Just barely old enough, Bill McGee joined the US Navy Armed Guard to protect the critical supply lines during World War II. His 'Kid's Cruise', as they were called, threw him in the middle of air attacks at Guadalcanal, torpedoings in the South Pacific, carried him through the war in the Western Pacific and ended at Operation Crossroads, the atomic bomb tests at Bikini. Along the way he experienced the ups and downs of Navy life - boot camp in Idaho, Armed Guard school, life on a merchant ship, duty in the battle fleet, at least one girl in every port, and drills, drills and more drills. 'Bluejacket Odyssey' is the story of a generation of Armed Guard, seen through the eyes of a young volunteer. Combining interviews with shipmates, records from the National Archives and exhaustive research, McGee has produced an engrossing book that has the inimitable mark of one who was there. He tells an honest story, taking the reader for a ride through war zones on Liberty ships, Victory ships, and a cruiser - the USS Fall River.
From Japanese Zeros, nuclear tests and South Sea native customs to marathon poker games, 'Bluejacket Odyssey' is a close-up view of a defining period in our nation's history.
William L. McGee, after his WWII "Kid's Cruise," attended Montana State College and had a long and successful career in broadcasting. He now lives in St. Helena, California.