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Archive for the ‘Navy’ Category

A weekend reading review…because sometimes Pastors need a break from heavy reading also.

Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully. Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway.  Washington D.C.: Potomac Books, November 1st 2005. 612 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Want to read one of the best book on the Battle of Midway?  I remember as a young kid reading about this battle and how it turned the tide of the war in Pacific in favor of the United States in which Japan suffered serious loss in this battle.  This work simply exceeded my expectation and I was thoroughly hooked from page to page, which might sound almost unbelievable concerning a military operational book but the two authors did a good job telling us the story of the Battle of Midway and throughout the book they also critically interact with previous presentation of the battle by historians and popular misconception and argue for their account of what happened in a way that is informative while displaying an attitude of being concern for truth of what really happened.

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A weekend non-fiction reading review!  Something timely in light of V-J (Victory over Japan) day yesterday!

Jack “Dusty” Kleiss.  Never Call Me a Hero: A Legendary American Dive-Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of Midway. New York, NY: William Morrow, May 23rd 2017. 312 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

What is it like to hear the account of a pilot who made history in World War Two?  This book gives us a taste.  The author N. Jack “Dusty” Kleiss was a naval pilot who fought in the battle of Midway.  Midway was the naval battle that changed the direction of the war and the tide was turned against Japan.    Kleiss didn’t just take part of the battle; he was one of those pilots who actually successfully bombed Japanese ships and carrier and directly contributed to the strategic defeat of Japan.  This is his story and the story of the men he served with.

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A weekend leisure reading review…because sometimes Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading!

James G. Stavridis.  Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans. New York, NY: The Penguin Press, June 5th 2018. 384 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is a wonderful and highly informative book on geopolitics.  The author James G. Stavridis is an accomplished US Naval Admiral and among his many accomplishment was being the Supreme Allied Commander for NATO towards the end of his career.  His perspective is quite insightful and I would say unique!  He’s not only looking at this in light of analysis and history but also shares his personal “sea stories” that makes this book all the more interesting.

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A weekend nonfiction book review.  Because even Pastors need a break from heavy theological readings.

Mitch Weiss.  The Heart of Hell: The Untold Story of Courage and Sacrifice in the Shadow of Iwo Jima.  New York, NY: Penguin Group, March 1st 2016. 432 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This book tells the story of a Navy craft on the eve of the Marines’ landing on the island of Iwo Jima.  It is not a story of the small boat per se (the craft is Landing Craft Infantry 449) but the stories of the men who make up the crew of Landing Craft Infantry 449.  This is the first naval history book I read of World War Two as an adult.  I certainly enjoyed it and learned a lot from it in terms of human nature, war and humanity.  In this review I want to first note the helpful format of the book and then discuss the content of the book itself.

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Another weekend, another weekend leisure reading review.

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Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger. Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates.  New York, NY: Sentinel, November 3rd 2015. 238 pp.

5 out of 5

I remember as a kid reading old books on Marine Corps history that talked about a conflict I rarely hear people talked about in which the Marines was at the tip of the spear waging a war against Barbary Pirates in the Mediterranean and North Africa in the early part of the 1800s.  It sounded so exotic and I was fascinated with how the United States’ Navy and Marines as small as they were back then went about trying to execute their mission despite limited manpower and military capabilities.  It was during a time when the United States was still a new country and the leaders of the US was still trying to figure out what to do and how to do it.  So I am glad that over two decades later I came across this book on the United States response to the Tripoli pirates.

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Seal Team Six Howard Wasdin

Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin. Seal Team Six: Memoirs of An Elite Navy Seal Sniper.  New York, NY:
St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012. 331 pp.

This is a memoir of a member of the Navy Seals counterterrorism team called DEVGRU or popularly known as Seal Team Six.  The author served pre-9/11 during the 80s and 90s.  At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to be interested but I was surprised as I was read through the book with how much action and real world operations that the author did participate in.  Like most books of the SEAL autobiography genre the book tells us about the author’s childhood and then entrance into the Navy.  As a pastor I thought it was interesting to read of the author’s account of the role of strong men in his life as an influence from the church he attended.  The book goes on to have stories about BUD/S, the rigorous six months selection program a candidate must past before they are accepted into the Seals operational teams.  What set this book apart from the others is the fact that the author gives us an account of the Navy Seals Team Six during the years after its founding by its first commander Richard Marcinko and the post-9/11 era.  Unlike the two eras before and after it, the time period of the 90s is not the subject of most books.

The author participated in the First Gulf War and gave his account of missions infiltrating deep into Iraq.  He was also involved with a take down of a vessel in the Persian Gulf.  Because of his experience and involvement more than other Seals including those in his teams the author Howard Wasdin was able to enter Seal Team Six even though he was much younger and has less years under his belt compare to the typical Seal that applied for this special team.  Wasdin later became one of the top snipers in Seal Team Six.  I love his many stories of training missions and also training with other forces including the Australians and the competition between other US special operation forces.

The most harrowing part of the book is Wasdin’s account of combat in Somalia.  Any readers who have read Black Hawk Down would appreciate the first hand account by Wasdin of the Battle of Mogadishu.  In the book Black Hawk Down the four Seals in that operation was only mentioned briefly in the beginning of the book with the funny account of how one of the Seal’s bowie knife stopped a bullet.  Wasdin’s account gives us more of a picture of how intense the fighting was that day.  Wasdin’s sniping operation helped protected the lives of Delta Force operators and Army Rangers.  Unfortunately Wasdin was seriously wounded during the battle.  The book’s other sad moment was when the author’s marriage ended up in a divorce.  I can’t help but to think of how many Special Operation Forces operators’ marriage often become a casualty due to their husband’s training and deployment schedules.  It prompted me to pray for the marriages of those serving our country.  It also made me prayed for these men to know the Lord Jesus Christ as they emulate Jesus’ example of willingness to lay down their lives for others.

Purchase: Amazon

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To purchase the book on Amazon, Click HERE

This is an interesting biography of a naval war hero during the American War of Independence.  Being in the military I have heard his name thrown around but know next to nothing about him.  I imagine I’m not the only one.  So I thought I give this book a read and since I didn’t know what to expect from his rather interesting life there were moments in the book I was left in suspense since I didn’t know what the outcome would be!  One doesn’t get such thrills often with historical biography.  John Paul Jones is indeed an interesting figure and I’m struck by some of the parallel between him and another contemporary (in) famous military figure: Benedict Arnold.  Like Arnold, John Paul Jones was militarily ambitious and climbs the ranks from the bottom not through nobility but by proven service.  Both men’s daringness brought them military victories and both were driven by fame—and set them up for disappointments when Congress or other officials didn’t appreciate their deeds.  Both men also led American forces against the British outside the boundaries of the colonies—and in the case of Jones, he struck fear off the coast of the United Kingdom.  Whereas Arnold later betrayed his country, Jones stayed the course with the Continental Navy.  The most interesting chapter in Jones’ life was when he later joined the Russian Navy.  It was interesting to read of an American Naval war hero in the court of Catherine II.  Eventually the jealousy, language barrier and the difference of naval warfare led to disagreement and conflict between Jones and those in the Russian Navy.  Jones left Russia a bitter man.  Personally, after reading the book there were lessons for life that I took away from reading this book that capture the human condition (which is the same then as now):  First, ambition for success don’t always succeed.  Second, even if there is success, it might not turn out to be the way one planned it.  Thirdly, the end of John Paul Jones’ life made me realized how fleeting it is to pursue human glory and praises of others—because one can’t control what others think of us, or even acknowledging one’s success.  John Paul Jones would have been a forgotten American hero in later generation if it wasn’t for Teddy Roosevelt who many decades later was searching for a Naval War hero to develop a Naval tradition to pitch his strategic vision of a large Navy to the American people.  Overall this is a great book in capturing the good, the bad and the ugly but ultimately the very human side of a famous naval hero.

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