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CDR Mark R Condeno PCGA
Liaison Officer, Foreign Armed Forces Attache Corps
International Affairs Directorate
Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary

Sleek, fast and heavily armed-from stalking U-boats in the Atlantic to dodging Kamikaze suicide planes in the Pacific they were there. From convoy escorts to shelling enemy installations, United States Navy Destroyers took the brunt of some of heaviest battles of World War II.

Yet, unknown to many, 71 of the type of various classes were lost during the war, Blood on the Sea is their Story. The author, the late Robert Sinclair Parkin (Under the White Ensign), deserves a commendation for this excellent reference. A veteran of the United States Navy, he has collected information on this vessel class in his twenty year career.

Although without chapters, the book is chronologically arranged through the dates of loss of each ship. It commences as we board USS REUBEN JAMES (DD 245), then escorting Convoy HX 156, when she was struck by a torpedo from the German Submarine U-562.

Another gallant warrior lost in enemy action of the freezing Atlantic waters was the USS BORIE {DD 215) as it engaged in a surface battle with U-405. From the Atlantic, the book takes us to the Mediterranean as the USS ROW AN (DD 405) tangled with German E-boats off Salerno, Italy. We then proceed to the vastness of the Pacific during the critical days, as the war with Japan began. Apart from those present at the Pearl Harbor attack, some of the earliest destroyers to be in action were those on the Asiatic Fleet, such as the USS PEARY (DD 226) and USS EDSALL (DD 219). The former was lost during the attack in Darwin, Australia, while the latter off Indonesian waters in 1942. Some of the destroyers listed would be lost not due to enemy action, but of Force Majeure, such as the ships lost during a massive typhoon at Leyte in the Philippines to that of the USS TRUXTUN (DD 229) during a blizzard off New Found land.

A well written and researched treatise, the author’ s narrative along with accounts of survivors is lucidly told. The readers will grasp the heat of action; be it against an enemy battleship, fighting fires aboard, search and rescue, to the deeds of valor and selflessness against insurmountable odds. Added to this is the ship’s history from its namesake, launching date and battle awards received. The book is well supported by a 15 page photo section, maps indicating the ships final resting place, to an appendix that contains a listing of all American Destroyer classes during the era with various details, to Destroyers lost or damage to Kamikaze attacks. A two page account on US Destroyer Escorts (DE’ s) is also provided. It is supplemented by a glossary, selected bibliography and a 12 page index. Blood on the Sea is an indispensable reference work to students of Naval History and US and Allied Destroyer Operations of World War Two.

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