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LUCKY THIRTEEN: D-Days in the Pacific with the U.S. Coast Guard in World War II Hardcover – February 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Casemate; 1st American Edition edition (February 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193203353x
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932033533
  • ASIN: 193203353X
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.4 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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His account is well worth reading.
J. Epstein
This is a must read for WWII history buffs, or for anyone looking for good reading.
Don McAllister
Reading this book took me back to those times.
David M. Delong II

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Fergus mac Roigh on May 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Since September 11, the US Coast Guard, the nation's fifth armed service -- almost always overlooked or ignored as even *being* an armed force -- has finally begun receiving the public acknowledgment and respect due the US's oldest, continuously existing branch of service. Most Americans don't know much if anything about the Coast Guard, especially its participation in every American war except Korea, where it had no purpose, or that it is in Iraq and the Persian Gulf today, where it has taken its first killed in action since Vietnam.

When there was an amphibious landing in WW2, a large percentage of the landing craft coxswains were Coast Guard enlisted men. It was the service that had the most coxswain experience with ocean-going small boats, after all. More, Coast Guard, and sometimes Navy, beachparties went ashore with the first wave of Marines in the Pacific theater's island battles, fighting alongside them until a beachhead had been established, when they'd begin organizing the first medical stations, evacuation of the wounded, and orderly supply depots on the beach.

Finally, this book -- Ken Wiley's *Lucky Thirteen* -- has appeared to document this virtually unknown aspect of WW2. A personal memoir told in the first person, the book reads like what it is: a CG coxswain's account of his service in the Pacific. It's apparent that the writer is an amateur recording personal experience from memory, but the book is nevertheless an important contribution -- the only book of its kind, to my knowledge -- documenting a little known part of the war by an often ignored armed force.

And a rollicking good tale.

You want this one in the WW2 section of your library.

Gary Sisco,

former ET3,

USCG,

Vietnam Era
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tom Reddock on June 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I particularly enjoyed this book because it is an important story about our nation's history and is told from the inside by a man who was there and lived it, instead of by some scholarly historian or journalist with an axe to grind. The pace is even and fast and the story is told compassionately without the slightest hint of bitterness toward the military, the enemy, the author's superiors, or his mates - even the ones who lost their courage under fire. This is the story of young men coming of age in the most extreme and trying circumstances. In any age of our history this will be an important book, but especially now with so many over-stuffed politicians on both sides of the aisle vying for attention while our young men and women, such as the ones in this story, are doing the brave and dirty work. This book gives us reason to stand proud of who we really are as a nation, and reminds us of the sacrifices that were paid for our standing as the world's freest nation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Author Ken Wiley tells of his service in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II in Lucky Thirteen: D-Days in the Pacific with the U.S. Coast Guard in World War II, a military memoir in first-person perspective. Wiley was only 17 when he enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1943; in the Pacific Theater, he was given responsibility of commanding "Lucky Thirteen", his own Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel. His task was to shuttle troops and supplies form the transport to the beaches, often while under fire and during inclement weather conditions. He served in campaigns for the Marshall Islands, the Marianas, the Philippines, and Okinawa. Lucky Thirteen recounts beach combat, kamikazes and suicide boats, sniper fire, and dangerous jungle river expeditions as well as sad tales of lost loves, friends made and lost, and humorous accounts of shipboard life. A personable and engaging tale of World War II from an oft-overlooked point of view.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tuscanwino on December 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a retired Coastie who was three years old when Wiley and his mates were driving their LCVP around the Pacific islands. I am extremely interested in this story because of our reputation as 'shallow-water sailors.' Yes, the Coasties sailed the shallow waters of Kwajalein while the Navy boys sat 8 miles offshore! I'm indebted to Wiley for telling this story.
Wiley's book starts with irrelevant stuff about his life before enlisting. This should have been shorter. Speed read this part. His 'love life' (such as it is) while in uniform, however, is worth reading because of the insight it gives into the mores of the day.
The illustrations by artist Ken Riley (not Ken Wiley) are great, and one wonders how they were drawn under combat conditions. Wiley mentions that a Riley mural is on a wall at the USCG Academy; there are plenty of murals on the walls at that institution, well worth seeing if you're interested.
Later in the book the steady stream of "Well dones" gets a bit old. Did the boat crew always shine so brightly? No medals?
There are flaws in the manuscript, however, that are annoying to a reader. The editing is terrible throughout. Examples: On page 237, Hoyle is both a LT and a LCDR. On page 178 he is both a LT and a CDR. On page 52, Wiley writes about Julie Reynolds; on page 54, he writes that he never learned her last name. He calls a 'skeg' a 'skag.' The girl Lori is a 'Navel' nurse. These seem minor, but throughout the book it is clear that no editor ever read it (did Wiley?)
The verbatim retelling of conversations after a 60-year lapse of time stretch credibility. Perhaps Wiley kept a meticulous log of conversations during these events, but I doubt it.
Flaws aside, I'm glad I bought and read this book, and will pass it on to a friend who was a SPAR in WWII. Wiley writes well and the invented conversations add to the readability of the book.
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