Celebrate Veterans Day By Remembering

Shadow Commander: Celebrate Veterans Day By Remembering The Covert Commander Responsible For The Largest POW Rescue Mission In History

In Shadow Commander: The Epic Story of Donald D. Blackburn (Casemate Publishers), author Mike Guardia presents his readers with a memorable story of an underdog whose career was a testament to dogged determination and the will to stay alive.

The true story of the US Army legend who organized “Blackburn’s Headhunters” against Japan in WWII and went on to initiate Special Forces operations in Vietnam.

On the evening of April 9, 1942, the fires on Bataan burned with a primitive fury, illuminating white flags of surrender against the dark sky. Outnumbered and outgunned, remnants of the American-Philippine army surrendered to the forces of the Rising Sun. Yet US Army Captain Donald D. Blackburn refused to lay down his arms. With future Special Forces legend Russell Volckmann, Blackburn escaped to the jungles of North Luzon, raising a private army of 22,000 men against the Japanese. His organization of native tribes into guerrilla fighters would lead to the destruction of the enemy’s naval base at Aparri.

But Blackburn’s remarkable accomplishments didn’t end with the victory in the Pacific. He played a key role in initiating Army Special Forces operations in Southeast Asia, became commander of the 77th Special Forces Group and later took command of the highly classified Studies and Observations Group (SOG), charged with performing secret missions. Blackburn also revitalized the Special Operations campaign in South Vietnam, conducting full-scale operations against the NVA and Viet Cong in Laos and Cambodia. Following his return to the US, Blackburn was the architect of the infamous Son Tay Prison Raid, the largest prisoner-of-war rescue mission—and, indeed, the largest Army Special Forces operation—of the Vietnam War.

During a period when US troops in Southeast Asia faced guerrilla armies on every side, America had a superb covert commander of its own. This book follows Blackburn through both his youthful days of desperate combat and his time as a commander, imparting his lessons to the new ranks of Army Special Forces.

An internationally-recognized author and military historian, Mike Guardia is also a veteran of the United States Army. He served six years on active duty as an Armor Officer. He is the author of the widely-acclaimed Hal Moore: A Soldier Once…and Always, the first-ever biography chronicling the life of Lieutenant General Harold G. Moore, whose leadership was popularized in the film We Were Soldiers starring Mel Gibson.  As a lecturer, Mike Guardia has given presentations at the US Special Operations Command and the George Bush (41) Presidential Library.  He holds a BA and MA in American History from the University of Houston and currently resides in Texas.

For more information, please visit:  https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Commander

Shadow Commander: The Epic Story of Donald D. Blackburn
Casemate Publishers
Available online at Amazon and at all fine book sellers
ISBN-13: 978-1612000657


World War II Magazine: “A follow-up to a fine bio of Russell Volckmann, this tale of guerrilla warfare spans from Bataan to Vietnam.”

Book News: “Donald D. Blackburn’s involvement in guerilla warfare against the Japanese in WWII qualified him to become one of the first commanders of the Special Forces. For this career biography, the author conducted personal interviews with Blackburn and his family in 2008, with access to all of Blackburn’s personal papers, documents, photos, and his war diary from 1941-1944.”

Miniature Wargames UK: “…very well researched and readable account of one man’s fascinating military career, which was rarely spent far from where the action was.”

Military Writer’s Society Of America: “An excellent biography of one of the Army’s lesser known but very important leaders. Blackburn’s activities in World War II alone would make him a hero, but the author goes on to cite in some detail Blackburn’s other contributions in Viet Nam as well as to the evolution of Army Special Forces. The author’s detailed accounts of Blackburn’s activities make this book a must read for anyone interested in military history, World War II, and particularly for anyone studying or who simply enjoys reading about guerilla warfare or Army Special Forces.”

Hal Moore: A Soldier Once…And Always; The Story Of One Of America’s Greatest Heroes

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Ia Drang and the start of the Vietnam War. Hal Moore captured our attention when his exploits in the Ia Drang battle were recounted in his memoir We Were Soldiers Once…and Young, and commanded our respect in the memorable Mel Gibson movie, “We Were Soldiers.” Now, his life is covered in full by celebrated author Mike Guardia in Hal Moore: A Soldier Once…and Always (Casemate Publishers).

Drastically outnumbered and nearly overrun, Hal Moore led his men to a surprising victory that claimed the lives of more than 1,200 enemy soldiers. The Battle of Ia Drang pioneered the use of “air mobile infantry”—delivering troops into battle via helicopter—which became a staple of U.S. operations for the remainder of the war.

One of the greatest battlefield commanders of the 20th century, little has been known about Hal Moore’s life and career beyond the Ia Drang battle…until now.  In this book, readers will learn of his service in Occupied Japan, his life-and-death struggles in the hilltop battles of the Korean War, and how he helped rebuild the post-Vietnam Army.

Following his tour in Vietnam, he assumed command of the 7th Infantry Division, forward-stationed in South Korea, and in 1971 he took command of the Army Training Center at Fort Ord, California. In this capacity, he oversaw the US Army’s transition from a conscript-based to an all-volunteer force. He retired as a Lieutenant General in 1977.

At this writing, Hal Moore is 93 years-old and living quietly in Auburn, Alabama. He graciously allowed the author to conduct several interviews and granted full access to his collection of letters, documents, and never-before-published photographs.

Mike Guardia is a Captain in the US Army Reserve.  He served six years on active duty as an Armor Officer. He holds a BA and MA in American History from the University of Houston. As an author, his previous works include Shadow Commander and American Guerrilla. He currently lives and works in Houston, TX. A portion of the book’s proceeds will go to benefit the USO.

For more, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/Hal-Moore-The-Biography-1406627382912279/timeline/

Hal Moore: A Soldier Once…and Always
Casemate Publishers
Available at: http://www.casematepublishers.com/index.php/hal-moore-hb.html#.ViUu-h2zZ9A and at Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Amazon.com
Available in all major digital tablet platforms
$32.95 Hardcover
ISBN-13:  978-1612002071

ARMY Magazine: “This book brings the saga of one of the Army’s premier combat commanders to a new generation of military leaders. We are in Hal Moore’s debt for his distinguished service under the most challenging conditions. We are in Guardia’s debt for making Moore’s story accessible to the American public.”

Brian Sobel, author of The Fighting Pattons: “…Hal Moore is an American treasure and military hero…story is captured from his earliest days at West Point, through Korea, to the seminal moment of his Army life during the famed 1965 Battle of Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam. The battle has become the stuff of legend and Guardia captures the story in vivid detail…”

Midwest Book Review: “…an in depth biography of one of the America’s most admired soldiers…Vintage black and white photography peppers this fascinating, thoroughly researched saga of Moore’s life and career in the service, highly recommended…”

Statesman Journal: “Guardia’s honest recollections of [Moore’s] experiences in Viet Nam (both during the war and in 1993 when he returned to visit the men that three decades before were considered the enemy) are eye-openers.”

Joint Forces Journal: “…truly an outstanding biography as the author, one of America’s finest military historians, was allowed unrestricted access to Moore’s collected letters, documents, and never before published photographs…[Author] tells how Moore exemplifies the leadership qualities needed in all military leaders both in battle and in peacetime…well-documented study of an exceptional soldier and innovative problem solver…contains sufficient depth to fully understand Moore’s personality, character and motivation…should be essential reading for every sergeant and officer in the military, and every executive in business.”

Connecticut Guardian: “… easy and fast read … but Guardia manages to reach the heart of what made Moore a successful military leader.”

Joplin Independent: “The strategies, the nature of the enemy, whether or not real lasting success followed military or personal battles, always can be questioned…Moore, through the focused eyes of author/tank unit commander Mike Guardia has a major impact on how we as a nation and as individuals see things militarily or otherwise.”

Tip of the Spear, Special Forces Association: “…well researched….logical, straight forward, and enjoyable to read.”

~ VVA Veteran: “…a concise, admiring biography of retired Army Lt. Gen. Harold “Hal” Moore…Told in Moore’s strong first-person voice, this readable narrative goes over the basics of the November 1965 actions at Landing Zones X-Ray and Albany, the fiercest components of the 34-day Battle of the Ia Drang Valley…Guardia leans heavily on the two books in his account of Moore’s life, along with interviews he conducted with [Moore], with members of his family, and with veterans who served with him.”

Pure Politics.com: “….collectively captures the heroism that Moore performed on fighting for freedom abroad. This work comes from hours of interview from the subject and his personal archive. Guardia has done a service in sharing the life of a forgotten hero.”


Review of The Sailor by Malcolm Campbell

The Sailor

(Garden of Heaven Trilogy)

by Malcolm R. Campbell

The Sailor by Malcolm Campbell
By JPurdy  (from Amazon)
My comments about this book are that I enjoyed reading it. The story is presented in a different manner that most novels that I read. It is written at a nice pace and I will read the other two pieces of this trilogy as time permits. I like the characters and the way they interact.
Having made several west-pac cruises and visited some the ports of call mentioned, It brought back many memories.

The Sailor

Book 2 of the Garden of Heaven Trilogy

When conscription and the Vietnam War pull pacifist David Ward away from Montana, mountain climbing and magic, he leaves for Navy boot camp with a suitcase of regrets. His fiancé ignores him, a close friend callously tells him to kill bad guys and have sex in every port, and an old flame sends devastating news that wrenches his life from its foundations.

Friends and family warned that if he dodged the draft, he would let down his church and country and become an embarrassment to everyone. Canada offered war resistors anonymous safety one hundred miles north of his ranch; a Swedish friend offered him the loving safety of her home and bed 4,500 miles away in Göteborg.

Rather than choosing a tempting offer for the wrong reasons, David serves onboard an aircraft carrier off the coast of Vietnam. Unlike his pilot friend Jack Rose, he’s more vulnerable to letters from home than from the war. His fiancé ignores him, a close friend callously tells him to kill bad guys and have sex in every port, and an old flame sends devastating news that wrenches his life from its foundations.

His spare-time work on a mountain climbing novel anchors him, a vision quest with a Hawai’ian sorceress in the warm waters off Oʻahu brings him hope, and an unexpected relationship with a Filipino bar girl saves his sanity. His best friend will never return home from the war. When David returns, no family and friends meet the plane or help get David’s life back together. They enjoy hearing funny stories about the ship, teaching him to remain silent about everything that matters.