Member Books for October 2014

Nonfiction 

Firefly: A Skyraider’s Story About America’s Secret War Over Laos. By Capt. Richard E. Diller, USAF (Ret), Northern Illinois Chapter. Dog Ear Publishing, www.fireflythebook.com. ISBN 978-1-4575-1969-7. 312 pp. $22.50. Available on www.amazon.com

Once everything is set up, I roll in. Control stick hard left into a sharp left turn and let the nose drop quickly but smoothly to 40° down. Down. My heart is pumping hard. I'm in a sharp dive. I have to do it right and fast. Line up the target in the sight. It's getting bigger as I get closer to the ground. Airspeed is increasing! Quick! Right there! Pickle at 8,000 feet, only 2,000 feet from roll-in altitude. Not much time. NOW! Pull out! Pull hard, but don't over G! All the remaining ordnance is trying to pull the airplane toward the ground. Smoothly pull to four Gs. Watch the artificial horizon. It's the only visual reference I can count on. Pull! Get the nose up! Don't go below 7,000 feet because rocks can be anywhere below seven. There's level. Bring it on up. Twenty-five degrees nose high. I have plenty of speed, so keep the nose up. Here comes 8,000 feet. Then 9,000. I can let the nose down a little now and look around to see if anyone is shooting.  

It is 1969 and Dick Diller is on his way to flying warplanes in the Vietnam conflict. He is commissioned to fly A-1 Skyraiders in sometimes harrowing nighttime missions over Laos-surviving not only the danger of the missions he flew, but also the bureaucracy of the air force, from fitness testing to additional duties assigned, to attacking impossible-to-find targets in the dead of night-with minimal fuel supplies.
At once entertaining and riveting, as well as thought-provoking, Firefly is the story of one man's journey in a world at war, and a day-to-day description of the fighting force that was flying A-1 Skyraiders in combat. Firefly contains actual transcriptions of dialogue of pilots locating a target and making a strike in northern Laos. 

Threats and Challenges: Strategies in a New Century. By Lt. Col. Edward Corcoran, USA (Ret). ISBN 978-1-62407-476-9. 144 pp. $9.99. $2.99 (Kindle). 

An overview of the threats and challenges to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The book puts them in perspective with each other, identifying major programs addressing them as well as opportunities they represent. The disappearance of the Soviet Union and the rise of the internet and globalization have dramatically changed the strategic situation facing the nation, intensifying the need to fashion a new system for developing a comprehensive National Strategy. 

Tours of Duty. By Cmdr. Gary K. Cline, USN (Ret), Life Member. ISBN 978-0-578-13922-7. 208 pp. $14. 

I was privileged to have served in all three military services, Army, Navy and Air Force and held 13 ranks. These included: Airman Recruit, Airman, Army Private, Private First Class, Specialist 4, Specialist 5, Warrant Office 1, Chief Warrant Officer 2, Ensign, Lieutenant (Jg), Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander, and Commander. I completed over 30 years of service and would love to do it all again — with a few changes. 

The Whole Truth: The Tainted Prosecution of an American Fighter Pilot. By Col. Robert Harvey, USAF (Ret), Cape Canaveral (Fla.) Chapter. Viper Pilot Press. ISBN 978-0615933634. 336 pp. $15.95. $5.99 (Kindle version). 

The Whole Truth details the politically motivated, wrongful conviction of USAF Fighter Pilot Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, his subsequent acquittal and the political upheaval in Washington that resulted. Colonel Bob Harvey, (USAF retired) exposes a callous disregard for policy, ethics, and the law by Air Force investigators, prosecutors and commanders in the overzealous prosecution of the high-profile case and reveals how the US military is sending innocent men to prison in the name of political correctness. 

Fiction 

Night Work: A Novel of Vietnam. By Lt. Col. Dennis Foley, USA (Ret). Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0804107242. $.9.99. 

Captain Jim Hollister ended his first tour of duty in Vietnam laid up in a field hospital. His most serious wounds were deep inside. Back home in America, he often woke up in the middle of the night in the grip of terrifying nightmares. But nothing—not even his long-suffering fiancée, Susan—could stop him from going back to serve his country. 

This time around, Jim serves as operations officer for Juliet Company, a Ranger squad with high demands placed on it to find and eliminate Viet Cong forces slipping across the Cambodian border. Fighting the enemy in the rice paddy terrain between Saigon and the border requires even more planning, training, and battlefield guile than do the tropical rain forests of the Central Highlands.
Night Work brings to vivid life the courage and selfless dedication of the Army Rangers in Vietnam—and the profound costs of war.

A Poem From Punk: Selected Poems. By Capt. Alfred “Punk” Fowler, USN (Ret), Life Member. New Hanover. ISBN 978-1-939132-05-5. 

A Poem From Punk is a selection of poems Al wrote to his sweetheart, Katie Shadle, in high school before they graduated together in 1944 and married in 1945. A documentary of the miracle of young love, A Poem From Punk tells the story of a young man’s expression of the love experienced by two young people who grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, fell in love as teenagers and waited for the end of World War II. 

The Saga of the Mackinnon Clan. By Capt. Jerry Love, USN (Ret), Life Member, Central Florida Chapter. Xlibris, www.xlibris.com. ISBN 978-1-4931-7642-7. 268 pp. $16. Available at www.amazon.com and www.bn.com

This novel begins in the eighteenth century with the first generation of an imaginary extended family and how well documented historical events prompt the family to seek a better way of life. The family initially resides in the British Isles and with the passage of time migrates to the new world in the United States. 

It continues with the adventures and experiences of two brothers who, after four years of combat in the Civil War, decide to establish a new life in the Wyoming Territory where they meet and marry two beautiful young ladies. The sensual love shared by one of the brothers and his beautiful bride on their wedding night is described in detail, a deep love they experience throughout their adult life. 

After building a successful cattle ranch, they are faced with challenges associated with protecting their property from politically active large ranching interests determined to annihilate them with every means at their disposal, whether inside or outside of the law. The determined intent of the large ranchers to destroy the small ranchers results in an all out war that is eventua1ly won by the small ranchers with the support of the duly elected law enforcement officials, determined to wipe out all illegal activities such as lynching’s and cattle rustling. 

The principal activities of the novel occur in the northeastern frontier area of the Wyoming Territory, where the breathtaking Bighorn Mountains cast a shadow over the Powder River Basin, long recognized as one of the most desirable cattle grazing areas in the country. 

Although life on an isolated frontier ranch is often thought of as being very boring with an aster life style, there are many available amenities that the two brother and their two families thoroughly enjoy as described in the novel. These include country style dancing such as the polka, waltz, and the two step, hunting big game including elk, bighorn sheep, and antelope, horse-back riding, bird hunting, fly fishing for trout, and enjoyable experiences associated with visits to large western cities such as Denver and San Francisco. 

Take Back the Night: A Novel of Vietnam. By Lt. Col. Dennis Foley, USA (Ret). Ivy Books. ISBN 978-0804107259. $9.99. 

In the increasingly divided Juliet Company, racial tensions are running high and morale is at an all-time low. Combat readiness seems tenuous. Captain Jim Hollister’s first order of business is to bring his company back into fighting shape. To survive hot LZs, sleepless nights, and a tireless enemy, the men of Juliet Company have to train hard and then fight harder—and watch out for their brothers in arms. 

New commander Captain Jim Hollister makes extreme demands on his Rangers to enhance their combat expertise and survivability through rigorous training and preparations for each operation. As the US begins its withdrawal of troops, Hollister and his men are entrusted with gathering the critical intelligence needed to save American lives while attempting to eliminate or capture as many enemy soldiers as they can with their small teams of Rangers. 

From infiltration patrols into Viet Cong camps deep in Cambodia to critical oversight by a chain of command without much understanding of ranger patrol techniques, Hollister even has to protect his men from higher headquarters. The operations he oversees reveal the physical and psychological wounds of a war that can never be forgotten. 

Take Back the Night is the searing final chapter in Dennis Foley’s acclaimed Jim Hollister Trilogy. 

Tears for Cambodia. By Lt. Col. Ed Mooney, USA (Ret). Dog Ear Publishing, www.edmooneybooks.com. ISBN 978-1-4575-2400-4. 292 pp. $15.99. 

Lt. Colonel Max Donatello left the military decades ago, but his experiences serving in Cambodia never left him. As the story in this new novel relays, his beloved wife, Emily, left him after years of marriage because he refused to share his pain or get professional help that might allow him to move beyond the trauma of his past.  Now Max and his children, Chris and Melissa, are grieving Emily’s untimely death, and Max finds himself reliving past mistakes and looking for a way to make his future (and his relationships with his children) better.  

For years, Emily had urged Max to go back to Cambodia, to face the nightmares head on and possibly overcome them. Max resisted, but now he feels compelled to revisit the country that was nearly destroyed by the Khmer Rouge so many years ago. Max’s story is told in flashback, as he relives his former life while visiting the Cambodia of today. Max plans to spend nearly a month in Southeast Asia; will he be able to put the horrors that haunt his dreams to rest, or will they overcome him, destroying his foundering relationship with his family? 

Tears for Cambodia is a sympathetic portrait of an officer helplessly following orders, even though he knows they will result in tragedy. Max’s pain and the courage with which he faces his demons are compelling, and readers will be rooting for Max and his redemption. 

Memoir 

Blue-Eyed Boy: A Memoir. By Capt. Robert Timberg, USMC (Ret), Life Member. The Penguin Press. ISBN 978-1-59420-566-8. 384 pp. $17.68. 

Acclaimed journalist Robert Timberg’s extraordinary, long-awaited memoir of his struggle to reclaim his life and find his calling after being severely burned as a young Marine lieutenant in Vietnam. 

In January 1967, Robert Timberg was a short-timer, counting down the days until his combat tour ended. He had thirteen days to go before he got to go back home to his wife in Southern California. That homecoming would eventually happen, but not in thirteen days, and not as the person he once was. The moment his vehicle struck a Vietcong land mine divided his life into before and after. 

He survived, barely, with third-degree burns over his face and much of his body.  It would have been easy to give up.  Instead, Robert Timberg began an arduous and uncertain struggle back—not just to physical recovery, but to a life of meaning.  Remarkable as his return to health was—he endured thirty-five operations, one without anesthesia—just as remarkable was his decision to reinvent himself as a journalist and enter one of the most public of professions. Blue-Eyed Boy is a gripping, occasionally comic account of what it took for an ambitious man, aware of his frightful appearance but hungry for meaning and accomplishment, to master a new craft amid the pitying stares and shocked reactions of many he encountered on a daily basis.
By the 1980s, Timberg had moved into the upper ranks of his profession, having secured a prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard and a job as White House correspondent for The Baltimore Sun. Suddenly his work brought his life full circle: the Iran-Contra scandal broke. At its heart were three fellow Naval Academy graduates and Vietnam-era veterans, Oliver North, Bud McFarlane, and John Poindexter. Timberg’s coverage of that story resulted in his first book, The Nightingale’s Song, a powerful work of narrative nonfiction that follows these three academy graduates and two others—John McCain and Jim Webb—from Annapolis through Vietnam and into the Reagan years. In Blue-Eyed Boy, Timberg relates how he came to know and develop a deep understanding of these five men, and how their stories helped him understand the ways the Vietnam War and the furor that swirled around it continued to haunt him, and the nation as a whole, as they still do even now, nearly four decades after its dismal conclusion.
Like others of his generation, Robert Timberg had to travel an unexpectedly hard and at times bitter road. In facing his own life with the same tools of wisdom, human empathy, and storytelling grit he has always brought to his journalism, he has produced one of the most moving and important memoirs of our time.

Hurricanes to Antarctica: Tales of a Naval Aviator. By Capt. Alfred N. Fowler, USN (Ret) Life Member. New Hanover. ISBN 978-1-939132-06-2. 

In his book Hurricanes to Antarctica, Fowler takes the reader on a ride, flying low, and into the eye. Before satellites were available, low-level aircraft penetration was the procedure used to accurately observe the size and strength of hurricanes, measure the lowest pressure, and locate the center. The author describes his experiences flying in the Navy hurricane hunter squadron during the 1950s and also his experiences in a leadership role in Antarctica — both on and off the ice. 

In addition, Captain Fowler served as executive officer in an aircraft carrier, the USS Kearsarge, during the Vietnam War. He completed his naval career in command of Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica. Then his service “down on the ice” continued as the deputy division director of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation where he shared responsibility for the United States Antarctic Program. Following retirement from NSF, he was employed by the American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C., where he served as the first executive secretary for the Council of managers of National Antarctic Programs. 

Just an Ordinary American Extraordinarily Blessed. By John T. Reeves. Xlibris. ISBN 978-1-4771-2165-8. 146 pp. $26.99. 

This book is about the journey of a lifetime of just an ordinary American who was extraordinarily blessed with life altering opportunities to grow and serve in the highest levels of Government, the Church, and elsewhere and lived to share these stories. 

The author is extremely grateful for the successes he has enjoyed in life and for the “doors of opportunity” opened to him. His desire to encourage others by sharing his experiences from a humble beginning in the foothills of North Carolina to the highest levels of Government, the Church, and travels to ancient cities of the world is the reason for this book.

It is a book appropriate for all ages – children and young adults who need inspiration and encouragement; more mature persons who are in their parenting and working years; and senior citizens who will be blessed by a stroll down memory lane as they recall their own life’s journey.

The Lieutenant Don’t Know: One Marine’s Story of Warfare and Combat Logistics in Afghanistan. By Capt. Jeff Clement, USMC. Casemate. ISBN 978-1612002484. 264 pp.$25.96.   

Jeff Clement's first book is an account of his time as a US Marine Corps Logistics Officer and truck platoon commander running convoys in Afghanistan's Helmand Province in 2010.   The book follows his platoon on treacherous patrols across rugged terrain, weathering dozens of enemy attacks. The platoon perseveres to provide vital supplies to friendly units.  This is the first book about the Marines’ combat logisticians in Afghanistan. The Lieutenant Don’t Know provides a refreshing look at the gritty challenges our Marines face in Afghanistan, from the perspective of a young officer who was willing to learn and take responsibility for his unit in a confusing war.