevitt, Golden Isles (Ga.) Chapter, Life Member. Ace Books. ISBN 978-0-425-26085-2. 416 pp. $18.90.

Priscilla Hutchins has been through many experiences. This is the story of her first unforgettable adventure… 

Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins has finally realized her lifelong dream: She’s completed a nerve-bending qualification flight for a pilot’s license.
Her timing is far from optimal, however. Faster-than-light travel has only recently become a reality, and the World Space Authority is still learning how to manage long-range missions safely. To make matters worse, efforts to prepare two planets for colonization are killing off native life-forms, outraging people on Earth.
So there’s not a lot of demand for space pilots. Priscilla thinks her career may be over before it has begun. But her ambition won’t be denied, and soon she is on the bridge of an interstellar ship, working for the corporation that is responsible for the terraforming.
Her working conditions include bomb threats, sabotage, clashes with her employers—and a mission to a world, adrift between the stars, that harbors a life-form unlike anything humanity has ever seen. Ultimately, she will be part of a life-and-death struggle that will test both her capabilities and her character...

Memoir

Hal’s Navy. By Cmdr. Harold H. Sacks, USN (Ret). Parke Press. ISBN 978-0-9883969-3-7. 218 pp. $24.95. 

This memoir covers 20 years of the author’s naval service from 1952-72, including tours in Korea and Vietnam. 

Men Who Fought... Boys Who Prayed: A Combat Chaplain’s Story — Vietnam. By Col. Walter Carter Tucker, USA (Ret), Northeast Georgia Chapter. Tate Publishing and Enterprises LLC. ISBN 978-1-62902-100-3. 280 pp. $17.47. 

Darkness--emotional and literal--shrouded the land as the big 707 touched down and taxied toward the blacked-out terminal. The passengers were quiet, with looks of uncertainty and concern etched on their faces. 

Running All the Way: A Marine, a Runner, a Journey Through Life. By Col. Lawrence Dickerson, USMCR (Ret), Mount Vernon (Va.) Chapter, Life Member. CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1-49359791-8. 184 pp. $25 postpaid. Purchase from the author: (703) 250-8762, 5916 New England Woods Dr., Burke, VA 22015. Available at www.amazon.com.

Running All the Way is a remarkable memoir of Larry Dickerson growing up in West Virginia, serving in the U. S. Marine Corps, graduating from Northwestern University and working 40 years in corporate management, all the while running. Throughout a life at full throttle, Larry, now in his 80’s, has run. He has run to and from school, on football and track teams, on obstacle courses and the deck of an aircraft carrier. He has run for pleasure, thoughtfully, while making decisions, and for the last 35 years, fiercely, to compete in age group competition. He has run more than 1,300 races and won his age group more often than not. Dickerson’s memoir is a series of vignettes extracted from a vibrant life that parallels the growth of a country from the great depression through World War II and the Korean, Vietnam and Cold Wars. He vividly describes combat in Korea and discusses life struggles and perspectives as well as running tips and the physical and mental benefits of exercise. In retirement, as a means to stay fit and mentally “with it,” Larry set a bucket list goal to run a road or track race in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. He recounts, along with other life highlights, successful completion of that goal in Anchorage, Alaska at age 82. Dickerson’s book entertains and extends a challenge to “just do it.” 

The Trident: The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader. By Lt. Jason Redman, USN (Ret), and John R. Bruning. William Morrow. ISBN 978-0-0622-0831-6. 400 pp. $26.99.

Decorated US Navy SEAL lieutenant Jason Redman served his country courageously and with distinction in Colombia, Peru, Afghanistan, and Iraq, where he commanded mobility and assault forces. He conducted over forty capture/kill missions with his men in Iraq, locating more than 120 al-Qaida insurgents. But his journey was not without supreme challenges—both emotional and physical. Redman is brutally honest about his struggles to learn how to be an effective leader, yet that effort pales beside the story of his critical wounding in 2007 while leading a mission against a key al-Qaida commander. On that mission his team was ambushed and he was struck by machine-gun fire at point-blank range. 

During the intense recovery period that followed, Redman gained national attention when he posted a sign on his door at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, warning all who entered not to "feel sorry for [his] wounds." His sign became both a statement and a symbol for wounded warriors everywhere. 

From his grueling SEAL training to his search for a balance between arrogance and humility, Redman shares it all in this inspiring and unforgettable account. He speaks candidly of the grit that sustained him despite grievous wounds, and of the extraordinary love and devotion of his wife, Erica, and his family, without whom he would not have survived. 

Vivid and powerful, emotionally resonant and illuminating,The Trident traces the evolution of a modern warrior, husband, and father, a man who has come to embody the never-say-die spirit that defines the SEALs, one of America's elite fighting forces.