“This is the story of a Mexican-American boy whose parents pursued the dream of a better life for themselves and their children in the United States—a dream that Frank realized to the fullest through a life of service to his country in uniform.” Those are the words of U.S. Sen. John McCain in the Foreword to John Frank Gamboa’s El Capitan: The Making of an American Naval Officer (Fortis, 439 pp., $31.95).
McCain and Gamboa met in 1954 during their plebe year at the U.S. Naval Academy when they were roommates. Gamboa, who grew up in California, was among the first twenty Mexican-Americans to graduate from the Academy. He went on to a thirty-year Navy career as a Surface Warrior Officer, retiring as a Captain in 1988.
Gamboa tells his life story in detail in this well-written memoir. The author’s website is http://frankgamboa.com