New Book Recounts Dramatic POW/MIA Story

On September 16, 2011, the nation will honor the more than 83,000 Americans who are missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War, as well as the countless American men and women who were captured as prisoners of war.

A new book, Left Alive to Die, tells the story of one such American: legendary naval aviator CAPT Harley Hall. Flying a crucial mission hours before the 1973 Vietnam War cease-fire, CAPT Hall was shot down above the Cua Viet River. Hall’s wingman and other squadron members watched while he safely parachuted to the ground. They were unaware that was the last time they would see or hear from Hall again.

At age 32 Hall was the youngest person in the Navy at that time with the rank of commander. In 1969 he achieved his lifelong dream as he became commanding officer of the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy Precision Demonstration squadron. Not only was he an outstanding military officer, Hall was also a dedicated husband and father, an inspirational leader, a loving friend and a man of faith.

Left Alive to Die is written by Susan Keen, the wife of Jack Keen, M.D., LCDR, the U.S. Navy flight surgeon responsible for providing care to CAPT Hall’s Blue Angels team and the families. The book is a dramatic retelling of the romance of Mary Lou Marino and Hall, their marriage and life together and the tragedy of Hall’s disappearance. Readers will be captivated by details of Hall’s Navy experience, Mary Lou’s courageous life as a military wife and her years of searching for answers about Hall’s whereabouts.

In many ways Hall is a symbol of numerous Americans who may have been left alive in Vietnam as their government, according to this book, turned its back on them and left them in captivity. Mary Lou’s frustration over the lack of help is evident as the author describes Mary Lou’s efforts to persuade the government to pay attention to what she believed was overwhelming evidence that many men and women were still POW’s long after the formal war ended.

Susan Keen  is a mother of two, teacher, reader and world traveler. A native of Mississippi, she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mississippi College, Clinton, MS. She has written and published two cookbooks, was an interior designer, is a graduate of several French cooking schools and is a gourmet cook. She and her husband, Jack Keen, M.D., live in Fort Worth and are active members of Travis Avenue Baptist Church.

Read more about the book here.

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