military books by servicemembers.




Raymond S. Kopp

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Raymond S. Kopp “was born in the small town of Starrucca, Pennsylvania on September 19, 1951. He joined the Navy upon graduation from high school and his four years of service took him to many places, including Vietnam. Ray left the Navy in September of 1973 and later returned to Navy Reserve duty from 1978 to 1980. He has enjoyed many occupational endeavors, including working as a technical specialist and designer in the aerospace industry, an N/C machinist, a sailing instructor and a skiing instructor.” Raymond S. Kopp is the author of Thunder in the Night: A Sailor's Perspective on Vietnam.

According to the book description of Thunder in the Night: A Sailor's Perspective on Vietnam, “When May 1972 came around, the war in Vietnam was supposed to be winding down. But for a the crews of Task Unit 77.1.2 it was just starting. Steaming into heavily defended North Vietnamese waters the sailors and marines experienced war as they never thought possible. They engaged their foes with crushing, hit and run tactics that helped stem the flow of men and materiel needed for the Communist takeover of South Vietnam. In raid after raid the artillery firefights that ensued showed their adversaries to be well-trained and equipped forces intent on defending the military complexes of the Hanoi and Haiphong region. As time trudged on they found themselves constant targets of enemy fire and inner-psychological warfare.”

Charlie Hurd said of Thunder in the Night: A Sailor's Perspective on Vietnam, “The following will serve as my review. It is taken from my written communication with the author, Raymond S. Kopp: "As Second Division Officer so many years ago (1967), one of my responsibilities aboard Thunder included the 8" guns and ammo as well as the men who manned the turrets and magazines. Your description in Chapter 20, "Chaos and Calm" and in Chapter 21, "The Dead and the Demoralized" which describes in detail your personal memories of the explosion in Turret No. 2 which killed 20 shipmates shook me to the bone. Although I had left NN 4 years prior to the accident, I knew only in brief terms what had transpired. Your well written account gave me, for the first time in all these years, the opportunity to read in detail about what actually happened. What a horrible experience you lived through but were able to write about!

As a result of that accident, the names of the NN dead are now engraved on the Vietnam memorial wall (dedicated to USN and USCG killed) which was recently completed and is located next to COMNAVSURFPAC HQs, U.S. Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, CA. Due to my present San Diego navy ship repair related work, I have visited the memorial on several occasions and have read the names of the Newport News souls who died aboard our ship on that fateful day in 1972.

I have recommended your book to both ex-navy and civilian friends as well as to members of my family. I realize your writing the book was mentally tough and I can personally ID with the nightmares you experienced after leaving Newport News and the navy. You have written a fine book which, I believe, will be remembered as an important historical account of the naval battles in which the Newport News was engaged. I state with sincerity.......well done!”

One reader of Thunder in the Night: A Sailor's Perspective on Vietnam said, “Until I read this book, I had no idea that Vietnam era sailors participated in this type up close action with the enemy. Great book, well written, entertaining and informative. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about naval operations in Vietnam and the emotions of the sailors who experienced these battles.”


One reader of Thunder in the Night: A Sailor's Perspective on Vietnam said, “As a shipmate of the Author I found Ray Kopp's book Thunder in the Night, A Sailor's Perspective on Vietnam to be absolutely riveting. It brought back vivid memories of my Vietnam experiences. Kudos to Ray for telling our story. He writes with an obvious passion for the subject and his accounts of his personal emotions and experiences are heart warming and brutally honest. This book is a must read for all sailors that are members of the Tonkin Golf Yacht Club!”

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