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Reviews of Military Related Books, Websites, Music & Blogs

Music Reviews

I have received several requests to publish music written for our troops. I have always declined, because I have tin ears, and don't know anything about music. But I received and email from Tony Gottlob requesting that I publish his song "Morning Comes Breaking" that had been uploaded to YouTube.

Here is Tony Gottlob's email of May 19, 2012:

Over the years and thru different wars our country has been involved in, friends of mine have shared a common thread that I recently developed into a music video. It's about coming to terms with conflicted feelings regarding war... and so I wrote a ballad thru the eyes of a soldier -- a young man torn by the love for his beautiful sweetheart and a calling to protect our loved ones and our precious freedom. It's called "Morning Comes Breaking."

Here is the description and credits from YouTube:

"The ballad of a young man, torn between the love for his beautiful sweetheart and a calling to protect our precious freedom."


Songwriter/Vocal: Tony Gottlob
Arranged by: Ron Livingston
Videography: First Take Video
Editing/EFX: Dimo Digital Motion
Talent: Amanda Rusing, Travis Gottlob

I don't feel qualified to offer a review of the song, except to say that "I like it - music and lyrics". I should add that my taste in music has been affected by my VN experience and return to a scornful nation.

Sincerely, Gunner Mitchell

PS: If you have written a song, send me a link, and if I like it,I will publish it for you. I prefer YouTube links. It simplifies legal matters.

Website Reviews

Review of "Soldiers Angels" -

I receive a request by my website visitors for someone in the military with whom to exchange emails, send care packages, etc. I usually give them the contact information of Ms. Vicky Lee at Fort Bragg, NC. She usually has a waiting list of people that want to adopt a deployed soldier. The last time I sent her an email she said she had a long waiting list, and that she had stumbled upon a reputable organization that she could recommend.

She provided me with a link to the Soldiers Angels WebSite, and I clicked on it to see a nice home page with links to Join or Adopt a soldier, Submit a Soldier and some others. I clicked on the Join or Adopt link, and it opened up to a page that outlines the options available. I selected them one at a time, and found out that the membership fee for a lifetime membership is only $30, and the soldiers (Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Army and Coast Guard are included) pay no dues, but can simply sign up. Membership requires a periodic "Care" Package be sent to deployed service men and women. The recommended list includes small toiletries, candies, and other small items. They provide a list of recommended items suitable for the care package.

I thought that was pretty good. The most important policy is that service men and women don't have to pay to join. After wandering around the WebSite for a while, I decided that it passes all of my concerns with flying colors.
So, I joined as a "Lifetime Member" for only $30 (most organizations want hundreds of dollars for a lifetime membership). I used their online payment system and my credit card. About three weeks later, I received a small package from them that contained a lifetime membership card, a Soldiers Angel pin and coin. The items came in a nice small Black Box. I gave the coin and the pin to my wife, and she wears the pin for her weekly volunteer position at a nearby military base.

I suppose that is a long way of saying that:

I am favorably impressed, and heartily recommend "Soldiers Angels".

C. Mitchell

Book Reviews

Review of Thunder in the Night
A Sailor's Perspective on Vietnam
by Raymond S. Kopp

March 16, 2005

"As Second Division Officer so many years ago (1967), one of my responsibilities aboard Thunder included the 8" guns and ammo as well as the men who manned the turrets and magazines. Your description in Chapter 20, "Chaos and Calm" and in Chapter 21, "The Dead and the Demoralized" which describes in detail your personal memories of the explosion in Turret No. 2 which killed 20 shipmates shook me to the bone. Although I had left NN 4 years prior to the accident, I knew only in brief terms what had transpired. Your well written account gave me, for the first time in all these years, the opportunity to read in detail about what actually happened. What a horrible experience you lived through but were able to write about!

As a result of that accident, the names of the NN dead are now engraved on the Vietnam memorial wall (dedicated to USN and USCG killed) which was recently completed and is located next to COMNAVSURFPAC HQs, U.S. Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, CA. Due to my present San Diego navy ship repair related work, I have visited the memorial on several occasions and have read the names of the Newport News souls who died aboard our ship on that fateful day in 1972.

I have recommended your book to both ex-navy and civilian friends as well as to members of my family. I realize your writing the book was mentally tough and I can personally ID with the nightmares you experienced after leaving Newport News and the navy. You have written a fine book which, I believe, will be remembered as an important historical account of the naval battles in which the Newport News was engaged. I state with sincerity.......well done!"


Review of "Thunder in the Night" By Ray Kopp

"Mr. Kopp has woven a warm and sensitive love story into a hard chronicle of his Vietnam experience aboard a major US Navy combatant that goes in harms' way. He vividly portrays the anxiety of men sealed into a ship taking artillery fire from the shore. A 20 year old, at the time, he shares his experience with his teenage sweetheart by sharing their tenderness, compassion and passion against the backdrop of the Vietnam conflict. Through their eyes, one is transported back in time to experience the turmoil of the era. He relates his experience with the ladies of the evening in foreign ports and its impact on him when the cold light of day made him realize that he had been untrue to his true love.

I served on the USS Newport News for two years, departing two years before Mr. Kopp came aboard. I can certainly identify with his sentiments about being locked below decks during combat, with only a 36" escape scuttle going up several decks to the second deck. My General Quarters station was within the 8" armor belt about one foot above the keel. Nothing will get ones attention like hearing a blast and shrapnel bouncing off their ship. However, I do not have any experiences that compare with his experiences on October 1, 1972, the night the center gun of turret 2 exploded killing 20 men."

~CWO C. Mitchell
Fire Control Gunner
USS Newport News, '66-'68

From Mr. Kopps Website

"When May 1972 came around, the war in Vietnam was supposed to be winding down. But for a the crews of Task Unit 77.1.2 it was just starting. Steaming into heavily defended North Vietnamese waters the sailors and marines experienced war as they never thought possible. They engaged their foes with crushing, hit and run tactics that helped stem the flow of men and materiel needed for the Communist takeover of South Vietnam. In raid after raid the artillery firefights that ensued showed their adversaries to be well-trained and equipped forces intent on defending the military complexes of the Hanoi and Haiphong region. As time trudged on they found themselves constant targets of enemy fire and inner-psychological warfare."

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CW3 C. Mitchell, US Army (Ret.)

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Updated - Tuesday, 24-Apr-2012 17:48:53 EDT