This compelling tale of courage, heroism, and sheer terror is told in the actual words of the young, World War II destroyer escort sailors who lived to share their experiences. They came from the farms, small towns, and large cities all across theMoreThis compelling tale of courage, heroism, and sheer terror is told in the actual words of the young, World War II destroyer escort sailors who lived to share their experiences.
They came from the farms, small towns, and large cities all across the nation, sent out on the high seas to battle the Nazis and Japanese. Facing mortal danger, this unseasoned crop of teenage recruits went to sea aboard destroyer escorts, a novel yet untested vessel, designed by a man with no formal training in ship design, and which many navy officials viewed as a waste of money.
Led by Ivy League college boys more accustomed to being aboard yachts than warships, these young men are credited with helping to turn the tide of the war in the Atlantic, singlehandedly sinking some seventy U-boats, and then fought side-by-side with Allied battleships and destroyers in every major Pacific battle. Although President Franklin Roosevelt first wanted these vessels built in 1940, navy brass convinced him to use the nations limited resources to build more American destroyers instead, a mistake that would carry a heavy price for the Allies. The author interviewed ninety-one destroyer escort (DE) sailors and officers from fifty-six different ships, and was given access to secretly-kept war diaries, and other never-before-published information and photographs to illustrate the remarkable stories of this group of heroes to whom this nation owes a very special debt.But this story is not just about battles.
It is a story about growing up in the Great Depression, American genius, hard work, and honor, and includes a small but historic first step toward ending racial discrimination in the military. When Eleanor Roosevelt prevailed over the navy brass to allow African-Americans to step aboard a destroyer escort as full-fledged sailors, the first American warship manned by an African-American crew was launched.