Mike Guardia: Coyote Recon



ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Award-winning military historian, educator, and author Mike Guardia, discusses his new biography, “Coyote Recon: The Forgotten Wars of Colonel Jay D. Vanderpool.” Watch here in the YouTube podcast or download the player on PodBean.


December 7, 1941: Lieutenant Jay D. Vanderpool, a Field Artillery officer stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, awoke to the sights and sounds of the attack on Pearl Harbor. By the end of the day, he was among the handful of survivors digging trenches and emplacing howitzers along the beaches of Oahu, anticipating a Japanese invasion of the Hawaiian Islands. But this dastardly attack on Pearl Harbor wasn’t the first time Vanderpool had been in a high-stakes situation . . . nor would it be his last.

Jay Dee Vanderpool enlisted in the Army in 1936. A native of Oklahoma, he was orphaned by the age of 16, and joined the military to escape the “Dust Bowl” and the ongoing Great Depression. Assigned to the Hawaiian Department as an artilleryman, he achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant by 1940. Despite being a high school dropout, he was accepted into Officer Candidate Training and became a Field Artillery officer in April 1941.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he deployed to the Pacific, where he fought in the Battles of Guadalcanal and New Georgia before volunteering for a highly-classified “liaison” mission to the Allied guerrillas in the Philippines. Infiltrating the Philippine Islands by submarine, Jay Vanderpool made contact with the Allied guerrillas in southern Luzon, and coordinated their operations with the 11th Airborne Division, facilitating the raid on the infamous Los Baños Prison Camp.

After the war, Vanderpool remained on active duty, where he subsequently commanded the United Nations Partisan Forces Korea (UNPFK) during the Korean Conflict. These UN partisans (whose ranks included North Korean and Chinese defectors) conducted raids, tactical sabotage, and reconnaissance operations against high-value Communist targets. Throughout the 1950s, Vanderpool became a leading advocate for helicopter warfare. He envisioned using the helicopter as both a close air support weapon and as a mobile troop carrier—delivering troops to the battlefield in a manner similar to the airborne infantry. In this regard, he became a “founding father” of the US Army’s airmobile (air assault) warfare.

In a career that spanned more than thirty years, Jay D. Vanderpool proved himself to be a tough, resilient, and visionary leader. His legacy endures as a plank holder of American special operations and a “founding father” of modern helicopter warfare. Like the proverbial “coyotes” who stealthily run people across international borders, Jay Vanderpool earned his legacy by running Allied commandos behind enemy lines in North Korea and the Pacific.

Coyote Recon is his story.

Keep up with Mike Guardia and his books at www.MikeGuardia.com


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Keep up with Mike Guardia and his books at www.MikeGuardia.com

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