LUCKY THIRTEEN: D-Days in the Pacific with the U.S. Coast Guard in World War II

by Ken Wiley

Book cover for LUCKY THIRTEEN: D-Days in the Pacific with the U.S. Coast Guard in World War II

Winner of the 2008 Foundation for Coast Guard History Book AwardThe images of soldiers and marines coming ashore on hostile shores are embedded in our collective memory of World War II. But what of the sailors who manned the landing craft, going back and forth under fire with nowhere to take cover, their craft the special targets of enemy gunners.?

In this book, Ken Wiley, a Coast Guardsman on an Attack Transport in the Pacific, relates the intricate, often nerve wracking story of how the United States projected its power across 6,000 miles in the teeth of fanatical Japanese resistance. Each invasion was a swirl of moving parts, from frogmen to fire support, transport mother ships to Attack Transports, the smaller Higgins boats (LCVPs), and during the last terrifying stage the courageous men who would storm the beaches.

The author participated in the campaigns for the Marshall Islands, the Marianas the Philippines and Okinawa, and with a precise eye for detail relates numerous aspects of landing craft operations, such as ferrying wounded, that are often discounted. He conveys the terror and horrors of war, as well as, on occasion, the thrill, while not neglecting the humor and camaraderie of wartime life.

An exciting book, full of harrowing combat action, Lucky Thirteen also provides a valuable service in expanding our knowledge of exactly how World War II's massive amphibious operations were undertaken


"... A personable and engaging tale of World War II from an oft-overlooked point of view." 4/2007

".. It's quite a different view of the war, interesting and well worth reading. And keep in mind that the kid who got his parents permission to go into the Coast Guard was only 17. Within a very few years, he was a full fledged man, still too young to drink or vote, but a man."Books On Line 4-18-07

"The author knows whereof he speaks.As a coastguard LCVP coxswain, he served in amphibious assaults from the Marshalls and Marinas, to the Philipines and Okinawa. His tale cogently imparts both fear and certain dark humor of war."Proceedings 06/2007

"For unknown reasons, there are virtually no first person books by or about US Coast Guard coxswains in World War II. Ken Wiley corrects that oversight with LUCKY THIRTEEN, a book to be treasured."WWII History Magazine, 09/2007

"...provides a valuable service in expanding our knowledge of exactly how World War II's massive amphibious operations were undertaken."The U.S. Coast Guard Reservist 05/2007

"...This very-well written and organized account of D-Days in the Pacific with the US Coast Guard should appeal to both scholars and the general public and should be in every library of every World War II and Coast Guard historian."Journal of Military History 11/2007

" engaging, honest account of boys becoming men in a dangerous and utterly unpredictable environment." Military History of the West 01/2008

" ideal book for the younger generation, veterans, recruits, and Officer Candidates. Lucky Thirteen is highly recommended"Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 04/2008

"...well written and illustrated with photographs and excellent drawings of life aboard ship by one of the shipmates." The Hook, Winter 2010

"...a well-written and equally well-illustrated memoir of life aboard an LST during World War II, a role the Coast Guard played which is often overlooked by history texts today... unprecedented contribution to the field of Coast Guard History..."Foundation for Coast Guard History, 09/2008

"...fills the gaps of the Coast Guard's significant and important role during World War II and the officers and men of the Coast Guard's contribution to victory in the Pacific."Steamboat Historical Society, Fall 2008

",,, an engrossing account of the island hopping Pacific War as seen through the eyes of the young commander..." Warships International, 06/2010

This book is part of: