Liberty Call

“Liberty Call” is a non-fiction book, written by Mark S. Haynes, formerly of the United States Navy. Liberty Call is written as a first person narrative of the author’s experiences while on his first deployment overseas aboard the USS Fox, CG-33.

Before the Persian Gulf war, the United States and Iraq were allies. Iraq, at the time, was involved in a war with Iran. Iran was attempting to disrupt the free flow of oil out of Kuwait, a small country at the northeastern tip of the Persian Gulf.

During the summer of 1987, Iraqi warplanes “accidentally” fired upon the USS Stark, one of our ships patrolling the Persian Gulf. Many lives were lost, and the United States suddenly found itself in a very difficult position. How to protect our interests in the region against not only our enemies, but our supposed allies as well.

One of the first things the US government and military did after the attack on the USS Stark was to dispatch the USS Acadia, a repair ship, to the small island country of Bahrain, located in the Persian Gulf. The Acadia’s mission was to effect repairs to the Stark, so she could make the journey home to the US.

But the Acadia is not a warship, and as such, carries no weapon systems. She could not enter the Gulf without escort. The USS Fox was assigned to escort the Acadia into the region. That was the beginning of a very long summer for the men aboard the Fox. I was one of those men. We would spend three hellish months in the Persian Gulf, take part in the escorting of Kuwaiti oil tankers, and sail through a watery minefield.

This book details the entire voyage, from San Diego to the Philippines, to the Persian Gulf, Diego Garcia, Australia, and back home again. It was written by referring to my personal journal kept during the deployment, and makes many references to news stories that were current at the time. It gives not only a factual and day by day account of the build-up of tension in the Persian Gulf, but gives a first hand account of life aboard a US warship and the liberty the men enjoyed while ashore.

The events in Liberty Call took place in 1987; the book was written in 1991 as a personal project. Only recently has self publication made Liberty Call available for purchase in Kindle and paperback versions, from Amazon and Barnes & Noble respectively. The Kindle version includes an active table of contents. Both include pictures and a 2012 afterward by the author.