Ric Murphy’s Rear Admiral Larry Chambers, USN: First African American to Command an Aircraft Carrier (McFarland & Company, Inc., 2017, 220 pp. $35, paper; $9.99, Kindle) tells the story of a poor African American boy who grew up in segregated America and through sheer determination and incisive decision-making advanced to the highest ranks of the United States Navy.
Murphy is an award-winning author and an avid genealogist and historian who specializes in African American history. Born in Boston into a family with lineage dating to the earliest colonial period in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Jamestown, Virginia, he lives and works in Washington, D.C.
Rear Admiral Larry Chambers, USN presents the powerful story of Larry Chambers’s climb to the top, as well as the sociopolitical and global and military history surrounding his life. Reading this book raised my level of admiration, respect, and gratitude for Adm. Chambers, his family, his mentors, and for the author for his impeccable book.
Thanks to Adm. Chambers’s widowed mother and his grandparents, his school administrators, teachers and his other role models, he received a solid and formidable foundation and went on to live his life and make decisions supported entirely by that foundation.
More than once during his military career, Adm. Chambers realized that a decision—while being the correct one—might result in his court-martial. But these instances resulted instead in commendations and promotions. Adm. Chambers’s dedication to his core beliefs and his devotion to protecting his men and assets far outweighed his desires to succeed.
The results of these decisive actions are legendary and a part of U.S. Navy history. His crowning achievement after being the first African American to captain a Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Midway, was his stellar, heroic participation in the 1975 evacuation of Saigon during the final hours of the Vietnam War.
Whether you’re into military, global, or social history—or you just enjoy a very good read—I highly recommend Rear Admiral Larry Chambers, USN be placed high on your reading bucket list.
The author’s website is ricmurphy.com/
— Bob Wartman