Highest recommendation for Kevin Miller’s (CAPT. USN, Ret) newest novel Fight Fight.
I was going to do a normal “book review”/recommendation but decided to just leverage my comments to Kevin along with his response instead. I had done a recommendation on his first book Raven One in a somewhat normal/accepted manner, but this book has some deeper levels for me than just good naval aviation fiction so wanted to add some emphasis. Some bit ago the novel Ghost Fleet on a future war scenario was highly regarded. The books are similar in some ways, but Kevin’s book strikes home (for me anyway) in a much more personal and directly relatable way to the overall Blown Slick Future Airpower Analysis series and the sub-series on carrier battles in 1942 around the South and Southwestern Pacific island defense chain set up by the Japanese.
Note: For the 1972 USS Midway war cruise guys of CAG – 5 and particularly the Champs of VA-56, Kevin was a JO (junior officer/nugget aviator) when our own VA-56 Champ Bob Sandy Sanderson had his A-7 command tour. Kevin later commanded an F/A-18 squadron, and is now heavily involved with the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. He is a genuine expert on the Battle of Midway, often giving talks at the Museum. He has helped me a great deal in the past with current strike fighter aviation and with my current writing on CV’s in ’42.
Fly Navy, the BEST Always Have
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Fight Fight Thoughts
From: “Ed Beakley”
Date: Thu, September 13, 2018 1:46 pm
To: “Kevin Miller”
Once again you nailed it AND maybe even more importantly at a different context and level.
I’m writing having only read about half, but the points (which you obviously already know) stand out and with minor mods – take away the fiction aspects – should be must reads for many and particularly our Navy seniors – IMHO.
Key things that have struck home:
- Use of USS Cape Esperance: I wonder how many readers will understand the ref to such a major night battle during the Guadalcanal campaign. I sure didn’t until I got into my series on carriers in 1942 (am now in midst of finishing off the Guadalcanal pieces.)
- The “hurry-up” sailing of Hancock with all the stuff that had to be done took me back immediately to Midway’s midweek about face and sprint back (recovered the unknowing airwing with 45 knots over the deck/ hot seat and mini cruise of 2 traps 🙂 ) to Alameda for a 10 April departure – bypass Hawaii, etc in response to the Easter Offensive. Married on 11 March, there were some overwhelmed families.
- The recoveries in the Aleutians, although no CV stuff. really brought back my June-July 1986 test ops out of Adak. Spent 8 hours in an A-6 mostly below 200 ft with multiple tanking from USMC KC-130. With drops we were hanging on the blades for last bit of gas. Only recovery field was 1000 nm away at Elmendorf. WX pretty iffy. Short of VN, “The Great Alaskan Bush Patrol” was the biggest baddest adventure of my career. I could sure identify with that chapter AND really glad no carrier landings involved. I’m gonna write that up one day.
- The whole issue of land-based air is one of those things needing more current consideration. The study of Guadalcanal has really opened my eyes to its criticality. Right after the Air Sea Battle (ASB) concept came out I had the opportunity to chat a few times with one author – a retired blackshoe captain. Without belaboring, the issue of AF and Navy working together given the South China Sea (SCS) two island chain seemed very important. CNO and AFCOS at the time put together a very interesting brief and paper in 2013 but haven’t seen anything sense.
- In same context, I wonder how many folks can visualize the “island” context. For me, it’s like take Guadalcanal and the Solomons issues and then place in a much bigger Pacific. I think you do a great job using the total expanse in your story. Only thought, map would have aided. I still have to refer to maps with my Guadalcanal writing. Even there keeping track of who’s where and how far they have to (both sides) go gets messy.
- I think you do a great job in highlighting “who’s gotta be in the sandbox.” Guadalcanal reading has given me a much better perspective on “the team” and particularly as noted before with land-based air, BUT also the surface ship side. Which leads to…
- Article in Naval Proceedings by Captain Barney Rubel – USE CARRIERS DIFFERENTLY IN A HIGH END FIGHT. Although he never mentions Guadalcanal, there were two distinct aspects Adm Fletcher had to deal with. One he understood well from Coral Sea and Midway, but the support piece and being tied to geography, not so much. Rubel’s thinking makes much sense to me. It also highlights (though not actually one of his points) why multi-mission a/c are important and from a cost standpoint only real choice we have. More involved point than space allows but ties back to keeping surface guys safe/viable along with tankers and long range land-based air.
- As a history reader Chapter 4 takes me back to the events of June 1914 at Sarajevo. What can I say? Chapter could be a stand alone!
- Chapter 27 on the initial PRC attacks is another stand alone must read.
Some time ago Ghost Fleet was a highly touted think piece work of fiction on a future war. A good read BUT for me you’ve topped it. Will be doing some recommendations to the folks. Great job.
Fly Navy, the Best Always Have
——– Response Message ——–
From: Kevin Miller
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2018 11:11 AM
To: Ed Beakley
Subject: RE: Fight Fight Thoughts
Wow, Boris, thank you very much. Before I forget, Barney Rubel was a DH [Ed Beakley] (Department Head) in VA-86 when I was with Sandy in VA-82. Later in my career Barney was my CO when I was a DH. We are still in touch, and yes, his article is thought provoking.
Glad you are finding/enjoying the historic similarities from previous conflicts, the Pacific War in particular. My goal is to entertain and inform, in that order.
Thank you for spreading the world. A growing number of retired flag influencers have found me, and comparison to Ghost Fleet is high praise. Hope you enjoy the rest.