SILENT RUNNING: My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine by James F. Calvert

SILENT RUNNING: My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine

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A sturdy, often affecting memoir of service on and off an American submarine in WW II's Pacific theater. A retired vice admiral and sometime superintendent of the Naval Academy, Calvert recalls joining the USS Jack as a newly married ensign almost fresh out of Annapolis. On its maiden voyage in the waters off Tokyo, the Jack sent at least four Japanese cargo vessels to the bottom despite severe engine damage from an escort's attack. Power-plant woes forced the Jack to cut short its second war patrol. By early 1944, however, a complete refit equipped the ship for battle in the South China Sea; in this target-rich venue, it sank six more enemy craft, including four oil tankers. The Jack went on to compile a record that placed it ninth on the list of the 200-odd US submarines operating against Japan (in terms of tonnage sunk). In addition to engagements with hostile forces, Calvert had to survive a moral crisis. On the first of his shore leaves Down Under he fell deeply in love with the daughter of a local doctor. They eventually decided it would not be right to continue the unconsummated affair at the cost of the author's marriage. Calvert narrates this brief, bittersweet encounter with a sure touch that suggests not quite all is fair in love and war. When two atomic blasts (for which he remains perdurably grateful) accelerated the arrival of V-J day, the war-weary author was on his eighth patrol as executive officer of a new sub, the Haddo. After he and his shipmates escaped courtsmartial for an unauthorized tour of defeated Japan's capital city, they were homeward bound, in Calvert's case, to continue his military career in a putatively peaceful world. A standout in a genre notable for first-rate entries.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1995
ISBN: 047119705X
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Wiley