Aircraft Carriers at War: A Personal Retrospective of Korea, Vietnam, and the Soviet Confrontation
Adm. James Holloway describes this book as a contemporary perspective of the events, decisions, and outcomes in the history of the Cold War--Korea, Vietnam, and the Soviet confrontation--that shaped today's U.S. Navy and its principal ships-of-the-line, the large-deck, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. Without question, the admiral is exceptionally well qualified to write such an expansive history. As a carrier pilot in Korea, commander of the Seventh Fleet in Vietnam, Chief of Naval Operations in the mid-1970s, and then as a civilian presidential appointee to various investigative groups, Holloway was a prominent player in Cold War events.
Here, he casts an experienced eye at the battles, tactics, and strategies that defined the period abroad and at home. Holloway's first-person narrative of combat action conveys the tense atmosphere of hostile fire and the urgency of command decisions. His descriptions of conversations with presidents in the White House and of meetings with the Joint Chiefs in the war room offer a revealing look at the decision-making process. Whether explaining the tactical formations of road-recce attacks or the demands of taking the Navy's first nuclear carrier into combat, Holloway provides telling details that add valuable dimensions to the big picture of the Cold War as a coherent conflict. Few readers will forget his comments about the sobering effect of planning for nuclear warfare and training and leading a squadron of pilots whose mission was to drop a nuclear bomb.
Both wise and entertaining, this book helps readers understand the full significance of the aircraft carrier's contributions. At the same time, it stands as a testament to those who fought in the long war and to the leadership that guided the United States through a perilous period of history while avoiding the Armageddon of a nuclear war.
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James Holloway brings us close to the smells, feel, and inner thoughts of a pilot flying off the heaving decks of the most capable of war machines, the Carrier. His memory sharpens as the moment intensifies. His description of the morning he had to sign for receipt of a tactical nuclear payload is riveting in its simplicity - Hemingway may have run with the bulls, Holloway rode with the capacity to destroy a city. Both draw the reader in with stark language. An excellent read for the historian or pilot putting together the puzzle of our involvement in Korea, a good companion to Brown's Dark Sky, Black Sea.