BOOK REVIEW – The First Fight: U.S. Marines in Operation Starlite, August 1965

By Rod Andrew Jr., Marine Corps University, History Division, Quantico, VA (2015) Reviewed by Timothy Heck Colonel Rod Andrew’s The First Fight is part of a larger official commemorative effort dedicated to the Marine Corps’ involvement in Southeast Asia from the early 1960s until 1975.  This pamphlet history by Marine Corps University is a concise

A Pilgrimage to Honor and Remember My POW Husband

In 2016, the Naval Historical Foundation is celebrating its 90th year as a non-profit institution. We are highlighting stories that honor our commitment to preserve, educate, and commemorate naval history. Retired Navy Captain and former Vietnam POW Ken L. Coskey remains a central figure in the storied history of this Foundation. This  onth marks the

An American Inferno over Vietnam: Violent Skies Symposium Recap

“To the fair world: and heedless of repose We climb’d, he first, I following his steps, Till on our view the beautiful lights of Heaven Dawn’d through a circular opening in the cave: Thence issuing we again beheld the stars.” – Inferno, Canto XXXIV (Dante Alighieri) They were your friends and neighbors in your hometown.

BOOK REVIEW – Surprised at Being Alive: An Accidental Helicopter Pilot in Vietnam and Beyond

By Robert E. Curtis, Casemate Publishers, (2014) Reviewed by Thomas Ostrom In his 24 years in the service, Major Robert F. Curtis flew helicopters for the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and Kentucky National Guard. Curtis flew in the United States, Britain (with the Royal Navy), Norway, and Vietnam from shore bases and the rolling decks

BOOK REVIEW – A Common Virtue: A Novel

By James A. Hawkins, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD (2014) Reviewed by Colonel Curt Marsh, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (Retired) A Common Virtue is the first novel by author James Hawkins, a former Marine who served during the Vietnam War. The story is about a Marine officer and a young enlisted Marine who lead in

Ditty Bag: Trần Hưng Đạo

Ditty Bag: Collections of the Naval Historical Foundation An Artifact and Collections Blog Series Ditty Bag: Trần Hưng Đạo Statue Admiral James L. Holloway III, USN (Ret.) received this statuette from Rear Admiral and Chief of Naval Operations of the Republic of Vietnam Navy, Tran Van Chon in 1972 when then-Vice Admiral Holloway was Commander,

Mystery Individual Discovered in Paintings and Photographs

The U.S. Navy is currently on a worldwide search to identify a mysterious individual found in our nation’s most celebrated moments of naval history. Recent photographic evidence found deep in the archives of the U.S. Navy suggests one singular man appearing in navy art and photographs throughout the 240 history of the Navy. The man

Ditty Bag: World War II Japanese Parade Victory Flags

Ditty Bag: Collections of the Naval Historical Foundation An Artifact and Collections Blog Series World War II Japanese Parade Victory Flags These small, silk Japanese flags were used locally in Japan to cheer on Imperial Japanese sailors and soldiers before they left the comforts of home for the battlefield. This first flag bears the typical

CALL FOR PAPERS – Violent Skies: The Air War Over Vietnam

Violent Skies: The Air War Over Vietnam A Symposium Proposed for October 2015  Four military service historical foundations—the Air Force Historical Foundation, the Army Historical Foundation, the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, and the Naval Historical Foundation—recognize that a half century has passed since the United States became militarily engaged in Southeast Asia, and hope to

BOOK REVIEW – The Path to War – U.S. Marine Corps Operations in Southeast Asia 1961 to 1965

By Col George R. Hofmann Jr. USMC (Ret.), Government Printing Office, Washington DC (2014) Reviewed by Charles Bogart This book is part of Marines in the Vietnam War Commemorative Series. As with all USMC histories, this book is both a history and a lesson learned publication. The title is a little misleading, as the author

BOOK REVIEW – We’ll All Die As Marines: One Marine’s Journey from Private to Colonel

By Colonel Jim Bathurst USMC (Ret), IUniverse, (2012) Reviewed by Curt Marsh, Col USMCR (Ret) This is a very engaging autobiography of one Marine’s career worth reading by fellow Marines as well as anyone interested in recent Marine Corps history. The book covers the period from his enlistment in 1958 after dropping out of High

The Never-ending Season: Vietnam POWs and the Lifetime Baseball Pass

In 2006, during the 25th anniversary of the return home of the 52 American hostages in Iran, then Washington Post staff writer Les Carpenter wrote a wonderful piece about the generous gesture of MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn to grant lifetime game passes to each of the detainees released in 1981. The article went on to

Air Medals Awarded to Vietnam Naval Aviators

“This is Blackbeard on board Newport News with a shore bombardment force in Haiphong Harbor. We are engaged with several enemy surface units and need illumination to sort things out. Any aircraft in the area give me a call on guard. What we really need are high-powered flares. Blackbeard out.”          

BOOK REVIEW – The Lucky Few: The Fall of Saigon and the Rescue Mission of the USS Kirk

By Jan K. Herman, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD (2013) Reviewed by Nathan D. Wells The role that the United States Navy played in the Vietnam Conflict is well known, especially with regard to the beginning and escalation of the conflict. The role played by the US Navy in the war’s final days is less