Submitted by: Edward Rowny

Category: Books

Smokey Joe & the General
By Former Ambassador and retired Lieutenant General
Edward L. Rowny

Rich with historical facts and fascinating photos, Smokey Joe & the General is a combination of his autobiography and the biography of his first Army boss, John Elliott Wood.

Smokey Joe was the best trainer and innovator in the Army. Many of his training techniques and “out of the box” ideas were widely adopted as Army doctrine. When Rowny passed an initiation test considered impossible Wood promoted Rowny considerably ahead of his West Point classmates. For the next two decades General Wood closely managed Rowny’s career seeing to it that Rowny received plum assignments and became the first Army officer in his class to be promoted to the general officer rank.

Rowny writes about his training under Colonel Wood prior to World War II and his service under him in Liberia. During WWII he fought in seven campaigns in Italy as a commander of Engineer and Infantry Battalions. Rowny served as General Douglas MacArthur’s official spokesman in Korea and was one of the planners of the spectacularly successful Inchon invasion and built the bridge across the Han for President Syngman Rhee’s triumphant reentry into Seoul. He subsequently dropped and air bridge at Chosin Reservoir to rescue soldiers and Marines surrounded by the Chinese, permitting their successful escape. He was in charge of the evacuation of Hungnam and assisted in operation “Christmas Cargo” which rescued 100,000 Koreans.

Rowny led the Advanced Concept Team in Vietnam (ACTIV) which introduced armed helicopters in combat. Armed helicopters later played decisive roles in the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan.

After serving six years as military representative to the Strategic Arms limitations treaty negotiations, Rowny resigned in protest over President Carter’s signing the unequal and unverifiable SALT II Treaty. During President Reagan’s first term he was Chief Negotiator of the START Treaty. During the President’s second term he was Special Adviser to the president for Arms Control. President Reagan awarded Rowny the President’s Citizen’s Medal citing him as one of the chief architects of Peace through Strength.

Throughout these periods of service Rowny continued to be inspired by Wood’s far reaching ideas and his examples of physical and moral courage. Together they rate the three top Generals Rowny worked for: Marshall, MacArthur and Eisenhower.

The book is a fascinating account of the profound influence Wood had in shaping General Rowny’s military and civilian careers spanning half a century.

About the author:

Former Ambassador and Lt. General U.S. Army (retired) Edward Rowny was born on April 3,1917. In June 1937 he received a bachelor of sciences degree and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Reserves. Determined to increase his military professionalism he entered West Point on July 1, 1937 where he became a member of the class of 1941. He fought in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. During his civilian career he served as strategic arms adviser, chief negotiator and roving Ambassador.

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