If you’re a lover of history and wartime accounts, it’s likely you’ve read many memorable books, both fiction and non-fiction, about the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II.
By John A. Schwarz
If you’re a lover of history and wartime accounts, it’s likely you’ve read many memorable books, both fiction and non-fiction, about the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II. There is also a good chance that you have never read anything about the Korean War (1950-1953). Truman called it a “police action.” Some police action, the number of Americans killed is estimated to be 62,000.
If you want to learn more about the Korean War, I heartily recommend Adam Makos’ “Devotion,” a superb work of non-fiction that reads like a thriller. Published last year, it’s a page-turner if there ever was one.
“Devotion” is the story of a squadron of young Navy pilots who risk their lives every day supporting the Marines on the ground who are going after the North Koreans and Communist Chinese up and down the Korean peninsula. We learn the story of two extraordinary men: Jesse L. Brown, who was from a very poor family in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and was the first black U.S. Navy pilot; and Thomas J. Hudner Jr., whose family were well-to-do from Fall River, Massachusetts. Hudner retired as a Navy Captain is 91 and today lives in Concord, Massachusetts. He graduated from Andover and the U.S. Naval Academy, where he played football and lacrosse.
These two wonderful Americans flew Corsairs off the USS Leyte. At times, you are on the ground fighting with the Marines and other times you are in the cockpit with Brown or Hudner. U.S. Navy ships are named after U.S. Navy and Marine heroes. Hudner, who was a Lieutenant at the time of the Korean War, received the first Medal of Honor awarded since World War II. A destroyer, the USS Thomas Hudner is being constructed at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. The USS Jesse L. Brown, a frigate, was built eleven years ago. Brown received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, and the Air Medal. The two families are still very close today.
“Devotion” is a wonderful story, true and uplifting. You’ll never hear or read anything about the Korean War after reading this book without immediately thinking of the incredible bravery of the Marines and those U.S. Navy pilots.