A Petty Officer and a Swabbie

One Year at San Diego Boot Camp, Bluejacket Choir, Service Schools; Three Years (1969-72) with USS Midway (CVB/CVA/CV-41)

Non-Fiction - Military
214 Pages
Reviewed on 05/21/2023
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Author Biography

I’ve been on this Earth for over 7 decades, but the most impactful period during all that time was my 4 years of active duty in the US Navy. The Vietnam conflict raged its greatest over those years, and being part of it imparted no great honor back home in the States. I began writing a series of essays about my Navy stint 10 years after it ended. Gradually the essays morphed into the book as it is today.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Amy Raines for Readers' Favorite

A Petty Officer and a Swabbie by Charles W Paige concerns his decision to go into the armed forces at a time when most young men were wondering when it was going to be their time to be called up by Uncle Sam to join the fight. Choosing to join the Navy of his own free will was the better option for Paige. The regulations and rituals in the Navy are formalities that are respected, time-honored, and effective. Witnessing the beauty of the ocean, the horrors of war, learning the ropes of being on a ship or plane, and seeing the state of poverty in other countries had a lasting impact on Paige’s life. After spending so much time on the USS Midway and with his family anticipating his return, heading stateside was sure to be a bittersweet experience.

The reality of what life was like when young men were concerned about being drafted is extremely sad. The bravery involved in deciding to choose when to enter the service and what branch rather than waiting for the inevitable letter of selection is astounding. Readers can gain insight into the life of an officer in the Navy from beginning to end. From training, boarding a ship for the first time, and finally returning home, Paige shares honor, apprehension, truth, and fear through personal experience. The pictures that illustrate the memoir give the reader a glimpse into daily life in the Navy. I recommend A Petty Officer and a Swabbie by Charles W Paige to anyone who enjoys reading true accounts, especially those interested in understanding more about the world during the Vietnam War. This is a must-read, especially for history buffs.