by Gary Burns


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In late 1944, 78 U.S. Navy sailors and officers climbed aboard a ship just 150 feet long and 23 feet wide, and headed toward the sound of gunfire. One of a class of gunboats known as “mighty midgets,” LCS 52 carried an arsenal equal to ships twice its size. Yet its shallow draft enabled it to maneuver to within a few hundred feet of any beach. Packed inside the tiny craft, the diverse crew were farmers, students, cooks and teachers. They ranged from age 17 to middle-aged—a few had seen combat in the Atlantic and the Pacific.
This book tells the story of the ship’s extensive service in World War II’s Pacific Theater. Most of the crew survived the war, as did LCS 52 itself, serving in the U.S. Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force until 1958, when it was decommissioned and used for artillery practice. A roll call of crew members is included, with biographical information when available.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476666877
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 10/14/2016
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Gary Burns is a retired U.S. Marine and historian whose passion is telling the personal stories of veterans. He divides his time between homes in the Texas Hill Country and the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

Introduction 1

1 The Maiden Voyage 9

2 How Did We Get Ourselves into This? 28

3 Practicing the Trade 44

4 Life at Sea 66

5 Black Sand and Suffering 82

6 By Land and Sea: The Battle for Okinawa 100

7 Birds of Prey 116

8 Downfall to Fallout 136

9 Ex-Kamikazes and Mysteries of the Orient 156

10 Rebuilding Lives 179

11 Death of 52 197

12 Roll Call LCS 52 199

Chapter Notes 239

Bibliography 249

Index 253

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