Historian and author Edward J. Marolda, Ph.D presented “Admirals Under Fire: U.S. Naval Leaders and the Vietnam War” on December 6, 2017 at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. This is part of a lecture series on the Vietnam War hosted by the Museum, the National Archives and Records Administration, and Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation.
Marolda served as a company-grade officer in the United States Army’s 4th Transportation Command in the Republic of Vietnam during 1969 and 1970. He received his BA in History from the Pennsylvania Military College in 1967, his MA in European Diplomatic History from Georgetown University in 1971, and his Ph.D. in U.S. History from George Washington University in 1990. He has had renowned career at the Naval Historical Center starting as a staff historian in 1971, Head of the Contemporary History Branch, Senior Historian, and concluding his service in 2008 as Acting Director of Naval History.
He has authored, coauthored, or edited nine works on the U.S. Navy’s experience in Vietnam: The U.S. Navy in the Vietnam War: An Illustrated History; By Sea, Air, and Land: An Illustrated History of the United States Navy and the War in Southeast Asia; FDR and the U.S. Navy; Operation End Sweep: A History of Minesweeping Operations in North Vietnam; From Military Assistance to Combat, 1959-1965, Vol. II in series, The United States Navy and the Vietnam Conflict; Carrier Operations, Vol. IV in series, The Illustrated History of the Vietnam War; and, The Washington Navy Yard: An Illustrated History.
“Admirals Under Fire” focuses on four U.S. Naval officers that were instrumental in the evolution of the Vietnam War, how it started, and its conclusion. The four officers were: Admiral Harry Felt, Chief of Pacific Command from 1958-1964; Admiral Ulysses S. Grant Sharp Jr., Commander in Chief of U.S. Pacific Fleet 1963-1964 and Commander in Chief of U.S. Pacific Command 1964-1968; Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, Commander of the U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet and Pacific Fleet, Chief of Naval Operations from 1967-1970 and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1970-1974; and Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., Commander of U.S. naval Forces in Vietnam and Chief of Naval Operations from 1970-1974.
Marolda also discusses the relationship between the U.S. Naval officers and civilian leaders during the Vietnam War. He also highlights the various military strategic frameworks that dictated US Armed Forces operations in Vietnam, which changed with factors including new Presidential Administrations and new military leaders.