Before I was 30, I'd been in everything from an Arctic hurricane to a rum factory in Haiti.
I'd gone to sea for a living - truly the second biggest crap game in the world. It was a place where the only chip in the game was your life and it was on the table every time you got underway.
My job history reads like a Doctor Strange comic book from the 1960's. I've sold insurance, encyclopedias, computers and commodity options. Jobs have included scuba diving, retail sales, computerized embroidery, marketing marine navigation software to mega-yachts in Florida, telemarketing and building models of everything from sailing ships to weapons systems.
On the docks of Boston, my tires were flattened by an ice pick wielding competitor when I got an order for ship supplies before he did.
Helping to bring a sailboat back from the Bahamas, I experienced the copper taste of fear for the first time and there was gray in my hair when I reached shore.
I've been blessed by the Northern Lights, sailed through Prince Christian Sound at the tip of Greenland, a land so old that you expect to see Leif Ericcson pull out from the next fiord, seen the Green Flash as the sun set behind the Leeward Islands and watched dolphins play in a tug's bow wave in the Gulf of Mexico.
The words "Boarding Party" and "Prize Crew" evoke images of pirates and bloody cutlasses. Reality for me was a .45 pistol and backed up by M16's and .50 caliber machine guns.
One time on ship if I had zigged instead of zagged, they would have buried me in two pieces.
I've known the love of a great woman and how heart wrenching it can be to raise children.
All this and a buck gets me a cup of coffee
Here is the rest of the story:
After graduating from Montclair State College with a BA in Biology, Mike served in the U.S. Coast Guard for six years as a commissioned officer and a senior petty officer.
His assignments included buoy tending, search and rescue missions, search and rescue coordination, drug law enforcement, and oceanographic operations in the Arctic. As part of the Boarding Party and Prize Crew on two cutters he participated in the seizures of a Panamanian drug-runner and a Cuban fishing boat. His decorations include the U.S. Coast Guard Achievement Medal (Operational) for counter-drug operations, Arctic Service Medal, Sea Service Medal, the National Defense Medal, and USCG Cutterman's Insignia.
In June 2004, Mike’s first book, Bloodstained Sea: The U.S. Coast Guard in the Battle of the Atlantic 1941-1944, was published by International Marine, a division of McGraw-Hill, and received critical acclaim by reviewers and veterans. The Naval Order of the United States honored him with its 2005 Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature. Bloodstained Sea is now available through Cutter Publishing (www.cutterpublishing.com).
On the lighter side, he published, in conjunction with Flat Hammock Press, a new edition of “Sinbad of the Coast Guard,” the adventurous, true story of the USCGC Campbell’s mascot whose exploits during World War II became legend. Appropriately, Sinbad's story was told by a fellow member of the Coast Guard, Chief George F. Foley, Jr., while the fine pictures were drawn by the outstanding Coast Guard Reserve artist, George Gray.
In 2005, he appeared on the History Channel series Man, Moment, Machine episode about Andrew J. Higgins, the designer and builder of the vital landing craft used in World War II, and, as a script consultant for the episode, reviewed the material for accuracy.
Mike’s first novel Choke Points (Cutter Publishing, 2009) addresses the real threats to Maritime and Port Security.
He is an internationally recognized expert on World War II. His expertise also includes such diverse fields as leadership, international terror, trans-national crime, human trafficking, piracy and counter piracy operations as well as geo-political and military history.
Mike has spent more than 45 years collecting stories from veterans from World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, and Iraq as well as those of pilots, merchant seaman, civilian personnel with NATO and EUFOR in the Balkans. His research has included visits to London; Sarajevo; Baska Voda, Croatia; Halifax, Nova Scotia; St. John’s, Newfoundland; and New Orleans.
He can be reached through his web site: www.mikewalling.com.
Veterans from too many Wars, US Coast Guard
INTO THE DARK SEAS (Non-fiction)
On October 14, 1947, Captain Chuck Martin attempted to do what had never been done before — land an 88,000 pound aircraft in thirty-five-foot high seas with 69 people on board.
Nine years later and half a world away, Captain Richard Ogg was forced to attempt another unique ditching with a Stratocruiser carrying 43 passengers and crew.
INTO THE DARK SEAS tells for the first time the full stories of the only two completely successful open water ditchings in Commercial Aviation history.
No one flying before or since has ever experienced such harrowing rescues.
Available December 2009
ADMIRAL RAEDER'S WAR (Fiction)
Illusion. Deception. The wonder of “now you see it, now you don’t.”
Our pure joy in a magician’s ability to make a coin disappear from his hand and then pull it out of your ear. But even the most elaborate feats by the greatest illusionists like Houdini and David Copperfield pale in comparison to those pulled off by governments in war time.
Here is the greatest of them all – the truth of what went on in the Battle of the Atlantic and how Admiral Raeder’s Navy came within a hair’s breath of winning World War II.
How do I know about this? I’m the sole remaining witness to all that occurred.
Along the way I acquired a taste for American cigarettes, British gin, French women, and Icelandic Black Death schnapps. So here is the true tale of really happened and how I acquired these eclectic tastes.
Available April 2010
WALKING POINT IN THE SUNNI TRIANGLE (Non-fiction)
In WALKING POINT, soldiers of the 1-8 IN (M) “Fighting Eagles” write their stories for first time. It is also the first book written by men who fought a full year in Iraq. Their sharp and focused viewpoints of the events are not ones seen by embedded reporters, agenda-laden government officials, deskbound national news anchors or transient freelance journalists.
The authors are in unique positions to offer operational details unavailable to outsiders and intimate glimpses of the day-to-day rituals of sustained combat operations. These stories present an unbiased look at one part of America's war in Iraq.
The work is a timeless saga of men in conflict, determined to keep their honor.
Available September 2010
Flat Hamoock Press
History, human trafficking, trans-national crime & terrorism, piracy/counter-piracy, maritime security, current geo-political and economic trends.
Polaris Project - For World Without Slavery (http://www.polarisproject.org/)
Project Bread (...
© 2013 Red Room Omnimedia Corporation. All rights reserved.