Winner of the 2008 Foundation for Coast Guard History Book Award The images of soldiers and marines coming ashore on hostile shores are embedded in our collective memory of World War II. But what of the sailors who manned the landing craft, going back and forth under fire with nowhere to take cover, their craft the special targets of enemy gunners? In this book, Ken Wiley, a Coast Guardsman on an Attack Transport in the Pacific, relates the intricate, often nerve wracking story of how the United States projected its power across 6,000 miles in the teeth of fanatical Japanese resistance. Each invasion was a swirl of moving parts, from frogmen to fire support, transport mother ships to Attack Transports, the smaller Higgins boats (LCVPs), and during the last terrifying stage the courageous men who would storm the beaches. The author participated in the campaigns for the Marshall Islands, the Marianas the Philippines and Okinawa, and with a precise eye for detail relates numerous aspects of landing craft operations, such as ferrying wounded, that are often discounted. He conveys the terror and horrors of war, as well as, on occasion, the thrill, while not neglecting the humor and cameraderie of wartime life. An exciting book, full of harrowing combat action, D Days in the Pacific also provides a valuable service in expanding our knowledge of exactly how World War II’s massive amphibious operations were undertaken.
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Ken Wiley was the sixth of seven children born to Troy and Dora Thompson Riley. After service in the US Coast Guard during WWII, he graduated from Hillsboro Junior College and Oklahoma A&M. In 1952 he took a job with Bell Helicopter as as hydraulics design engineer, and worked in a variety of skilled and managerial positions until his retirement in the 1990s. He has four grown daughters and is the founder of Veterans Video Museums prgram. He lives in Mountain City TN with his wife Deane.Review:
“...a well-written and equally well-illustrated memoir of life aboard an LST during World War II, a role the Coast Guard played which is often overlooked by history texts today... unprecedented contribution to the field of Coast Guard History...” (Foundation for Coast Guard History)
“...This very-well written and organized account of D-Days in the Pacific with the US Coast Guard should appeal to both scholars and the general public and should be in every library of every World War II and Coast Guard historian.” (Journal of Military History)
"...an ideal book for the younger generation, veterans, recruits, and Officer Candidates. Lucky Thirteen is highly recommended" (Journal of Slavic Military Studies)
“...an engaging, honest account of boys becoming men in a dangerous and utterly unpredictable environment.” (Military History of The West)
“...brings the reader close to the experiences... a real understanding of the brutal yet bonding nature of war at the sharp end.” (Military Illustrated UK)
“What this book does better than most is personalize how the war is fought by teenagers with enormous responsibilities far beyond their years. Ken never glamorizes war or self aggrandizes despite a number of heroic actions in which he is personally involved...a great book...” (MILITARY MAGAZINE)
“...delightfully written with an engaging mix of humor, modesty, information and character sketches.” (Miniature Wargames(UK),)
"...fills the gaps of the Coast Guard's significant and important role during World War II and the officers and men of the Coast Guard's contribution to victory in the Pacific." (Steamship Historical Society)
“...provides a valuable service in expanding our knowledge of exactly how World War II’s massive amphibious operations were undertaken.” (The Coast Guard Reservist)
“...well written and illustrated with photographs and excellent drawings of life aboard ship by one of the shipmates.” (The Hook)
“For unknown reasons, there are virtually no first person books by or about US Coast Guard coxswains in World War II. Ken Wiley corrects that oversight with LUCKY THIRTEEN, a book to be treasured.” (WWII History Magazine)
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