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First Light
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What starts as a journey to find the essence of his great, great grandfather becomes the author's journey to chronicle his own life and times. John Athanson's journey takes him through three decades of distinguished service to his country. We experience the thrill of his early days as a midshipman at the California Maritime Academy, as a naval officer aboard combat ships, and with a Beach Jumper Unit during the Vietnam War. Then we stand beside him as he commands the USS Schenectady during two deployments to the Far East and Indian Ocean. He takes us onto the bridge of his ships to witness the intensity of operations at sea, including difficult ship maneuvers, gunnery action, storm evasions, and an engine room fire. Later, we witness him as an international affairs specialist on sensitive assignments to Iran, Nicaragua, Hong Kong, and Italy. We share the excitement of his work, and travel with him to exotic backwater paradises, Shanghai's waterfront, Tibet's High Plateau, Tuscany's hilltop towns, and Germany's alpine mountains. He shares this poignant journey with his beloved wife, Ruth, and their three sons, David, Stephen, and Michael. It is an extraordinary adventure.
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About the Author

John Athanson is a veteran of twenty-eight years in the U.S. Navy, during which time he was awarded numerous medals for his achievements, including the Defense Superior Service Medal. He and his wife of forty-three years, Ruth, have three grown sons. They live in Virginia.

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