Nine from Aberdeen
Author: Jeffrey M. Leatherwood
Date Of Publication: Jun 2013
In Tunisia with II Corps, Lt. John Randall locates a downed German plane and demolishes two live bombs still mounted on the wreckage … In Italy, Capt. Ronald Felton’s team contends with dreaded “Butterfly Bombs” left behind to menace the US 5th Army … Landing with the 6th US Special Engineers Brigade, Capt. Jesse Donovan’s squad braves deadly 88mm shells in pursuit of enemy rockets on Utah Beach … Serving with the 9th Army Air Force in France, Capt. Thomas Reece survives a close encounter with a German landmine … Capt. Joseph Pilcher joins in the 78th Infantry’s final assault on a dam guarding the approaches to Germany … Sweeping the 11th Airborne Division’s trail on Luzon, Lt. Carl Cirocco’s team is ambushed by the Japanese … Capt. Richard Metress is dispatched to tackle enemy depth charges for the 19th Infantry Regiment on Mandog Hill … Capt. Clifford Sarauw covers the US 10th Army’s fateful landing on Okinawa …
These aforementioned exploits are among the notable events contained in Nine from Aberdeen, the first academic history solely devoted to the US Army’s Ordnance Bomb Disposal Branch from World War II. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, nine US Army officers and sergeants were sent from Aberdeen Proving Ground to war-torn England in order to learn the invaluable technical skills pioneered by the British Royal Engineers. Led by the colorful Thomas J. Kane, these nine men inaugurated the new Ordnance Bomb Disposal School. Conceived initially for homeland defense, Col. Kane’s branch eventually fielded over two hundred Army and Air Force bomb squads for overseas service. These courageous officers and men were forerunners of today’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) specialists, responsible for supporting the US military during combat operations and for preserving the lives of noncombatants at all other times.
Using documents and photographs – many from personal collections – as well as oral interviews, this work presents a cross-section of US Army and Air Force operations spanning three major theaters: Mediterranean, European, and the Pacific. Special emphasis is given to the European Theater, where Col. Kane served as Gen. Eisenhower’s chief ETO bomb disposal officer. Nine from Aberdeen also contains charts detailing campaign participations, ordnance statistics, and other significant data. Command Sergeant Major James H. Clifford (Retired), military consultant for the award-winning film, The Hurt Locker, provides an afterword on the continuity of modern EOD.
Jeffrey M. Leatherwood holds a PhD in United States History from West Virginia University. Leatherwood is currently employed by WVU’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences as a full-time lecturer in History and the Humanities. The author is also an adjunct instructor for the American Military University, teaching a variety of undergraduate and graduate military history courses, including the Pacific Theater of World War II. Nine from Aberdeen is his first book.
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Sample pdf (including Table of Contents)