Forthcoming Histories of the Vietnam War

Sherwood nixons tridentTo commemorate the 50th anniversary of the conflict in Southeast Asia, the Naval Historical Foundation and the Naval History and Heritage Command are cosponsoring a series of monographs entitled The U.S. Navy and the Vietnam War.

Soon to be published in that series is a lavishly illustrated work on the Navy’s “in-country war” entitled Combat at Close Quarters: Warfare on the Rivers and Canals of Vietnam by Edward J. Marolda and R. Blake Dunnavent. They describe in vivid detail the experiences of Navy Swift Boat and River Patrol Boat crews, naval advisors, soldiers and sailors of the joint-service Mobile Riverine Force, SEALs, and mine warfare specialists. The narrative also relates the development and combat performance of the Vietnam Navy during the Tet Offensive of 1968, the Cambodian incursion of 1970, and climactic naval operations at the very end of the war in 1975.

The U.S. Navy and the Vietnam War series, co-edited by Marolda, former Senior Historian of the Navy, and Ms. Sandra Doyle of NHHC, will feature the Navy’s role in the bombing campaigns in North Vietnam and Laos, the fight for South Vietnam’s inland waterways, anti-infiltration patrols, military sealift, medical care, and the POW experience of Navy and Marine Corps personnel who fell into enemy hands. Already published and available through the Government Publishing Office are the following titles: The Approaching Storm: Conflict in Asia, 1945-1965 by Marolda that puts the war in historical context; Nixon’s Trident: Naval Power in Southeast Asia, 1968-1972 by widely published naval  historian John Darrell Sherwood that covers the Linebacker bombing campaign; Navy Medicine in Vietnam: Passage to Freedom to the Fall of Saigon by distinguished medical historian Jan K. Herman treating the role of Navy doctors, nurses, and hospital corpsmen; The Battle Behind Bars: Navy and Marine POWs in the Vietnam War by Stuart I. Rochester, late co-author (with Frederick Kiley) of the definitive work, Honor Bound: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973.

Follow-on publications will include Thunder From the Sea: The Rolling Thunder Campaign by distinguished scholars Norman Polmar and Marolda; The End of the Saga: Seaborne Evacuation from Indochina by renowned historian Malcolm Muir; Maritime Logistics: Seaborne Support of the Long War by Salvatore Mercogliano; Knowing the Enemy: Naval Intelligence in Southeast Asia by naval intelligence historian Richard A. Mobley; and Admirals Under Fire: Navy Leaders of the Vietnam War by Marolda.

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  1. Bill Miller


    A note for the publishers; 1965 Gulf of Tonkin carrier operations I was there, 1966 DaNang East MCB11 (Seabees) and other Battalions built DaNang, 1967 MCB11 advance party set up camp at Dong Ha and built the Dong Ha complex for the Air Force Red Horse, 3rd and 1st Marines, Army artillery and built the ARVN camp next to Dong Ha City, built and supported all the outpost in that region, 1968 South China Sea operation working against the Russians. So my point is yes the Navy fleet and the Marines preformed many great task, but without the Seabees all over South Vietnam their would have been nothing to live in, issue war supplies and offer great support. The Seabees I would think would be included as you announced distinguished scholars. Think you need to dig deeper.

  2. Andrew Reath


    Somebody forget the NAVY Seabees were on the ground in Viet Nam also. Many died and one got a Medal Of Honor.

  3. Joe Doremire


    Top Navy brass seem to want to forget the Seabees when discussing Vietnam, and virtually all other military deployments since then! Somehow, Seabees just don’t fit into their tightly controlled view of daring jet pilots, huge aircraft carriers, mighty battleships and massive submarines! I’m surprised they give a little lip service to SEAL’s and Marines. Interested people will just have to look elsewhere for Seabee information. Dern shame though, to be left out of official comment.

  4. Paul Wollenhaupt


    Hello…for as long as I can remember, I have spoken to anyone that would listen about the great missions of the Seabees. My great uncle went ashore with the Seabees in WWII, and used to tell me all the details of the things he did and saw.
    VietNam was my time…and I went ashore with the Seabees. But, all the historians want to write about are the blazing battles. It is bad enough that the USNavy does not even recognize Seabees in their own publications. But, still we continue on a proud tradition of “CAN DO”.

  5. Robert Watson


    As a SeaBee who served on active duty from 1965 to 1972, resent our history is not mentioned. I made two trips to Vietnam with MCB-6–one in 1966 and the second from 1967 into 1968. We built for the Marines and the Army. We built piers and bridges. We built an addition to a Vietnamees’ hospital.

    I went back in 1971 with NMCB-5, the last construction battalion to serve in Vietnam. Most of what we built was for the Vietnamees’ Navy.

    I am proud of my service and hope that someone writes more about the important jobs the SeaBees did in Vietnam and those SeaBees who defended our work.

  6. Edward J. Marolda


    As co-editor of the U.S. Navy and the Vietnam War commemorative series, I want to assure everyone that the story of the Seabees in Vietnam will certainly be covered in detail. The Seabees booklet was not mentioned in the recent notice because the author initially enlisted to research and write it has withdrawn from the project and I am in the process of selecting a new author. As the author of several books on the Navy in Vietnam, I am fully aware of the proud accomplishments of Seabees in the conflict whose contributions and sacrifices will be the subject of a forthcoming booklet. Thanks for your comments and best wishes. Ed Marolda

  7. Paul Povlock


    When do you anticipate your next volume, Combat at Close Quarters: Warfare on the Rivers and Canals of Vietnam, being published?

    Thank you.


    • David Colamaria



      We’re coordinating with the Naval History and Heritage Command, but don’t have a date set for the next release. We hope within the next year.

      • Paul Povlock



        Thanks. I am an instructor at the Naval War College in Newport, RI. Your next volume might be a good fit for our session on irregular warfare. I look forward to reading it when it gets published.

        Paul Povlock

  8. Reply

    Does anybody remember the USS O’Brien DD 725?? I was aboard in early 1965 when Operation Double Eagle took place in South Vietnam which was one of the largest Marine landings during the conflict. I was still aboard on December 23, 1966 off the coast of Dong Hoi in the Gulf of Tonkin when we took 3 (three) direct hits from shore battery killing two of my shipmates and wounding 5 others while trying to stops supplies from going south and supporting American troops on land. Check out the fighting machine “USS O’Brien DD 725” (Battle Stars in WWII, Korea and Vietnam)

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