Sunday, September 10, 2006

No Higher Honor

I've always had a fascination with ships, and especially the heroic efforts of men to save them in combat. I think this fascination comes from my grandfather, who was a submariner starting in the early 1930's and left his wife and young son safely behind in Pearl Harbor during a late 1941 Western Pacific patrol. My Dad doesn't remember much of the Japanese attack, and my grandmother rarely spoke of it, but I sucked up everything I could read on that battle and many others in the Pacific.
The men who brought our nation back from Pearl Harbor to defeat the Japanese live on today, although their stories aren't told the way they used to be.
During my time in the Navy, four ships suffered significant damage at the hands of an enemy - USS Stark, USS Samuel B. Roberts, USS Tripoli, and USS Princeton. In each case, sailors trained for the mission executed beautifully and saved their ships to fight another day.
A newly published book, No Higher Honor, by Brad Peniston, chronicles the tale of USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58). I haven't read the book yet, but it looks to be a winner. Here's a taste from Chapter 1:

On the forecastle, Gibson raised his binoculars again. This time, there was something out there. A half-mile off the starboard bow, three objects bobbed some distance apart. They were black, like the ubiquitous floating trash bags. But these had protrusions and rounded carapaces...maybe they were dead sheep? Gibson had seen plenty of those bloated forms, the castoff dead of Australian livestock carriers.

These objects were different, shinier.

That's a mine! he thought.

This kind of narrative just feels right. Amazon reviews give it five stars. Go buy the book.

Tags: Navy, Samuel B. Roberts, FFG