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Sailors to the End: The Deadly Fire on the USS Forrestal and the Heroes Who Fought It Paperback – Bargain Price, July 6, 2004
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Freeman carefully explains how safety measures were overridden, causing a rocket from one on-deck fighter to be fired into another. More importantly, he shows how the Navy was using long-outdated bombs left over from before WWII in order to make it seem as if the administration had enough bombs to fight the Vietnam War. Not only were the bombs outdated, but they became touchy and more unsafe as the years passed. Beling knew of the problem, and insisted that he needed better bombs; but he had a job to do, and the old ones were the only ones he was going to get to do it. Newer bombs could stand a lot of heat, and the old ones could not. Much sooner than anyone expected, one of the bombs blew up, a thousand pounds of explosive impacting at zero range.Read more ›
Give Freeman credit right off the bat for not attempting to cash in on the celebrity interest potential of then-navy pilot John McCain's narrow escape by unjustly playing up McCain's involvement. In Freeman's story, McCain is just one more survivor, and one who made it out with only minor injuries. The real story is one of a preventable trajedy, and Freeman does not shy away from the laying the blame for the disaster where it belongs, on the political leadership of the time and on the navy bureaucracy.
Freeman's account of the fire itself and resulting ordinance explosions as seen through the eyes of the survivors is absolute riveting. He strikes just the right tone, relaying the horrible events without sensationalizing them. The book's title come from a particularly poignant moment in which three trapped sailors uncomplainingly performed a final vital duty for their shipmates even as they knew they were about to die. Theirs is just one of the many incredible stories that Freeman has unearthed.
Overall, "Sailors to the End" is an expertly written work of military history that should appeal to both military buffs as well as to general readers.
The tales of the fire from the perspective of several young "citizen sailors" and the carriers experienced CO and wizened Engineering/Damage Control officer offer a heart wrenching view of the conditions faced by those fighting the inferno. Although some of the sailors exhibit "attitude problems" (as did I as a citizen sailor in the same era) they fight bravely with inadequate equipment and (according to the author) little fire line leadership (Freeman says lots of the equipment and the best trained firefighters were lost in the explosions at the beginning of the fire). The courage, tenacity and eventual success of the citizen sailors in saving the ship belies the snide, condescending remarks Defense Secretary Rumsfeld recently made comparing the U.S.'s current military to supposedly inferior draft-era servicemen (the sailors, while not draftees per se were also not, by 2003 standards, "professionals").Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
..I was aboard the Forrestal during this disaster. Was officer -in-charge of Engine Room #3.....secondary con control. Remember a lot, but this book filled in many gaps.Published 26 days ago by henry rossi
Absolutely a great read. Greg Freeman gives close look at the catastrophic fire on the Forrestal. Almost the same as being there. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Larry D Caudill
I was there, the book answered all the questions concerning the loss of life and why!Published 3 months ago by Amateur Handy Man
Well written and well documented account of a tragic situation. I spent two tours in Vietnam and I had never heard much about this accident.Published 5 months ago by Douglas Middleton