Steel Beach: My Life as a Naval Aircrewman 1972-1976

Inkwater Press 2007

Steel Beach: My Life as a Naval Aircrewman 1972-1976

Steel Beach tells the story of Jeff’s years as a naval aircrewman from 1972 to 1976. Homeported in San Diego, California, he deployed on two Western Pacific cruises, known as WestPacs. His deployments took him to the Pacific and Indian Oceans, South China Sea, Gulf of Tonkin, Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. Sailing halfway around the globe, with six crossings of the equator, an aircraft carrier was his home for months at a time. Ports of call included Manila, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Mombasa, Kenya. A squadron detachment including Jeff’s crew flew into Bandar Abbas, Iran, on a diplomatic mission.

With over 300 SAR, ASW, medevac and logistics missions in the Sikorsky SH-3 helicopter, his experiences enriched his life and changed it forever.

The bulk of Steel Beach was written from memory. In addition Jeff had memorabilia such as quarterly marks, squadron and carrier newsletters, portions of his service records, and all of the certificates issued to him as reference material. But perhaps most valuable to the story were all of his letters home, saved by his mother and not discovered until after her death.The letters formed the soul of his story-writing process, serving as a window back in time to his state of mind and where he may have been at sea or in port. Between the letters and military records he was able to reconstruct an accurate time-line.

Our memories are our truths, unique in their vividness, their imperfections, and their beauty. Steel Beach is Jeff’s memory, his truth. This is what makes Steel Beach his story.

You can read more information and see more photos: Steel Beach the Book


You can download the order form pdf or purchase Steel Beach through PayPal:

Finalist in the Oregon Book Awards for creative nonfiction.

Press release from Inkwater Press
Inkwater Author .pdf

Jeff is a member of:
Vietnam Veterans of America
Vietnam Helicopter Crew Members Association
Disabled American Veterans

Current News

September 2018
The Oregon Folklife Network invited Jeff to join a discussion panel on musical traditions being practiced in the area. It will be held at Troubadour Music in Corvallis on Friday September 7th at 7:30 pm.
August 2018
Jeff was recently commissioned to write a short piece for the nationally distributed Vietnam Veterans of America magazine. It will appear on the Parting Shot page in the upcoming issue.
April 2018
Northwest Musical Instrument Exhibit: Saturday and Sunday, April 28th & 29th, 2018 Marylhurst University, Lake Oswego, Oregon.
Feburary 2018
Jeff will be entering his latest viola in the Thomas Metzler Violin Shop's contemporary instrument exhibition and sale taking place in Los Angeles, March 23-26. Violas will be played by a member of the L.A. Philharmonic at 4 p.m. on March 25th
July 2017
The 17" Maggini modeled viola is sold and Jeff recently finished a 15" viola of his own design and it is now available. He also has his Sanctus Seraphin patterned violin from 2006 back in his shop. This violin was exhibited in the Library of Congress that year as part of the American Federation's participation in "The American violin, from Jefferson to jazz" event.
September 2016
Jeff recently sold a violin based on a 1704 Stradivari as well as a 15 7/8" viola of his own design. He has started two new violas, one on the popular 15 7/8" pattern and one on his 16 1/8" pattern. He expects them to be completed by spring.
April 2016
Northwest Musical Instrument Exhibit: Saturday and Sunday, April 30th & May 1st, 2016 Marylhurst University,
near Portland, Oregon. Map
March 2016
Jeff just completed a 17" viola based on a Maggini pattern from the late 1500's.
Inquire for price and availability.
April 2015
Instrument Show Northwest Musical Instrument Exhibit: Saturday and Sunday, April 25th & 26th, 2015 Marylhurst University, near Portland, Oregon.
January 2015
Jeff was interviewed by the University of Oregon's school of jounalism for their series Northwest Stories: Violin Maker Jeff Manthos Violin Video link
Jeff is completing a 16 1/2" Da Salo model viola which will be available soon. His next instrument is a 15 3/4" viola on his own pattern, which will be ready by late spring.

Contact information

Street: 2635 SW Fairmont Drive
City/State: Corvallis, OR 97333
Phone: 541-754-7645