Smokey Joe and the General
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Smokey Joe & the General
by Former Ambassador and retired Lieutenant General Edward L. Rowny
October, 2013
376 pages
Rich with historical facts and fascinating photos, "Smokey Joe & the General" is a combination of his autobiography and the biography of his first Army boss, John Elliott Wood.

Smokey Joe was the best trainer and innovator in the Army. Many of his training techniques and “out of the box” ideas were widely adopted as doctrine. When Rowny passed an initiation test considered impossible Wood promoted Rowny considerably ahead of his West Point classmates. For the next two decades General Wood closely managed Rowny’s career seeing to it that Rowny received plum assignments and became the first Army officer in his class to be promoted to the general officer rank.

Rowny writes about his training under Colonel Wood prior to World War II and his service under him in Liberia and combat in Italy during the war. Rowny tells the story of his service in Korea where he served as General Douglas MacArthur’s official spokesman and was one of the planners of the spectacularly successful invasion of Inchon. Rowny built the bridge across the Han for President Syngman Rhee’s triumphant reentry into Seoul. He subsequently dropped an air bridgeto rescue soldiers and Marines surrounded by the Chinese, permitting their successful escape. He was in charge of the evacuation of Hungnam and assisted in operation “Christmas Cargo” which rescued 100,000 Koreans.

Rowny led the Advanced Concept Team in Vietnam (ACTIV) to develop new techniques of using armed helicopters in combat. The armed helicopter later played decisive roles in the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan.

After serving six years as military representative to the Strategic Arms limitations treaty negotiations, Rowny resigned in protest over President Carter’s signing the unequal and unverifiable SALT II Treaty. During President Reagan’s first term Rowny was Chief Negotiator of the START Treaty. During the President’s second term he was Special Adviser to the president for Arms Control. President Reagan awarded Rowny the President’s Citizen’s Medal citing him as one of the chief architects of Peace through Strength.

Throughout these periods of service Rowny continued to be inspired by Wood’s far reaching ideas and his examples of physical and moral courage.

The book is a fascinating account of the profound influence Wood had in shaping General Rowny’s military and civilian careers spanning half a century.