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The U.S. Navy's On-the-Roof Gang: Volume 2 - War in the Pacific

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The true story of the men of U.S. Navy’s secret radio service – the On-the-Roof Gang – after the attack on Pearl Harbor to the war's end.

Before even starting page one, the reader knows the history, the big picture of World War II, the War in the Pacific, and, most specifically, about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Some may even be familiar with the stories of American prisoners of war by the Japanese. Others may have gleaned their understanding of these events from Hollywood films. Others may have heard stories from elderly family members that served during that time and experienced it firsthand. But for most, that knowledge is a leftover from a history class or two and, unless you were very, very lucky, those classes were about as interesting as watching paint dry. Author Matt Zullo has crafted a remarkable fictionalized history based on extensive academic research as well as detailed information straight from the mouths of the men that lived it. This story literally came alive.


After reading the superb first volume (The U.S. Navy’s On-the-Roof Gang: Volume One – Prelude to War), I felt like I already knew many of the individuals portrayed in this continuation of the story. And even though I knew what was coming, historically-speaking, it was still an absorbing experience reading about how known events happened and how these men stepped up and played their part in the action. Many of the events were achingly tragic or shocking, and I was utterly invested in their outcome, and in what happened to the men I’d come to know. It was sobering to realize that these men were never able to tell their families what they did during the war because it was all classified and remained classified for decades afterward.


One of the things that surprised me in this and the previous volume was how vast the naval radio operations were at that time and how much broader they had yet to become by the end of the book. There is a helpful list in an appendix showing where all the stations were located and their operational dates. Some are, of course, in very exotic locations, but I was surprised to find there was one in my own state of Texas, in a place I’ve even visited (and now will again with a different goal.)


The role of the On-The-Roof Gang was shrouded in secrecy for so long, and I am grateful to this author for writing this book about them and their accomplishments. I am honestly amazed that he could do so in such an easy-to-read but page-turner of a book.


Start with Volume One to get the background information, and then jump on Volume Two as soon as you can. If you’re a World War II history buff or have an interest in the history of the war in the Pacific, or are a ham radio/radio enthusiast, this book and its preceding volume are MUST READS. 

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I love to read and hook up others with books that they might enjoy. I like genre fiction with a weakness for cozies, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and westerns. My professional background is in law enforcement, fire, water, and environmental education. I have basset hounds and ham radio is a hobby.

Chaos at Heeia

About the author

Matt Zullo is a retired US Navy Master Chief Petty Officer who has more than 35 years experience in Communications Intelligence. He holds a Master’s degree in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University, where he researched and wrote his master’s thesis on the On-the-Roof Gang. view profile

Published on October 13, 2020

100000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Action & Adventure

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