The Naval Armed Guard was the special service branch of the U.S. Navy responsible for defending U.S. and Allied merchant ships and their valuable cargo and crews from attack by enemy aircraft, submarines, and surface ships.
In World War II, nearly 145,000 men served in the Naval Armed Guard as Gunner’s Mates, Coxswains and Boatswains, Radiomen, Signalmen, an occasional Pharmacist’s Mate, and toward the end of the war a few radarmen.
The Naval Armed Guard served on more than 6,000 cargo ships, tankers, troop ships, and other merchant vessels, and took part in every major campaign of World War II in both the European and Pacific theaters. The U.S. Navy Armed Guard was disbanded after the war.
Award-winning Pacific war historian William L. McGee combines fact with memoir to tell his story of service in the Naval Armed Guard in the Pacific theater in WWII. Written in his signature journalistic and straightforward style, he draws on his journal, declassified documents, archival research, and interviews with more than a hundred former shipmates and others who served in the Naval Armed Guard.
I would like to thank Bill McGee and his co-author/wife Sandra for their work to preserve the history of the U.S. Navy Armed Guard and Merchant Marines, so future generations may read about what both crews did in World War II. Without Bill’s and Sandra’s work, the Naval Armed Guard story would never have been told properly.
Little has been written about service in the U.S. Navy Armed Guard . . . William L. McGee remedies this with a book that offers a clear picture of the duties and dangers of service in the Naval Armed Guard. The book has value for historians.
The story of a generation of Armed Guards ... Well written, the book is an honest, factual story laced with humor.