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William P. Mack

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Vice Admiral William Paden Mack, USN (ret.) was born in Hillsboro, Illinois the son of Commander A. R. Mack, USN (ret.). He graduated from the United States Naval Academy and commissioned Ensign in the U. S. Navy on June 3, 1937.  He retired from active service in January 1969, having attained the rank of Vice Admiral.


In June 1937, Vice Admiral William Paden Mack was assigned to the USS IDAHO (BB-42). In December 1939, he joined the USS JOHN D. FORD (DD-228), and was serving as Gunnery Officer at the outbreak of World War II. The JOHN D. FORD was awarded the Presidential Unit citation and the Army distinguished Unit Citation for service during the Java Campaign. From October 1942 until November 1943 he served as Aide and Flag Lieutenant to the Commander Amphibious Force, Pacific, attached to the USS PENNSYLVANIA.


 He assisted in fitting out the USS PRESTON (DD-795), and served as her Executive Officer from her commissioning in March 1944 until October of that year with the latter months of that period participating in Pacific Operations. In October 1944, he assumed command of the USS WOODWORTH (DD-460), and remained in command of that destroyer throughout the last months of hostilities and until April 1946.


Between 1946 and 1959 Vice Admiral William Paden Mack held continually increasing assignments of responsibility in both staff and command capacities.  On April 2, 1959 he was named Naval Aide to the Secretary of the Navy and served in that capacity until April 1961, when he became Commander Destroyer Squadron twenty-eight. In June 1962 he was assigned to the Office of the Special Assistant for Counterinsurgency, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, DC., and on August 19, 1963 reported to the Office of Information, Navy Department, assuming the duties of Chief of Information.


Vice Admiral William Paden Mack returned to a command position when in May of 1966 he assumed command of Amphibious Group Two.  In January 1969, he was promoted to Vice Admiral.  In 1971, he assumed his final command as the Superintended of the United States Naval Academy.


Vice Admiral William P. Mack, USN (ret.) is the author of South to Java: A Novel; Captain Kilburnie; Kommodore Kilburnie; New Guinea; Checkfire!; Pursuit of the Seawolf; Lieutenant Christopher; Christopher and the Quasi-War With France: A Novel of the Sea; Christopher in the War of 1812; Normandy; Straits of Messinal; and, A Murder at Sea.  He is the co-author of Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions; Command at Sea; and, The Naval Officer's Guide (Eleventh Edition).


According to a reader of Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions, “This book is clearly intended as a manual for naval officers. I don't doubt that it would come in useful. It's a true treasure trove of information concerning US Navy custom and traditions. But the best part is the fact that it goes extensively into the backgrounds of many of the traditions and customs the Navy is steeped in. It is a scholarly book on history as much as it is about custom and tradition. As a person who's not in the navy and just has an interest in it's history, this book was extremely entertaining and informative. If you're interested in such things, this book is defiantly worth a look.”


According to a reader of Command at Sea, “A text for naval officers, with chapters on taking command, commissioning a ship or submarine, organization and administration of the command, and roles of various officers. Other subjects include maintenance and logistics, safety, training and inspections, independent operations, and forward operations and combat philosophy. Includes a glossary, and appendices of sample plans and orders. This edition incorporates changes in the field since 1982, and discusses lessons learned from the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, and Haiti.”


According to a reader of The Naval Officer's Guide (Eleventh Edition), “The book is well-written, easy to follow, and up-to-date. True to its name, this book is a great guide for any current or future officer in the US Navy and does not stray from its intended purpose, which includes providing guidance on customs and courtesies, pay and allowances, duties and responsibilities, and other key subjects relevant to Naval officers.”


According to a reader of South to Java, it “is the story of the US and allied navies which were tasked with the defense of the Philippines and Dutch East Indies at the outset of World War II. It is the story of the crew of the destroyer O'LEARY and their lives in the Far East. Admiral Mack was a participant as a young Naval officer in this campaign and I have no doubt much of what he writes is based on his experiences. The characters of the crew are excellent and true to life. Some remind me of men I've served with in my career. One of the chiefs is hated by all of the crew, yet he comes through in a crunch and helps prevent the ship from sinking after a battle. Other chiefs are much more humane but equally competent. This is an exceptional book and one that you won't put down. It is one that I have read any number of times and find it just as good a read now as when I first read it. Anyone with an interest in the real navy should read this.”


According to a reader of Captain Kilburnie, “William Mack turns his attention and considerable talent to the adventure and romance of the Age of Sail. This enchanting story charts the glorious rise through the ranks of Nelson's navy by Fergus Kilburnie, one of the first Scotsmen to serve as an officer. With the bold pluck of a natural-born leader, an innate affinity for the sea, and not a little help from friends in high places, the intrepid Kilburnie escapes one predicament after another to earn in just a few years a captain's stripes and the plum of the fleet, a three-masted frigate to fight France and Spain for command of the seas. In addition to French and Spanish foes, Kilburnie battles dangerous and unpredictable seas, envious crewmen, jealous fellow officers, and his own powder-keg emotions. He rises time after time to meet his many challenges and find his way into the reader's soul. By dint of his dauntless heroism, matchless leadership, and struggles with moral courage, Kilburnie takes his place next to other unforgettable characters in the literature of the period.”


Publisher’s Weekly said of Lieutenant Christopher, “Eighteen-year-old Matthew Christopher leaves his father's Annapolis shipyard for a warship in this straightforward historical sea adventure from Vice-Admiral (Ret.) Mack (South to Java). Christopher's swashbuckling days begin in 1775 under the command of Captain Nicholas Biddle of the Continental Navy, but he soon comes to the attention of John Paul Jones and serves as his aide on the frigate Ranger. After a brief, happy retirement with his new wife and baby son, Christopher fights alongside Jones again, this time aboard the Bonhomme Richard (where he gets to hear Jones announce "I have not yet begun to fight"). Despite anachronistic, wooden dialogue (the Christophers' marriage is a bland model of 1990s egalitarianism) and a surprising lack of general historical knowledge (his colonials read Dickens), Mack writes descriptions of shipbuilding and sea battles just vibrant enough to please maritime-adventure junkies.”

Command at Sea
James Stavridis  More Info

The Naval Officer's Guide Eleventh Edition
William P. MacK  More Info

Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions, Sixth Edition
Royal W. Connell  More Info

South to Java
William P. MacK  More Info

Commodore Kilburnie: A Novel
William P. MacK  More Info

Lieutenant Christopher
William P. MacK  More Info

Fergus Kilburnie
William P. Mack  More Info

Kapitšn Kilburnie
William P. Mack  More Info

Captain Kilburnie: An Age-Of Sail Novel of Triumph over Adversity in Nelson's Navy
William P. MacK  More Info

Kommodore Kilburnie
William P. Mack  More Info

Christopher and the Quasi-War With France: A Novel of the Sea
William P. MacK  More Info
Normandy (Destroyer Series/William P. Mack)
William P. Mack  More Info
Straits of Messina
Vice Admiral William P. Mack  More Info
New Guinea
William P. MacK  More Info
William P. MacK  More Info
Pursuit of the Seawolf
William P. MacK  More Info

According to a reader of New Guinea, it “is the story of Naval operations to support Army operations in the Southwest Pacific Area. This Naval force is dwarfed by Admiral Spruance's fast carriers and the assaults in the Central Pacific. It is the story of destroyers and modified landing craft operating the in same roll as cruisers and battleships in the Central Pacific. It is well written with a lively style that gives me at least, a you are there feeling.”


Library Journal said of Pursuit of the Seawolf, “To experience modern naval life to its fullest, one should serve on a destroyer; this fact is attested to both by this reviewer's own experience and Mack's follow-up novel to South to Java (Nautical & Aviation Pub., 1987). Mack (Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy, Ret.) provides an up close and personal tale of the Battle for the Atlantic (1940-44) aboard the aging, flush-deck, four-stack destroyer U.S.S. O'Leary . Using central character Executive Officer Lieutenant Alden Sorenson and supporting characters, both officers and enlisted, Mack effectively transports readers back to this crucial battle when Britain and Russia's survival depended upon men and ships such as those depicted with fascinating detail here. General readers and sea fiction enthusiasts demanding technical detail with historic accuracy will read this novel in hopes of future Mack novels. Highly recommended.”

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