Academic journal article Military Review

The 14-Hour War: Valor on Koh Tang and the Recapture of the SS Mayaguez

Academic journal article Military Review

The 14-Hour War: Valor on Koh Tang and the Recapture of the SS Mayaguez

Article excerpt

THE 14-HOUR WAR: Valor on Koh Tang and the Recapture of the SS Mayaguez

James E. Wise, Jr., and Scott Baron, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2011, 295 pages, $34.95

ON 12 MAY 1975, the Khmer Rouge captured the crew and seized the U.S. cargo ship SS Mayaguez. The United States mounted a military operation to recapture the ship and free its crew. The 14-Hour War recounts the story of the marine assault on Koh Tang Island and the recapture of the Mayaguez.

Authors James Wise and Scott Baron argue that the Mayaguez incident is worth recounting "because of the current, almost unstoppable hijacking of foreign merchant ships transiting the Gulf of Aden and waters as far south as off the coast of Kenya in the Indian Ocean." The authors say The 14-Hour War is about American military heroes, human tragedy, and piracy. However, the book achieves only two of these objectives: it describes the heroic actions of the military that fought a numerically superior enemy force and the human tragedy of the Marines who were missing after the evacuation. The book falls short in its connection to today's piracy. …

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