Local man’s book details military career

Published 5:21 pm Friday, April 9, 2021

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If you like firsthand accounts of interesting, high-stakes military missions, Mark Ogle has plenty of stories for you.

They’re detailed in a recently published 326 page book, “From Eagle to Eagle,” which is a personal chronicle of Ogle’s experience from high school through the Coast Guard Academy and ultimately, serving as a military commander with 3,000 people working under him.

What did Ogle, who resides in Smithfield, do during his military career?

There’s the time he swam down 10 feet to rescue a man from a submerged car. He’s traveled to 74 countries and trained foreign military and police forces. He was the senior man for a White House-ordered mission that put a landing party on a Caribbean island to rescue 70 barricaded tourists. And in a storyline that sounds movie-ready, he was chief of operations for a U.S. government mission that successfully shot down a satellite threatening the Earth.

He also commanded a San Diego-based unit that seized over 130 tons of cocaine worth billions of dollars.

And that’s just the introduction.

Shortly after announcing the book’s availability on his Facebook in late March, the post had more than 300 likes and 300 comments. “Most of these people were all Coast Guard-type people and they like to relive some of that stuff,” Ogle said. In terms of sharing his story, “I know what resonates with the community I come from,” he said.

The book was first published in February and it’s available on Amazon now.

But even if you’re not connected to the military, Ogle said readers will also get some insight into military culture, international relations, geography, victories, mistakes and leadership profiles. Sales of the book will also support a good cause. Ogle credits his experience with the Boy Scouts for setting him up for success. To return the favor, he plans to donate 50% of royalties from the book to the scouting organization and to the Coast Guard’s mutual assistance fund, which supports military families.

And after decades of military service, Ogle said another reason for wanting to publish his experiences is that Hollywood portrayals of the military don’t always mirror real life. For all the high-stakes stories, there’s also “a lot of boring stuff I did, just like anybody, any job. There’s always the paperwork and all that.”

Born in Chapel Hill, N.C., Ogle is a 1986 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and a 2007 graduate of the Naval War College. He commanded four units — USCG Cutter Key Largo, Group Eastern Shore, the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team and Sector Hampton Roads. As commander of Sector Hampton Roads, he managed all Coast Guard operations in Virginia and coastal Maryland and also served as captain of the port — in that capacity, he was responsible for all aspects of safety, security and environmental protection.

Ogle retired from active duty in 2013. He is a master training specialist based in Yorktown and teaches senior Coast Guard officers. In the book, his work and leadership are touted by other senior military leaders.

“Mark Ogle is known by many names and many accomplishments which are insightfully detailed in his Coast Guard journey,” retired Admiral Thad Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard from 2006 to 2010, wrote. “I proudly take credit for several nicknames, none of which adequately capture the immense contribution Mark has made to this nation. An accomplished expert in all Coast Guard missions and an extraordinary leader, “Opie” has made Mayberry and this very grateful former commandant very proud.”