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Sailors To The End

Book Review

 

Title:

Sailors To The End

Author:

Gregory A. Freeman

Publisher:

William  Morrow and Co., New York, NY

ISBN:

0-066-21267-7

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

July, 2002

Rating:

Sailors To The End examines the tragedy aboard the USS Forrestal during the Vietnam era. This is a hardcover book of about 300  pages.

Get more information about Sailors to the End at amazon.comIn 1967, the United States deployed its latest aircraft carrier to participate  in the Vietnam War. The book starts as the USS Forrestal leaves Norfolk, Virginia on the way to her first deployment. As events unfold, we learn about the daily routine of carrier duty as seen through the eyes of both officers and enlisted personnel. Shortly after arriving on station, a series of events led to a catastrophic accident and series of explosions that almost sunk the ship.

One explosion after another rocked the mighty ship, blowing holes large enough to drive a car through into her deck. A massive fire was fueled by JP-5 jet  fuel and ordinance left on deck prior to flight operations. Of the almost 5,000 crew members, over 300 lost their lives. Some died fighting the fires while  others sleeping under the flight deck never knew what happened. After days of  intensive firefighting efforts by the survivors, the fire was finally extinguished and the ship limped into port in Japan.

This story is absolutely electrifying. I could not put this book down once I started reading it. The author shows what happened through the eyes of its crew, including some that did not survive the ordeal. The author obviously did extensive research for the story including interviewing the survivors, and the writing style is easy to read, yet fully explains what happened to those unfamiliar with military languages and acronyms. This story is highly recommended to anybody  wanting to get a sense of what happened in this tragedy or those wanting to  understand the danger of everyday live aboard these gigantic ships.

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