DESTROYER SQUADRON 23 by Ken with foreword by Admiral Halsey Jones


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Move quickly...look for ready when you find one."" With these orders to the skippers of eight big, fast Fletcher class destroyers, Commodore Arleigh Burke assumed command of Squadron 23 in the South Pacific in October, 1943. In two months this doctrine made him famous. It later accounted for his rise to Chief of Staff with his eight skippers becoming Rear Admirals- or better- after him. For Burke, whose real name is Bjorkegren, brought a mystique with him. It was one of faith and comradeship, of audacity too. This book is really an examination of that mystique, and of the nature of men who make good naval commanders. Much personal background and anecdote is included, such as how the late Admiral Halsey dubbed Burke ""Thirty One Knot"" when the Commodore was too slow in joining the main Fleet at sea. But not all is background. In vividly described views of the Battle of Empress of Augusta Bay and other engagements, the hell-bent Squadron does its stuff. Five Japanese ships go down. Speed and endurance records are broken. Men die. Yet morale stays incredibly high. Careful research and painstakingly specific description evoke a kind of reality. Unfortunate though is the dialogue, humor, mysticism and ""colorful"" journalese which, as attempts to pump more fuel into the narrative, only strain the rather limited boilers. Give the author a short salute for not overglorifying what was really a minor phase of U.S. Navy history. Sea dogs young and old, afloat or on the beach, will constitute the largest audience by far.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1959
Publisher: Chilton