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. Most of his sea-going experience was in the North Atlantic and include 2 trips to the Arctic.
His assignments included buoy tending, search and rescue missions, drug and fisheries law enforcement, and oceanographic operations. 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.
His current project is a book for Osprey Publishing: Forgotten Sacrifice, The Arctic Convoys in World War II. Forgotten Sacrifice captures for the first time the true essence of these convoys and serves it to the reader in a book seemingly made from crystalline Arctic Sea ice yet actually composed of Allied and Soviets survivors’ memories and, sometimes, memories left behind by those who didn’t survive.
It be in book stores on August 21, but is available now for pre-release purchase through amazon.com, Random House, and other outlets.
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).
Moving from naval to aviation history, In the Event of a Water Landing, tells for the first time the full stories of the Bermuda Sky Queen and Sovereign of the Skies rescues, the only two completely successful open ocean ditchings in Commercial Aviation history. These two stories encompass many facets of ditchings: bad weather, engine failure, horrific sea conditions, and indomitable courage in the face of death. Between these two are tales of other ditchings, as well as the journey we humans have undertaken from the beginning of transoceanic flight to today.
Mike’s first novel Choke Points (Cutter Publishing, 2009) addresses the real threats to Maritime and Port Security. It’s the first of a ten book Fletcher Saga series spanning 250 years.
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 different venue, Mike has produced a new version of the old song I’d Like to Find the Guy Who Named the Coast Guard originally written and recorded by Paul Yacich and the Coast Guard Band in 1945. The music has been lost, but working with Alison Freemen, this wonderfully humorous tune has been given a new lease on life and updated with three verses reflecting today’s Coast Guard global missions.
He is a contributing author to the US Naval Institute’s Naval History Magazine as well as regularly posting articles on Authors Den (www.authorsden.com).
Mike has spent more than 50 years collecting stories from veterans from World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, and Iraq as well as of 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; St. Petersburg, Arkhangelsk, and Murmansk, Russian, and New Orleans.
He can be reached through his web site: www.mikewalling.com.