BOOK REVIEW by General William R. Richardson
Smokey Joe and the General
Smokey Joe and the General is a most interesting read of two career Army officers and their relationship over many years. Lieutenant General Edward L. Rowny, U. S. Army (Ret.), and a former ambassador, is the author of the book. Smokey Joe Wood is a mentor of his during Rowny's formative years in the Army. Colonel John E. Wood enters the picture shortly after Rowny's graduation from West Point in 1941 and remains closely associated with him until his death.
Colonel Wood was a very unusual trainer, an innovator in many respects, and he had a significant hand in training Rowny in his early years, using unique procedures that showed innovation and ultimate results. The two had a very close relationship, which Rowny maintained for years. The book takes these contacts and describes the views of the two regarding personalities, significant events, and the impact on the Army and the nation.
All during the years of Rowny's service he explains his role in many significant events during World War 11, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and later when he served as the Military Representative to the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) Negotiations. His contacts with the principals, to include five presidents and the most senior military, namely, Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur, Norstad, and others provide a most interesting perspective of our nation's significant events over several decades. Rowny himself has key roles in many of these wartime events, such as his role in the planning for the Inchon Landing in the Korean War and the employment of the air cavalry helicopter in the Vietnam War, where it made its name as a significant force multiplier.
The association of Lt. General Ed Rowny and Colonel Smokey Joe Wood, later a Brigadier General, is a relationship with deep significance for both these soldiers and their development over the years, especially in matters regarding leadership, training, and force development. The professional soldier will find much that will interest him throughout this book. It will also mark for him how two very unusual professional soldiers were not only a part of the Army's history but were examples of soldiers we would do well to emulate.
General William R. Richardson