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Submarine Diary: The Silent Stalking of Japan Paperback – July 31, 2013
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About the Author
Corwin Guy Mendenhall Jr. earned three Silver Stars, a Bronze Star, a Navy Commendation and 13 battle stars during his 20 year Navy career. He rose to the rank of Rear Admiral and later worked as a manager for Texas Instruments before his death in 2006.
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fwiw: visiting the floating museums (for instance, USS Bowfin in Hawaii) and USS Pampanito in San Francisco) helps put the duty aboard these fleet boats into perspective when you reflect on the accomplishments of the Silent Service.
I would recommend this book to any one who wanted to learn what is was like serving on submarines during WWII.
The reader learns first hand of all of the difficulties faced - early in WW2, our torpedos did not work well. That took awhile to fix. Early subs could not dive deep enough, which meant danger during enemy depth charges. It took awhile to get agressive Officers to maximize sinking opportunities. Despite these difficulties, US Subs sank 55% of all Japanese shipping during WW2, even though they were only 2% of the naval personnel. And to highlight the dangers, over 20% of all submarines and their crew were lost at sea.
Mendenhall writes with a very understated style - he really puts you there in the sub, facing the day to day tedium, chores, administrative stuff that still had to get done. Reports, studying to pass tests for promotions. The fun that was had during rest breaks. The comraderie built up during the war. And of course, the action. Mendenhall says "the long stretches of tedium and waiting, interrupted occasionally by brief periods of excitement, terror and peril".
This book really hooks you. You can relate to everyone, you see the war through the eyes of a very humble, very honest man who reminds us of a time of great danger and sacrifice, the men who made those sacrifices and the victory that was so hard won. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in WW2, naval operations, history buffs, those who want to be reminded or learn about the everyday heroes that won WW2.