In 1940, the U.S. naval fleet was stationed at Pearl Harbor, a strategic and political move intended to discourage Japanese aggression. Admiral James O. Richardson, the commander in chief of the entire U.S. fleet, ardently opposed this decision. Richardson was truly devoted to the fleet, playing a central role in developing and implementing War Plan Orange, the military strategies, exercises, and plans launched in 1924 designed to check Japan in the Pacific. From his intense investment in these exercises, it became clear to him that the fleet should not remain at Pearl Harbor. The fleet was not prepared, the country was vulnerable, and the facilities available in Hawaii were less than sufficient to provide training for the sailors and protection for the United States.
Living out his life-long commitment to the U.S. fleet, Richardson sacrificed his career to make certain that the navy provided the United States her first line of defense. Going up against the chief of naval operations, Harold Stark; the secretary of the navy, Frank Knox; and not to mention the president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richardson repeatedly tried to convey to them the navy's unpreparedness and vulnerability in the Pacific. Richardson's training, expertise, and experience led him to believe that a Japanese attack on the U.S. fleet was not only possible, it was inevitable. After Richardson repeatedly criticized the executive decision to station the fleet in Hawaii, he was relieved of his command. When the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941, it became painfully obvious that Admiral Richardson's fears were not only well founded, but that he had been right all along.
Author Skipper Steely masterfully crafts an insightful and convincing biography of this overlooked naval hero. Offering a fresh perspective on what led to the catastrophic and infamous 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, along with a detailed treatment of the historical investigations regarding the attack throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Pearl Harbor Countdown proves indispensable reading for anyone interested in World War II in the Pacific.
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Skipper Steely has been writing and editing books for more than twenty years. He attended East Texas State University and graduated from there in 1968. After serving in the United States Air Force as an information and recruitment officer, Steely began his career in the newspaper industry as a writer and an editor. Since 1990, Steely has worked as a full-time writer. He lives in Paris, Texas.