Interview with Eileen A. Bjorkman, Author of Unforgotten in the Gulf of Tonkin: A Story of the U.S. Military’s Commitment to Leave No One Behind


Today’s interview is with Eileen A. Bjorkman, author of Unforgotten in the Golf of Tonkin: A Story of the U.S. Military’s Commitment to Leave No One Behind.

Please enjoy!


Vincent Lowry


1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
Eileen A. Bjorkman, I split my time between Washington State and California. If you can only put one state, please put Washington!

2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
Unforgotten in the Gulf of Tonkin: A Story of the U.S. Military’s Commitment to Leave No One Behind. It’s a narrative nonfiction book in the categories of military history and biography

3) What is the book about? 
The book is about the thrilling rescue of a Navy pilot whose aircraft was hit over North Vietnam. It also weaves in a short history of combat search and rescue, along with the continued search for the 80,000+ Americans still missing in action from previous wars.

4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I was working on a magazine article about a Navy plane, the F-8, which I tripped over a YouTube video that provided a thumbnail sketch of the pilot’s ejection and rescue. Planning to write an additional article about the rescue, I tracked down the pilot. But it was too much material for an article and it turned into a book.

5) How long did it take you to write it?
From idea to turning in the manuscript was four years. The bulk of the actual research and writing once I had a contract was about a year.

6) Did you learn anything from the project?
Yes, I learned a lot about the history of combat search and rescue, and also the POW/MIA movement that began in the US in the late 1960s. I was aware of that movement since I was in high school at the time and some of my classmates had fathers who were POWs or MIA, but I didn’t really appreciate the full history until doing my research. 

7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
My author website is at
My book video is at

8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? 
Get your writing out there! I started out with some freelance articles that gave me credibility when I went to pitch my first book to an academic press. That first book and my articles help me land an agent and then publisher for this book. And be persistent! I had a lot of rejection letters before I got my first publisher and then my agent. 

9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I read mostly nonfiction, although I do like a good detective novel or mystery at times. I am open to reading new authors and reviewing their work.

10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
This is a tough question because I like so many books for different reasons. But if the number of times I have read a book is an indication of favoritism, it would have to be Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air.” The book is so gripping that it’s hard to put down. I’ve done a lot of hiking, but I’m fascinated by the tales of mountain climbers. His writing style inspires me as well.

11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind? I have one cat, a black and white tuxedo.

12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it? I don’t own an electronic reading device, but I have the nook and kindle apps on my iPad mini. That works better for me since I travel a lot (although that has slowed down with the pandemic). I like the portable aspect of the iPad and it’s also great for books I’m using for research since the ebook version is usually less expensive. But overall, I prefer print copies of books because I like to take marginal notes, skim certain topics, and move back and forth at will (which I commonly do with nonfiction books).


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