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John Gobbell – Southern California


Road to Greatness

John G. Gobbell, USC ’60, published his 7th novel, Dead Man Launch, sixth in a standalone series of historical thrillers about the U.S. Navy during various wars and conflicts in the twentieth century.

Upon graduating from the University of Southern California in 1960, Brother Gobbell was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy. He served as a deck and ASW officer aboard the USS Tingey (DD 539), a revered Fletcher-class destroyer and battle of Leyte Gulf veteran. He did a WESTPAC cruise and fought the battle of YANKEE STATION forming a protective destroyer screen around the carrier USS Hancock (CVA 19) in the South China Sea.

Most of John’s career has been in executive recruiting. He was with KPMG Peat Marwick as a consultant for three years. And then for ten years, he was a Vice President Boyden Associates, Inc., a large New York City based international executive recruiting firm. He then founded THE GOBBELL COMPANY in Newport Beach, California where he worked on a retained basis with corporate clients to find senior executives. During a concentrated time of developing and presenting candidates for military aerospace clients, John became fascinated with advanced technology, weapon systems, and the executives who build them. Recently he was the Director of Development for the USC Catholic Center, located at the University of Southern California. There, he worked on a $35.0 million capital campaign to build a new Romanesque church and student center on campus. In civilian life, John sails in Southern California yacht racing regattas. In younger days he skippered in the Long Beach Yacht Club’s Congressional Cup, one of the most prestigious match-racing regattas featuring skippers from around the world, including America’s cup stand-outs. John and his wife, Janine, also a USC graduate, live in Orange County, California.

Currently, John is an historical fiction author and has been published by four of the nation’s top publishing houses. Gobbell’s historical thrillers about the U.S. Navy are award winning. Brother Gobbell’s comments at a 2015 awards ceremony, where his fifth novel, Edge of Valor, won the Gold recognition for Historical Fiction, reflect his personal motivation and commitment to historical fiction, “Hats off to the Military Writer’s Society of America…for keeping alive the military spirit of America’s men and women in uniform, past, present, and future, and for maintaining their customs, tradition, and accomplishments.”

Dead Man Launch (sixth in the Todd Ingram series) is set in 1968 when, in the North Pacific, Navy pilot Jerry Ingram is a sole witness to the sinking of the Soviet Union’s ballistic missile submarine, the K-129, and how subsequent finger pointing drags the world toward an out nuclear holocaust.

Excerpt from a recent book review by the Military Writers Society of America, “Dead Man Launch is set during the tumultuous period around the hijacking of the USS Pueblo in 1968. As the story unfolds, the world tips ever closer to all-out nuclear war. While the rest of the globe is focusing on the ongoing war in Vietnam, the U.S. and Soviet navies play a potentially lethal game of cat and mouse. That deadly match-up of naval forces—above, on, and under the surface of the Pacific—provides the main backdrop for this story. But the action isn’t restricted to naval activities on that ocean. The reader will also be transported to not-entirely-idyllic family life in southern Italy; desolate, snow-covered stretches of the former Soviet Union; a Turkish Black Sea port town, and a Mexican hacienda, to name just a few.”

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