Tin Can Sailor reviews “Kamikaze Destroyer”

The Tin Can Sailor quarterly newspaper reviewed the book “Kamikaze Destroyer – USS Hugh W. Hadley (DD774) ” in their April issue.  There will be an excerpt from the book featured in the July issue. This will reach 16,000 members of the organization and will be available on all active duty destroyers.  Here is the review as listed in the book and movie review section of the website at www.destroyers.org

Kamikaze Destroyer
By Jeffrey R. Veesenmeyer

(319 pages, photos, drawing and maps)

Reviewer:  Bernie Ditter

Overall Rating: Four Stars: Highly recommended. An excellent book.

Jeffrey R. Veesenmeyer’s prodigiously researched story about the USS HUGH W. HADLEY (DD-774) and her crew is a book that will be read and appreciated by the crew and their families.  It will also resonate with Tin Can Sailors everywhere and WWII veterans of the Pacific Fleet.

Prompted by a desire to learn more about his great uncle’s involvement in the war, he found Louis Veesenmeyer’s name on a list of killed in action on the web-site of the USS HUGH W.  HADLEY (DD-744).  He learned of the HADLEY’s record achievement of destroying 23 Kamikazes in one hour and thirty-five minutes on May 11, 1945 off the coast of Okinawa.

He decided that there should be a book about the HADLEY.  He was invited to attend the 19th reunion of the HADLEY’s crew and their families where he encountered 12 veterans of that record setting engagement.

The material in the book, from excerpts of bios of 57 crew members, the day-to-day routine of the crew, the amazing description of the combat air patrol pilots of F4U Corsairs resorting to using their own planes to physically combat the Kamikazes after their ammo was depleted to the more amazing details of the downing of 23 Kamikazes is graphically written.

Two things sets this book apart from others that I have reviewed.  The twelve men whose recall and memories address the personal involvement of each as it relates to their own experiences but also their remembrance of the actions and heroism of their shipmates during those 95 minutes.  Also the time frame for their assignment to the #15 Radar Picket Station off the coast of Okinawa is in the middle of the last, and perhaps the most significant battle of the Pacific arena.

The battle for Okinawa was in fact the precursor to the invasion of Japan.  The loss of life in numbers was astounding; 77,166 Japanese soldiers, 14,009 American military and 149,195 Okinawa islanders.  The million or more projected losses in an invasion of Japan by comparison did not look overstated.

There is something for everybody in this book.

Availability:  Tin Can Sailor’s Ship Store

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