This month we begin a new feature in our Newsletter…
We all have our favorite authors, I’m no exception mine happens to be W.E.B. Griffin. In real life he was born William Edmund Butterworth III on November 10, 1929. What is it about this author that makes him unique; in my mind it is the way that he incorporates a core group of main characters instead of just one character. Plus maybe it’s his longevity, his first book was published in 1960, that’s almost 50 years of writing and entertaining people. I first started reading his novels around 1988 and have been hooked every since. They are the comfort food of books to me, if I don’t have a “new” book to read I can always grab any of the books in one of his series and it becomes old home week. Visiting old friends and enjoying the novel as if it’s the first time, I almost always seem to end up re-reading all of the books in that particular series once I start one. I also really like how he intertwines real events and actions into his books and sets up the characters so you really want to know what happens to Ken McCoy, Duke Lowell, Matt Payne, Dick Cainidy or Cletus Howell. The real attention began for this author is when he published the Brotherhood of War Series and the Corps Series. Since then he has sold over 45 million books in just these 6 series and are consistently on the bestsellers list for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and more. His works have been translated to ten languages as well. So if you like well written books mostly produced in a series format I would suggest starting with the first book in the Corps series first published in 1986.
Major Kenneth J. "(The) Killer" McCoy, USMCR
Initially known as "The Killer" for killing two Italian marines in self-defense with a baby Fairbairn knife, the introductory character of the saga is Ken McCoy, a Marine private first class stationed in Shanghai, China with the 4th Marines (the primary component of the China Marines) prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Due to his actions in carrying out intelligence missions on Japanese assets, he is transferred back to the United States and enters Officer Candidate School to earn a commission as a second lieutenant. He is assigned as an officer courier for intelligence in the Pacific. While on a courier run, he is caught at Pearl Harbor on December 7 and survives. He manages to make it to the Philippines shortly before the Japanese invasion and reunites with Captain Ed Banning while assisting in the defense of the landing beach. Following an artillery barrage, McCoy carries Banning to a monastery for treatment. He manages to make it through enemy lines and return to the States. He is awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received and a Bronze Star for his performance under fire and his efforts to save Captain Banning. He participates in several other missions under Brigadier General Fleming Pickering, including landing on Japanese-controlled Mindanao, and setting up a weather station in the Gobi Desert.
Colonel Edward C. Banning, USMC
Introduced as S-2 "Intelligence" Officer, and assigned as McCoy's legal aide after the killing the two Italian marines, Banning quickly becomes an integral part of the book as McCoy is slowly indoctrinated into the world of intelligence gathering. Also a China Marine, his relationship with McCoy changes from superior officer to peer as the story progresses. He is a graduate of The Citadel aka "the Military College of South Carolina." After the 4th Marines are moved from Shanghai to the Philippines, he finds himself defending the Philippines during the Japanese invasion. He is temporarily blinded and transferred off Corregidor by submarine with other seriously wounded US servicemen; fortunately, his sight returns before reaching port. Banning subsequently serves in the Office of Management Analysis and under Brigadier General Pickering in the OSS during World War II. At the beginning of the Korean War in Under Fire, he is near retirement, contemplating a future in real estate.
Master Gunner Ernest Zimmerman, USMC
Ernest "Ernie" Zimmerman is a China Marine sergeant who serves with McCoy in Shanghai and operates with him in reconnaissance missions. When the 4th Marines are ordered to the Philippines, he is forced to leave his Chinese wife along with Mrs. Ed Banning in China. Later, he serves with McCoy in the Marine Raiders when McCoy is assigned to spy on Evans Carlson, the innovative combat leader who's seen as a threat to the Marine establishment. Following this, Zimmerman serves in a Marine Air Wing in the Pacific, and at McCoy's request is transferred to the OSS to help set up a weather station in the Gobi Desert. During that operation, Zimmerman is reunited with his wife (and Ed Banning with his), after she was forced to flee China. Between the Gobi Desert assignment in 1943 and the beginning of the Korean War, Zimmerman is promoted to Master Gunner. During the Korean Conflict, he serves with Captain/Major McCoy in the CIA.
Major Malcolm "Pick" Pickering, USMCR
On the train from San Diego to Pennsylvania, McCoy meets a friendly civilian named Malcolm Pickering ("Pick" to his friends). After parting company, McCoy and Pick are reunited as classmates in the Platoon Leaders' Course at Quantico, Virginia. Pick is the son of Fleming Pickering, owner of Pacific and Far East (P&FE) shipping, and Patricia Foster Pickering, heir to the Foster hotel chain (allowing Pick to stay at the exclusive hotels at no cost). While Ken acts as an officer courier, Pick's sets his sights on flight training, and he attends flight school at Pensacola. He was promoted to Major while commanding a reserve squadron just before the Korean War; his squadron was subsequently activated and deployed to Korea. He gained a reputation for firing on enemy trains, to the point of painting locomotive silhouettes on his F4U Corsair for each "kill." Flying combat missions off the escort carrier USS Badoeng Strait, he is shot down over enemy territory, but survives and returns to friendly lines.
Brigadier General Fleming "Flem" Pickering, USMCR
Pick's father Fleming is the owner and chairman of Pacific and Far Eastern Shipping, a large and successful worldwide shipping conglomerate. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, then-Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox asks him to take a wartime commission as a Navy Captain and act as his plenipotentiary in the Pacific theater. During the First World War, Fleming was a Marine corporal, twice wounded in action and recipient of the Navy Cross (the second-highest award for valor and the equivalent of the Distinguished Service Cross). He was also commissioned as a Marine Brigadier General and served as the OSS Deputy Director for the Pacific and the CIA's Deputy Director for Asia.
Ernestine "Ernie" Sage is the daughter of a pharmaceutical magnate. The Pickering and Sage families are old friends; Ernie and Pick have known each other since childhood. Ernie meets - and falls in love with - Ken McCoy shortly before he and Pick earn their officer commissions. They are married and have one child.
Captain George Hart, USMCR
George Hart, a St. Louis homicide detective before the war, was conned into the Corps by a zealous (and unscrupulous) recruiter. During boot camp, he was transferred and promoted to Sergeant to act as Brigadier General Pickering's personal bodyguard. He was promoted to Captain while in command of a reserve rifle company before Korea erupts, and went back to serve with General Pickering.
Patricia Pickering has been the Chairman of the Foster Hotel chain since her father, Andrew Foster, died in the years between World War II and the Korean War. She is the wife of Fleming Pickering and mother to Malcolm ("Pick") Pickering. Notably, while her husband was serving in the Pacific during WWII, she also served as the chairman of Pacific & Far East Shipping, her husband's international company.
Brigadier General Jack (NMI) Stecker, USMC
A Medal of Honor recipient during World War I, Jack (No Middle Initial) Stecker first appears as a seasoned Master Gunnery Sergeant who sees more than a little of himself in Ken McCoy and helps him adjust to life at Quantico. He is commissioned as a Mustang and quickly promoted to Captain, enabling him to stop persecution of McCoy by 1st Lieutenant Macklin, a self-serving (and borderline dishonest) officer McCoy knew in China. Stecker's younger son Dick becomes friends with Pick during aviator training at Pensacola, Florida. By the end of WWII, Stecker has advanced to Brigadier General and is on the staff of General Alexander A. Vandergrift (Marine Corps Commandant).
Mr. Griffin grew up in the suburbs of New York City and Philadelphia. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1946. After basic training, he received counterintelligence training at Fort Holabird, Maryland. He was assigned to the Army of Occupation in Germany, and ultimately to the staff of then-Major General I.D. White, commander of the U.S. Constabulary.
In 1951, Mr. Griffin was recalled to active duty for the Korean War, interrupting his education at Phillips University, Marburg an der Lahn, Germany. In Korea he earned the Combat Infantry Badge as a combat correspondent and later served as acting X Corps (Group) information officer under Lieutenant General White.
On his release from active duty in 1953, Mr. Griffin was appointed Chief of the Publications Division of the U.S. Army Signal Aviation Test & Support Activity at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Mr. Griffin is a member of the Special Operations Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Army Aviation Association, the Armor Association, and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Society.
He was the 1991 recipient of the Brigadier General Robert L. Dening Memorial Distinguished Service Award of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association, and the August 1999 recipient of the Veterans of Foreign Wars News Media Award, presented at the 100th National Convention in Kansas City.
He has been vested into the Order of St. George of the U.S. Armor Association, and the Order of St. Andrew of the U.S. Army Aviation Association, and been awarded Honorary Doctoral degrees by Norwich University, the nation’s first and oldest private military college, and by Troy State University (Ala.). He was the graduation dinner speaker for the class of 1988 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
He has been awarded honorary membership in the Special Forces Association, the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association, the Marine Raiders Association, and the U.S. Army Otter & Caribou Association. In January 2003, he was made a life member of the Police Chiefs Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and the State of Delaware.
He is the co-founder, with historian Colonel Carlo D’Este, of the William E. Colby Seminar on Intelligence, Military, and Diplomatic Affairs.
He is a Life Member of the National Rifle Association. And he belongs to the Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Pensacola, Florida, chapters of the Flat Earth Society.
Mr. Griffin’s novels, known for their historical accuracy, have been praised by The Philadelphia Inquirer for their “fierce, stop-for-nothing scenes.”
“Nothing honors me more than a serviceman, veteran, or cop telling me he enjoys reading my books,” Mr. Griffin says.
Mr. Griffin divides his time between the Gulf Coast and Buenos Aires.
List of novels
The Brotherhood of War Series (U.S. Army)
Book I, The Lieutenants (North Africa, Germany, Greece, CONUS 1942–1950)
Book II, The Captains (Korea 1950–1953)
Book III, The Majors (French IndoChina, Algeria, CONUS 1954-1958)
Book IV, The Colonels (Vietnam, Cuba, Germany, CONUS 1958-1961)
Book V, The Berets (Vietnam, Germany, CONUS, 1961-1962)
Book VI, The Generals (Vietnam, CONUS, 1962-1985)
Book VII, The New Breed (Congo, CONUS, 1963-1964)
Book VIII, The Aviators (Vietnam, Congo, CONUS 1963-1965)
Book IX, Special Ops (Congo, Argentina, CONUS, 1965-1967)
The Corps Series (United States Marine Corps)
Book I, Semper Fi (1986) - Main action takes place between January 2, 1941 and January 17, 1942.
Book II, Call to Arms (1987) - Main action takes place between December 18, 1941 and August 30, 1942.
Book III, Counterattack (1990) - Main action takes place between December 7, 1941 and August 9, 1942.
Book IV, Battleground (1991) - Main action takes place between June 4, 1942 and August 25, 1942.
Book V, Line of Fire (1992) - Main action takes place between Spring 1942 and October 11, 1942.
Book VI, Close Combat (1993) - Main action takes place between October 11, 1942 and November 19, 1942.
Book VII, Behind the Lines (1996) - Main action takes place between April 7, 1942 and February 8, 1943.
Book VIII, In Danger's Path (1999) - Main action takes place between November, 1941 and May 5, 1943.
Book IX, Under Fire (2002) - Main action takes place between June 1, 1950 and September 29, 1950.
Book X, Retreat, Hell! (2004) - Main action takes place between September 28, 1950 and November 3, 1950.
Men at War Series (Office of Strategic Services/OSS)
Originally published under the pseudonym of Alex Baldwin
Book I, The Last Heroes (also published as In The Line of Duty) (1984)
Book II, The Secret Warriors (also published as Covert Operations) (1985)
Book III, The Soldier Spies (also published as Give me Liberty) (1986)
Book IV, The Fighting Agents (also published as Into Enemy Hands) (1989)
Book V, The Saboteurs (2007)
Book VI, The Double Agents (2008)
Badge of Honor Series (Philadelphia Police Department)
Book I, Men in Blue (1988)
Book II, Special Operations (1989)
Book III, The Victim (1991)
Book IV, The Witness (1992)
Book V, The Assassin (1993)
Book VI, The Murderers (1994)
Book VII, The Investigators (1997)
Book VIII, Final Justice (2003)
Book IX, The Traffickers (2009)
Honor Bound Series (OSS)
Book I, Honor Bound (1993)
Book II, Blood and Honor (1996)
Book III, Secret Honor (1999)
Book IV Death and Honor (2008)
The Presidential Agent Series (contemporary counterterrorism)
Book I, By Order of the President (2005)
Book II, The Hostage (2006)
Book III, The Hunters (2007)
Book IV, The Shooters (2008)
Book V, Black Ops (2009)
Written under W. E. Butterworth
Comfort Me With Love (1961)
Hot Seat (1961)
The Court-Martial (1962)
The Girl in the Black Bikini (1962)
Hell on Wheels (1962)
The Love-Go-Round (1962)
Where We Go From Here (1962)
Le Falot (1963)
The Wonders os Astronomy (1964)
The Wonders of Rockets and Missiles (9164)
Fast Green Car (1965)
Stock-car Racer (1966)
Air Evac"" (1967)
The Image Makers (1967)
Soldiers on Horseback; The Story of the United States Cavalry (1967)
Helicopter Pilot (1967)
Road Racer (1967)
Orders to Vietnam (1968)
Redline 7100 (1968)
Grand Prix Driver (1969)
Stop and Search (1969)
Wheel of a Fast Car (1969)
Fast and Smart (1970)
Marty and the Micromidgets (1970)
Moving West on 122 (1970)
Susan and Her Classic Convertible (1970)
Steve Bellamy (1970)
Crazy to Race (1971)
My Father's Quite a Guy (1971)
Flying Army; The Modern Air Arm of the U.S. Army (1971)
Return to Racing (1971)
Wheels and Pistons; The Story of the Automobile (1971)
Dateline: Talladega (1972)
The High Wind: the Story of NASCAR Racing (1972)
The Narc (1972)
The Racedriver (1972)
Team Racer (1972)
Race Car Team (1973)
Yankee Driver (1973)
Dave White and the Electric Wonder Car (1974)
Return to Daytona (1974)
Tires and Other Things: Some Heroes of Automotive Evolution (1974)
Black Gold : The Story of Oil (1975)
Stop, Thief! (1975)
Careers in the Services (1976)
Mighty Minicycles' (1976)
The Roper Brothers and Their Magnificent Steam Automobile (1976)
An Album of Automobile Racing (1977)
Christina's Passion (1977)
Hi-fi : From Edison's Phonograph to Quadraphonic Sound (1977)
The Air Freight Mystery (1978)
Next Stop, Earth (1978)
Tank Driver (1978)
The Hotel Mystery (1979)
Under the Influence (1979)
Wrecker Driver (1979)
Slaughter by Auto (1980)
Leroy and the Old Man (1980)
Flunking Out (1981)
Hot Wire (1982)
A Member of the Family (1982)
Moose, the Thing, and Me (1982)
Written with Richard Hooker
M*A*S*H Goes to Paris (1974)
M*A*S*H Goes to New Orleans (1975)
M*A*S*H Goes to Morocco (1975)
M*A*S*H Goes to London (1976)
M*A*S*H Goes to Miami (1976)
M*A*S*H Goes to San Francisco (1976)
M*A*S*H Goes to Hollywood (1976)
M*A*S*H Goes to Vienna (1976)
M*A*S*H Goes to Las Vegas (1976)
M*A*S*H Goes to Montreal (1977)
M*A*S*H Goes to Texas (1977)
M*A*S*H Goes to Moscow (1978)
Written under pseudonym of Eden Hughes
Leroy and the Wolves (1980)
The Wiltons (1980)
The Slelkerks (1982)
Written under pseudonym of Webb Beech
No French Leave (1960)
Article 92: Murder-Rape (1965)
Warrior's Way (1965)
Make War in Madness (1966)
Written under pseudonym of Walker E. Blake
The Loved and the Lost (1962)
Once More With Passion (1964)
Doing What Comes Naturally (1965)
Written under pseudonym of James McM. Douglas
Hunger For Racing (1967)
A Long Ride on a Cycle (1969)
Racing to Glory (1969)
The Twelve-cylinder Screamer (1970)
Drag Race Driver (1971)
Written under pseudonym of Edmund O. Scholefield
Tiger Rookie (1966)
Bryan's Dog (1967)
L'il Wildcat (1967)
Maverick on the Mound (1968)
Yankee Boy (1971)
Written under pseudonym of Patrick J. Williams
Fastest Funny Car (1967)
Grad Prix Racing (1968)
The Green Ghost (1969)
Racing Mechanic (1969)
Up to the Quarterback (1969)