The high-adventure story of the legendary Boehm—founder and guiding spirit of the famed SEALs, a highly decorated veteran of three wars—and his tumultuous 30-year career in the US Navy. Boehm, with journalist and former Green Beret Sasser, reviews his military memories: He entered the Navy as a teenage WW II recruit in the risky Underwater Demolition Unit; in the Battle of Cape Esperance, after his ship was sunk, he had a fight with a man- eating shark during which he lost his wounded buddy and Boehm himself made a narrow escape. Later he infiltrated Castro's Cuba on an intelligence-gathering mission. He blames JFK for losing his nerve in the Bay of Pigs disaster and calling off US air strikes, thereby exposing Cuban insurgents to death and capture. Boehm believes that the perception that America lacked the courage to resist aggression encouraged the Communists, resulting in the Berlin blockade, Communist infiltration of Latin America, and the Vietnam War. Boehm also believes that inter-service rivalry and bureaucratic inertia were the biggest obstacles to creating the new commando force he envisioned. He fought the system as hard as he fought US enemies, incurring five courts-martial (which were eventually canceled). Called into President Kennedy's office to explain his behavior, Boehm persuaded Kennedy to give him authority to create the most elite special force in the world—the SEALs. Fighting in Vietnam, the carefully selected, courageous, dedicated, adventurous SEALs outclassed the Viet Cong in merciless raids and ambushes. Boehm blames the politicians and high brass for losing the war. According to Boehm, his frank honesty and refusal to compromise where lives were at stake held back his career, and he left the Navy still a lieutenant. Strong, exciting reading, laced with military profanity and humor.
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