If you haven’t seen it, why not? Humphrey Bogart in one of my favorite performances, Fred McMurray, Van Johnson, Jose Ferrer. Lee Marvin as both actor and technical advisor.
That moment where he realizes that he’s said too much is just magnificent.
I haven’t thought highly of Pulitzer Prize-winning anything lately, but Herman Wouk won for fiction with this in 1952, back when the Pulitzer meant something. During WW2, Wouk served on the destroyer minesweepers USS Zane and USS Southard. By the way, Herman Wouk is still alive at the age of 97.
The typhoon scene in the movie actually happened – Typhoon Cobra, also known as Halsey’s Typhoon, because he sailed the Third Fleet right into it. Three destroyers were sunk – the USS Hull, USS Monaghan, and USS Spence. The Hull and the Monaghan were Farragut-class and were top-heavy with added armament and equipment. The Spence, a Fletcher-class, was low on fuel and foundered. Another Fletcher-class ship, the USS Hickox and the Allen M. Sumner-class USS Maddox survived by pumping seawater into the fuel tanks for ballast. The Maddox would later be involved in the Gulf of Tonkin incident, but that’s the subject for another post.
The toll was terrible – 790 fatalities. 93 men were rescued from the sunken ships, including 55 by the John C. Butler-class destroyer escort USS Tabberer. Twenty-nine ships were damaged, and over 100 aircraft were damaged or lost. I’m so glad we have weather satellites now.
Xbrad has mentioned before that every sailor is a fireman. The USS Monterey, an Independence-class light aircraft carrier, had fires on the hangar deck from planes knocking around. Then-Lt. Gerald Ford was one of those fighting the fires.