"This incredible but true story is one you won't be able to put down once you start reading!..."
Dan Traub, Dreamkeeper Films


In their latest book, bestselling authors, Sterling & Peggy Seagrave take us to the Orient where we are immersed in the real life adventures of Army Transportation Corps Captain, Philip Mehan, who will soon be discharged and take up residence in the Philippines.

During WWII, Americans poured into the U.S. armed services, either as conscripts, or volunteers. Having dropped out of school after a year at Compton Junior College, Mehan receives greetings from Uncle Sam in the form of a draft notice, and within weeks has shipped out for basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Mehan's eccentric character soon lands him in trouble with the Army, so he finagles a discharge and returns home to work with his dad building war ships at the Port of Los Angeles shipyards.

Bored with civilian life, Mehan next enlists in the Merchant Marine and is sent to the Avalon Maritime Training School on Santa Catalina Island. In the Army, Mehan was a duck out of water, but he thrives in the Merchant Marine, and advances to Marine Officers Cadet School, and then to Marine Officers Upgrading School in New Orleans. Eventually Mehan is transferred with eight other officers to the Wilmington Port of Embarkation where he is finally assigned to sea duty.

Now an Army Transportation Corps Jr. third mate of the 90-day wonder variety, Mehan ships out on an army troop transport heading to the Philippine islands. By the time he arrives in Manila, the war is over, but Mehan immediately falls in love with the allure of the Orient and decides to return as soon as he can. Upon arriving back in the U.S., Mehan discovers officers are needed in the Philippines to relieve Coast Guard personnel who are scheduled to return home, and so he volunteers and returns to Manila.

ATC Insignia

While delivering a freighter to Shanghai for the ATC, Mehan and his friend, Chief Engineer Bob Peterson, sign contracts with Java China Trading Company to deliver seven war surplus ships from Manila to China. After mishaps and hijinks in the ship delivery business, Mehan plunges into ownership of a logging enterprise in the primitive forests of Luzon. He takes on a business partner in Vadim Chirskoff, a pretentious Russian National who also worked with him at Java-China. Unknown to Mehan, the Russian, Chirskoff, is suspected of being a communist spy by the military intelligence community.

As danger and suspense mount, Mehan finds adventure, friendship, and even romance among the vagaries of a war ravaged and thoroughly corrupt society. He endures typhoons at sea, shipwrecks, being pursued by cutthroats, police, and counter intelligence agents all at the same time. And when he is not navigating high seas, he contends with an environment reminiscent of the American wild west.


After being betrayed by a notorious judge, Mehan ends up briefly incarcerated in the former execution chamber of old Bilibid Prison. He escapes custody and becomes a fugitive caught up in a struggle for his life as he is pursued by blackguards from low and high places. With Mehan always just one-step ahead of the constabulary, this story reads like an action packed novel, yet every word is supported by Army CIC files released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Red Sky is a must read element of history for anyone who loves adventure, or wants to fully understand the impact of U.S. involvement in the Philippines, and how U.S. post WWII influence affected the emerging nation's development, and the decline of Philippine/American relations as the public cry of Filipinos digressed from "God Bless America" to "Yankees Go Home."

Government issue Colt 45

"This incredible but true story is one you won't be able to put down once you start reading!..."

I first met Phil Mehan while shooting my documentary film Bob Mathias: Hometown Hero, in Tulare, CA. Phil has been a benefactor of the Tulare Historical Society and actually had Olympic legend Bob Mathias appear at the grand opening of his shopping center there.

When Phil told me of his experiences in the Orient, I was of course very interested, so he let me have a copy of his memoirs to read. "Phil," I told him, "this is really a fascinating true story ... You should consider having it developed into a novel."

Subsequently, Phil told me that best-selling authors Sterling and Peggy Seagrave were taking on the project, and I was really delighted when Phil later asked me to read the manuscript. By the middle of the first page I began feeling that I was reading something well-researched and very well-crafted...a very enjoyable read.

Dan Traub
Dreamkeeper Films, Inc.

"Phil's imprisonment at Bilibid Prison and his escape is miraculous..."

Having served in the Philippines before and during WWII, and visited after the war, I have a special insight into the area and its people.

Red Sky in the Morning explains the early history relating to, and conquest of the Philippines. Phil's post WWII service in the Merchant Marines, and later with the JAVA CHINA Trading company, is interesting; post WWII war surplus in the Philippines at bargain prices, including ships surprised me. The manipulation by various entities to advance their personal gain is evident. The intrigue involving investigations by various Philippine and US government officials into Phil's and other's activities are fascinating. Phil's efforts to go into the logging business on Bataan was an effort to succeed in an atmosphere of intrigue and handicaps, doomed for failure. Phil's imprisonment at Bilibid prison, and his escape is miraculous.

I recommend this book for all history buffs and entrepreneurs.

Everett D. Reamer, Former Commander
The American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor

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