McGoldrick's Adventure Novels

Friday, March 03, 2006

Star Wars in the Pacific
By Thomas J. McGoldrick

This book is a fictionalized account of Life on Kwajalein with a heroine American girl whose grandmother was still in Vladivostok and who had been enticed to spy for the Russians with the promise of a better life for her grandmother. She was an attractive girl and had a number of suitors. Most of the account centers around the time when a black box from an incoming missile which had splashed down in the lagoon went missing. Oh, the splash in had been observed and triangulated and the dive teams went out. But, a storm came in and the divers had to leave the area. After the storm passed, the divers tried to find the black box to no avail. The Navy Seals were called in and they searched and searched and found nothing too. Maybe there was truth to the belief that the Russians had sneaked in from their ship constantly patrolling around the island while the storm was on going and their divers had found and retrieved the black box. The major news crews came and tried to elicit information for news accounts but even they couldn’t get the people on the island to talk. What was the truth? Read and learn more. And, don’t forget about the beach used by the Marshallese couples for private sexual encounters always vigilant for the coconut crabs.
There are fireworks and marriage at the end. The test of one missile shooting down another in the stratosphere and the two imploding actually worked. And, the heroine married the young Lt. who had won out over the other suitors.
Several of the teenage neighbor boys and girls got over their initial shyness and timidly started asking Marina questions. "Was she married? Had she finished college? Where was she working now? Did she have a fiancée or boyfriend? Could she sponsor them to come to the USA to go to school or to work? How long was she going to stay? Did she want to go sight seeing around the town? Did she want to go out and meet other Russian young women and men her age?"

Marina answered the questions, and said, "Yes, I would like to go sight seeing around town tomorrow morning." The girl sent shopping returned, and grandmother lit the gas burner to boil water for the coffee. The neighbors politely excused themselves and left to give Marina and her grandmother some time alone. Grandmother opened the package from her daughter and read the letter inside. She cried. She continued crying as she opened the other brightly wrapped small packages inside with the photographs, perfume, and new flower printed soft cotton underwear.

Grandmother said to Marina, "I am so lonely without my daughter, but, it was the best decision I ever made to send Sonja to the USA when the opportunity presented itself. I am so very happy and proud to see that, my daughter has such a fine daughter, my granddaughter, before I die." She gave Marina another hug and a kiss on the forehead and again another long hug. Marina felt grandmother tremble as she hugged Marina the second time. They ate the sparse meal of vegetables, fish, and bread in silence. For grandmother the dinner fare was better than she had been able to have for a long time and thanked her granddaughter for the food. Grandmother and granddaughter went to sleep early, both in the one double bed. It was cold but with the two of them together, Marina found it tolerable.

In the morning, after coffee, bread and butter and strawberry jam, two neighbor teenage girls knocked on the door and asked if she was ready to go sightseeing with them. Marina looked at grandmother who smiled, nodded, and said, "Yes, yes please go with them. They will show you some of the old town and the places where your mother grew up and went to school. I want you to see these things. I am too old and crippled to take you myself. Go now and have a good time. I will have hot coffee and a nice meal waiting when you return." Marina went off with the two teenage girls and the two boys to explore the town where her mother grew up.

The girls and boys took Marina all over the city to see the museums, the bridges, the municipal buildings, the schools, the graveyards, and the port. They traveled by bus and streetcar. Fares were nominal. Everywhere she went people stared at Marina. At first it bothered her, but after a while she just ignored the stares. Marina had tried to bring simple and not flashy clothes because she was a conservative girl, but the style and relative newness of her clothing attracted attention anyway. Marina remarked to her companions about the stares, and they told her to not bother about it, saying, the people were just admiring her clothes. The sight seeing continued at a rapid pace for three days until Marina thought she would drop with exhaustion. On the second day, Ivan, recently graduated from college and employed by the government, joined the group. As they walked, Ivan gave a continuous discourse about things to Marina. Marina found him to be very well informed about the city, politics, and international issues. He was a bit older, had more education and was more involved with things, than the teenage girls and boys in the group. Ivan was a spry and lively curly black haired youth with a sparkle in his black eyes and cheerfulness in his voice. Marina enjoyed being with him. He seemed to have friends everywhere they went. People continuously called out hello to him. On the third day, Ivan said, "Marina, do you want to help your grandmother, and the Russian people?"

Marina said, "Sure."


Marina went over to Kwajalein on Friday afternoon for a visit to the clinic and to dance in the Yokwe Yuk. Lt. Richard had persevered and had gone again to the Yokwe Yuk. He was extremely delighted when Marina walked in. He told her what had happened in the control room on the day the first launch was aborted and then on the second launch day when the mission was successful. He told her about the failure of the hard hat divers to find the nose cone and the fear the Americans had that the circling Russian ship had sent in one or more of their mini-subs with divers and had found and removed the nose cone and black box during the storm while the American divers were ordered back into safe harbor. Marina said, "Do you really think it possible that the Russians retrieved the nose cone with the black box?"

Lt. Richard said, "We don’t know but since it hasn''t been found, that''s a distinct possibility. Marina was thinking to herself that if the Russians had sent in their mini-sub and had successfully retrieved the nose cone and black box, she might be able to cease her spying activities. Stephen had told her that while on the beach watching the wind surfers last month. Marina was getting bored with the spy stuff. To her, the data was routine and without value and she disliked doing things which might result in her getting caught and having to explain why she had the items.

The search continued. The US media got wind of the event and started publishing questioning stories. "Why had the military lost the black box?" "Why had the military not had adequate security?" Fortunately, there was a political scandal in the US, which took over the front pages for a few days and the fickle media lost interest in the black box. The military asked the Navy for one team of Navy Seals. If the seals couldn’t find the black box, it wasn’t there.

Navy Seals flew in to Kwajalein on a C-141. It was full with their special gear. The military folks and contractors were happy. Jim, one of the civilian government employees for the military and a naval reserve officer, was assigned as point of contact. The black box would be recovered soon now. But, the weather was being fickle again. The Navy Seals dove anyway. They found the missile and started searching in grid patterns where the nose cone should be.

To buy this 348 page book book, Star Wars in the Pacific ISBN 1-4208-4297-8, visit then books and type in McGoldrick, Tom. Or go to at


  • I went to high school at kwajalein from 77 to 81 and my father was captain of the vessel that would recover the ICBM's when they landed mother was the Commander of kwajalein secretary from 77 to 83....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 1:29 AM  

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