The U.S. Navy and the Vietnam War
No. 1, The Approaching Storm: Conflict in Asia, 1945–1965 by Edward J. Marolda. 2009. ISBN 9780945274575.
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This illustrated book describes the U.S. response to Communist movements in Asia after World War II and the U.S. Navy’s role in the region as it evolved from an essentially advisory one to actual combat after the Tonkin Gulf attack off North Vietnam in August 1964. The Approaching Storm inaugurates the Naval History & Heritage Command’s series The U.S. Navy and the Vietnam War.
No. 2, Nixon's Trident: Naval Power in Southeast Asia, 1968–1972 by John Darrell Sherwood. 2009. ISBN 9780945274582.
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This book focuses on the three prongs of the naval trident that President Nixon wielded during the final years of the Vietnam War: naval air power, naval bombardment, and mine warfare. For much of this period, Navy aircraft sought to hamper the flow of supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos—a huge investment in air power resources that ultimately proved fruitless. After North Vietnam’s invasion of the South in 1972, however, Navy tactical aviation, as well as naval bombardment, proved critical not only in blunting the offensive but also in persuading North Vietnam to arrive at a peace agreement in Paris in 1973. For the first time in the war, the Navy was also authorized to close Haiphong Harbor and North Vietnam's other ports with naval mines—an operation that still stands out as a textbook example of how mine warfare can inflict a major economic and psychological blow on the enemy with minimal casualties for either side.
No. 3, Navy Medicine in Vietnam: Passage to Freedom to the Fall of Saigon by Jan K. Herman. 2010. ISBN 9780945274629.
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Navy Medicine in Vietnam begins and ends with a humanitarian operation—the first, in 1954, after the French were defeated, when refugees fled to South Vietnam to escape from the communist regime in the North; and the second, in 1975, after the fall of Saigon and the final stage of America’s exit that entailed a massive helicopter evacuation of American staff and selected Vietnamese and their families from South Vietnam. In both cases the Navy provided medical support to avert the spread of disease and tend to basic medical needs. Between those dates—1954 and 1975—Navy medical personnel responded to the build up and intensifying combat operations by taking a multipronged approach in treating casualties. Helicopter medical evacuations, triaging, and a system of moving casualties from short-term to long-term care meant higher rates of survival and targeted care. Poignant recollections of the medical personnel serving in Vietnam, recorded by author Jan Herman, historian of the Navy Medical Department, are a reminder of the great sacrifices these men and women made for their country and their patients.
No. 4, The Battle Behind Bars: Navy and Marine POWs in the Vietnam War by Stuart I. Rochester. 2010. ISBN 9780945274612.
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The unconventional nature of the war and the unforgiving environment of Southeast Asia inflicted special hardships on Vietnam-era POWs, whether they spent captivity in the jungles of the South, or the jails of the North. This book describes their experiences—the similarities and the differences—and how the POWs coped with untreated wounds and other malaises, systematic torture, and boredom. The creative strategies they devised to stay fit, track time, resist the enemy, communicate with one another, and adhere to a chain of command attest to the high standards of conduct in captivity that so distinguish the POWs of the Vietnam War.
No. 5, Combat at Close Quarters: Warfare on the Rivers and Canals of Vietnam by Edward J. Marolda and R. Blake Dunnavent. 2015. ISBN 9780945274735.
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Combat at Close Quarters describes riverine combat during the Vietnam War, emphasizing the operations of the U.S. Navy’s River Patrol Force, the U.S. Army-Navy Mobile Riverine Force, and the Vietnam Navy. One section details the SEALORDS combined campaign, a determined effort by U.S. Navy, Vietnam navy, and allied ground forces to cut enemy supply lines from Cambodia and disrupt operations at base areas deep in the delta. The authors provide details on the combat vessels, helicopters, weapons, and equipment employed in the Mekong Delta as well as the Vietnamese combatants on both sides and American troops who fought to secure Vietnam’s waterways. The American experience on Vietnam’s rivers and canals is indispensable to understanding the impact of riverine warfare on modern U.S. naval and military operations in the 21st century.
No. 6, Naval Air War: The Rolling Thunder Campaign by Norman Polmar and Edward J. Marolda. 2015. ISBN 9780945274827.
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Naval Air War is the sixth monograph in the series The U.S. Navy and the Vietnam War. It covers aircraft carrier activity during one of the longest sustained aerial bombing campaigns in history. And it would be a failure. The U.S. Navy proved essential to the conduct of Rolling Thunder and by capitalizing on the inherent flexibility and mobility of naval forces, the Seventh Fleet operated with impunity for three years off the coast of North Vietnam. The success with which the Navy executed the later Operation Linebacker campaign against North Vietnam in 1972 revealed how much the service had learned from and exploited the Rolling Thunder experience of 1965–1968.
No. 7, Knowing the Enemy: Naval Intelligence in Southeast Asia by Richard A. Mobley and Edward J. Marolda. 2015. ISBN: 9780945274780.
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Knowing the Enemy covers the Navy intelligence establishment’s support to the war effort in Southeast Asia from 1965 to 1975. It describes the contribution of naval intelligence to key strategic, operational, and tactical aspects of the war including the involvement of intelligence in the seminal Tonkin Gulf Crisis of 1964 and the Rolling Thunder and Linebacker bombing campaigns; the monitoring of Sino-Soviet bloc military assistance to Hanoi; the operation of the Seventh Fleet’s reconnaissance aircraft; the enemy’s use of the “neutral” Cambodian port of Sihanoukville; and the support to U.S. Navy riverine operations during the Tet Offensive and the SEALORDS campaign in South Vietnam.
No. 8, Fourth Arm of Defense: Sealift and Maritime Logistics in the Vietnam War by Salvatore R. Mercogliano. 2017. ISBN: 9780945274964.
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Fourth Arm of Defense describes the role of America’s Navy and the U.S. Merchant Marine in the logistics support of the conflict in Southeast Asia. The Fourth Arm of Defense details the deployment of Army and allied troops to the combat theater by the Navy’s Military Sea Transportation Service (later Military Sealift Command); development of port facilities and cargo-handling procedures in South Vietnam; the dangerous and sometimes deadly effort to deliver ammunition, fuel, and other supplies to Saigon and other ports far upriver; maintenance of the 5,000-mile logistics pipeline across the vast Pacific Ocean; employment of revolutionary cargo container and roll on/roll off ships; and the maritime evacuations from South Vietnam and Cambodia. The work describes the service and sacrifice of American sailors and the men of the U.S. Merchant Marine and many other countries who braved tempestuous seas and ports and rivers subject to attack by mine-laden Viet Cong ambushes. The work is amply illustrated with more than 80 photographs, maps, and a list of suggested readings. This publication will be of interest and value to those scholars, veterans, and students of the Vietnam War and the role of the Navy and the U.S. merchant marine in that conflict.
No. 9, End of the Saga: The Maritime Evacuation of South Vietnam and Cambodia by Malcolm Muir Jr. 2017. ISBN: 9780945274926.
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End of the Saga describes how the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps saved thousands of U.S. citizens and pro-American Vietnamese and Cambodians from the victorious Communist forces as the decades-long struggle in Southeast Asia came to a climax in the spring of 1975. To the American public, the precipitate withdrawal of the United States from Cambodia, and especially South Vietnam, presented the disconcerting spectacle of the abandonment of allies and, on a more human level, of a host of individuals who had worked and fought for common aims. Yet behind the undeniably tragic elements of the picture, the evacuations highlighted the skill and courage of American uniformed personnel in the midst of chaos. The U.S. military, especially the Navy and Marine Corps, demonstrated extraordinary professional skill in carrying out large-scale and complicated evacuations. Given the public’s contemporary skepticism of American servicemen at the tail end of the Vietnam War, this performance seems at first glance surprising. But despite the undeniable litany of woes afflicting the military in 1975—racial tensions, counterculture sentiment, drug abuse, the lower quality of recruits—the record compiled by these Americans in uniform showed that not all was dark, that the services retained a solid core of competent and dedicated people, and that with proper nurturing, the armed forces could be restored to health, as they were in the 1980s. In fact, the performance of these military personnel in April 1975 was a harbinger of the future.
The U.S. Navy and the Korean War
No. 1, Fleet Operations in a Mobile War, September 1950–June 1951 by Joseph H. Alexander. 2001. ISBN 016050905X. Out of print.
In this first monograph of the Korean War series, award-winning author Colonel Joe Alexander, USMC (Ret.), describes the intense support operations that brought all elements and communities of the U.S. Navy into the war's high-mobility phase between September 1950 and June 1951. His work focuses on the dynamic first months in which Seventh Fleet units and the 1st Marine Division executed the daring amphibious assault at Inchon, endured the frustrating task of clearing mines off Wonsan, battled North Korean and Chinese Communist armies in the mountains of North Korea at the Chosin Reservoir, and conducted the epic evacuation of UN troops from the port of Hungnam, North Korea. The monograph contains 60 black and white and color illustrations, including works from the Navy Art Collection.
No. 2, Naval Leadership in Korea: The First Six Months by Thomas B. Buell. 2002. ISBN 0160510805.
This book illuminates the role of the Navy's top flag officers in Washington, the Pacific area, and the Korean theater of operations before and during the first chaotic months of the war. Thanks to the leadership of six influential naval officers and the mobility of naval forces, especially carrier aviation, U.S. forces were in South Korea within three weeks of the North's invasion. The book tells how six protagonists—Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, Admiral Arthur W. Radford, Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy, Vice Admiral Arthur D. Struble, Rear Admiral James H. Doyle, and Rear Admiral Arleigh A. Burke—were involved in the strategy, planning, and execution of the most critical operations of the war.
No. 3, Long Passage to Korea: Black Sailors and the Integration of the U.S. Navy by Bernard C. Nalty. 2003. ISBN: 0160513553. Out of print.
The author traces the story of racial integration in the U.S. Navy from the American Revolution through the Korean War. In the American Revolution, black sailors were part of every warship crew, but by the end of World War II, African Americans were restricted for the most part to the Steward's branch. A few years later in Korea, however, black and white Sailors and Marines were fighting side by side once again. In Korea, African Americans piloted fighters, manned guns, and fought their way up and down the frigid hills of North Korea. This book recounts the African American struggle to achieve equal treatment and opportunity in the Navy, especially during and after WWII. Necessities of war; changes in American society, politics, and legislation; and the black press persuaded the Navy to amend its racial policies, opening enlisted ratings and the general line officer corps to African Americans.
No. 4, Attack from the Sky: Naval Air Operations in the Korean War by Richard C. Knott. 2004. ISBN 0945274531. Out of print.
In this book, a former naval aviator covers many major aspects of the Navy's air operations in the conflict, demonstrating the vital importance of aircraft carriers for projecting naval power ashore. Knott deftly integrates his analyses of combat missions with stories of the courageous pilots who flew them. His descriptions of bombing techniques, close air support missions, harrowing on board recoveries of new jet aircraft, air-to-air combat, and the myriad uses of the helicopter are especially informative and stimulating.
No. 5, Sea Power on Call: Fleet Operations, June 1951–July 1953 by Malcolm Muir Jr. 2005. ISBN 0160724961. Out of print.
This historical monograph describes the often-overlooked period of the Korean War’s last two years when UN military representatives engaged in heated and often fruitless negotiations with their Communist counterparts. To support or influence the direction of these critical cease-fire talks, opposing forces jockeyed for control of the battlefront at the 38th Parallel, while U.S. and allied sea power denied the enemy use of the sea for any purpose, interdicted supply lines on land and along the coast, and deluged Chinese and North Korean forces with naval gunfire. Enduring mine-infested waters, heavy seas, bitter winters, and enemy fire, UN forces succeeded in maintaining control at the 38th Parallel and preserving the independence of the Republic of Korea.
The U.S. Navy and the Modern World
No. 1, Cordon of Steel: The U.S. Navy and the Cuban Missile Crisis by Curtis A. Utz. 2003. ISBN: 0945274238. Out of print.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the United States and the Soviet Union came as close as they ever would to global war. During this dramatic and historic event, the U.S. Navy demonstrated its value for resolving international crises. By forcefully employing naval forces, President John F. Kennedy was able to prevent the development of Fidel Castro's Cuba as an offensive bastion and to ensure the withdrawal of Soviet nuclear-armed ballistic missiles from the island. This illustrated book features 60 photographs, maps, charts, and Navy art.
No. 2, Assault from the Sea: The Amphibious Landing at Inchon by Curtis A. Utz. 2000. ISBN: 0160452716. Out of print.
This work highlights one of the most remarkable victories in the history of amphibious warfare. It describes in detail the masterful amphibious operation at Inchon conceived by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur and carried out by U.S. and allied naval forces under Vice Admiral Arthur D. Struble, Commander Seventh Fleet/Commander Task Force 7. Operation Chromite caught the North Korean People's Army by surprise, forcing its troops to flee within a few weeks.
No. 3, Swift and Effective Retribution: The U.S. Sixth Fleet and the Confrontation with Qaddafi by Joseph T. Stanik. 1996. ISBN: 094527433. Out of print.
This book demonstrates the versatility of naval power as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. The work describes the Reagan administration's use of naval forces throughout the 1980s to curtail Libyan strongman Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi's support for international terrorism. The author, a former U.S. naval officer and instructor of history at the U.S. Naval Academy, details the Sixth Fleet's extended deployments off Libya and combat actions against Qaddafi's naval and air forces in Operations Prairie Fire and El Dorado Canyon. Striking paintings by naval artist Morgan L. Wilbur, maps, and dramatic color and black and white photos enhance the book.
No. 4, Project HULA: Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan by Richard A. Russell. 1997. ISBN: 0160493765. Out of print.
This work describes the little-known subject of Soviet and American naval cooperation in the North Pacific during the final months of World War II. Until 1945, Soviet reluctance to fight a two-front war and Japanese acquiescence to the movement of vital lend-lease supplies to the Soviet Far East ensured Soviet neutrality in the Pacific War. A frustrated U.S. government, which had sought basing rights for heavy bombers in Siberia, finally secured Soviet agreement at the Yalta Conference in February 1945 to enter the war by pledging U.S. military support and territorial concessions to the Soviet Union. In Project HULA, from April to September, a special U.S. Navy detachment trained Russian officers and men in handling the naval vessels scheduled for transfer to the Soviet Pacific Ocean Fleet. This top-secret operation brought Russian and American sailors together in the largest and most ambitious lend-lease program of World War II. Its unique purpose was to equip and train Soviet amphibious forces for the climactic fight against Japan.
No. 5, From Dam Neck to Okinawa: A Memoir of Antiaircraft Training by Robert F. Wallace. 2001. ISBN: 0160509866. Out of print.
This memoir presents a fascinating look at the Navy's antiaircraft training and combat action from the perspective of a reserve officer who was a key figure in the effort. Relying on both a remarkable memory of events and original documentary sources, Wallace first takes the reader through his time as an antiaircraft instructor at two wartime sites. The narrative quickly moves to the combat scene on board the battleship Idaho where the author served as the automatic weapons officer during the fighting on Iwo Jima and Okinawa in 1945. His engaging account of how the Fifth Fleet gunners heroically beat back the onslaught of attacking Japanese kamikaze planes during the long and bloody Okinawa campaign is unparalleled in its immediacy.
Conributions to Naval History Series
No. 1, Origins of the Maritime Strategy: American Naval Strategy in the First Postwar Decade by Michael A. Palmer. 1988. ISBN: 0945274018. Out of print.
No. 2, Power and Change: The Administrative History of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 1946–1986 by Thomas C. Hone. 1989. ISBN: 0945274025. Out of print.
No. 3, Building American Submarines, 1914–1940 by Gary E. Weir. 1991. ISBN: 0945274041. Out of print.
Describes the Navy’s efforts between 1914 and 1940 to develop effective submarines. In particular, the author describes the work of the Navy and private industry that allowed the relatively primitive submersibles of the First World War period to be replaced by the fleet submarines that fought in the Second World War.
No. 4, Damn the Torpedoes: A Short History of U.S. Naval Mine Countermeasures, 1777–1991 by Tamara Moser Melia. 1991. ISBN: 09452740706. Out of print.
Recounts the U.S. Navy’s long-standing efforts to counter enemy sea mines. The author demonstrates that interest and capabilities in this area waned throughout the course of naval history. But when the reality of hostile mines materialized, and it became clear that these relatively inexpensive and often unsophisticated weapons posed a threat to America’s use of the sea, the Navy rose to meet the challenge.
No. 5, On Course to Desert Storm: The United States Navy and the Persian Gulf by Michael A. Palmer. 1992. ISBN: 0945274092. Out of print.
Chronicles the U.S. Navy's role in the Middle East from the 1800s through the undeclared naval war of 1987–88 with Iran. Explains the strategic, political, and commercial factors that affected American policy in the region and how Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm were results of that policy.
No. 6, Black Shoes and Blue Water: Surface Warfare in the United States Navy, 1945–1975 by Malcolm Muir Jr. 1996. ISBN: 0945274319. Out of print.
Examines the decline and revival of the surface Navy, especially the gun and missile ships, in the years after World War II. The author examines how the Spruance-class destroyers and their derivatives, advanced computer technology, and the Aegis combat system eventually brought the surface Navy back to combat effectiveness.
No. 7, A Grave Misfortune: The USS Indianapolis Tragedy. by Richard A. Hulver and Peter C. Luebke 2018. ISBN 9781943604265 (soft cover : alk. paper) | ISBN 9781943604272 (pdf).
Available for free in the following format: 508-compliant PDF (5.71MB).
Examines the circumstances surrounding the sinking of Indianapolis on 30 July 1945, including primary source documents describing the sinking, rescue efforts, investigations, aftermath, and continuing commemoration efforts.
No. 8, The Autobiography of Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren. edited by Peter C. Luebke. ISBN 9781943604180 (soft cover : alk. paper) | ISBN 9781943604197 (pdf).
Available for free in the following format: 508-compliant PDF (6.5MB).
Dahlgren’s legacy in the Navy was profound and lasting, primarily for his role in designing and developing the weapons and ammunition that enabled the Union Navy to emerge victorious at sea and on the inland waterways during the Civil War. Because of this, when the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren was established during World War I in 1918, and which to this day designs and tests most of the Navy’s shipboard weapons, it was named in honor of John A. Dahlgren.
No. 1, A Time of Change: National Strategy in the Early Postwar Era
No. 2, Caribbean Tempest: The Dominican Republic Intervention of 1965
No. 3, A New Equation
No. 4, Air Operations in the Vietnam War
No. 5,Gearing Up for Victory
No. 6, Stalin's Cold War Military Machine
No. 7, A New Look at the Cuban Missile Crisis
No. 8, The Birth of NATO
Navy Laboratory Series
No. 1, The Relationship of Science and Technology: A Bibliographic Guide by Rodney P. Carlisle
No. 2, Navy RDT&E Planning in an Age of Transition: A Survey Guide to Contemporary Literature by Rodney P. Carlisle
No. 3, Management of the U.S. Navy Research and Development Centers during the Cold War: A Survey Guide to Reports by Rodney P. Carlisle