The book recounts the 1975 American operation to recapture the U.S. container ship SS Mayaquez and her crew, an incident that is unfamiliar to most Americans. Previous literary work documenting the event have focused on the actions of the crew of the Mayaquez, the air force helicopter pilots and, President Ford and the National Security Council. The focus of the 14 Hour War is the airmen, sailors and Marines, primarily the Marines, who went in to rescue a crew that wasn't there.
A force comprised of approximately 200 Marines most of whom were fresh out of boot camp was tasked with the rescue. They were briefed to expect minimal resistance from some 20 to 30 lightly armed fishermen militia. What they found was between 400 and 600 Khmer Rouge combat veterans with heavy weapons in entrenched and fortified positions. Plagued by incomplete and inaccurate intelligence and hindered by a micro-managed command and control structure that extended all the way to the Oval Office, the Marines held out for 14 hours against a vastly superior and more experienced enemy in a fight they dare not lose. Getting on the island was remarkable. Getting off the island was a miracle. As a result of that 14 hour battle, four Air Crosses and a Navy Cross were awarded, 41 U.S, servicemen lost their lives and three Marines were left behind and, America regained a small bit of luster to a reputation tarnished by its withdrawal from Cambodia and Vietnam. In addition to a comprehensive narrative of the planning and the battle itself, the book will contain over 30 first person accounts by Koh Tang veterans and unpublished photographs taken by veterans while engaged with the enemy. The appendices will include verbatim minutes of NSC discussions and decisions regarding the strategy and tactics to be carried out by local commanders, U.S. Marine Corps Post Action and Investigative reports and the latest information (as of December 2009) on what happened to the three Marines that were left behind.
|Title:||The 14-Hour War: Valor on Koh Tang and the Recapture of the SS Mayaguez|
|Author:||James E. Wise Jr. and Scott Baron|
|Publisher:||Naval Institute Press|
|Dimensions:||5.9 x 9.1 x 1 inches|
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