To document the Franklin's ordeal and the chaplain's actions, the author draws on interviews with survivors and O'Callahan's family and many unpublished sources.
This moving tale uses personal accounts of the veterans who achieved victory in the biggest and last great naval battle, largely fought with aging ships, untested reserve crews, and teenaged combat aircraft pilots. Often overshadowed by other Pacific War engagements such as Midway or Guadalcanal, the Battle of Leyte Gulf was characterized by some of the most gallant hours in seagoing history: the U.S. Navy's defeat of the combined Japanese fleet during the invasion of the Philippines in October 1944. Involving more ships than even the gargantuan First World War Battle of Jutland and two hundred thousand men, it was the biggest naval battle in world history. It marked the last time huge capital ships fought within sight and sound of each other. Using the personal accounts of the men who were there, Sears tells this mammoth and compelling story.
The Battle of Leyte Gulf could have been the Pacific War's Battle of the Bulge. In a space of 12 hours, Japan, a beaten, cornered enemy, was able to devise and execute a strategy that very nearly pierced the heart of America's war machine. The real margin of victory would come from surprising quarters: from aging ships risen from the graveyard of the war's infamous first day; from small, hastily constructed ships with largely untested reserve crews; from fragile support ships never intended to be anywhere near battles of this scale; and from combat aircraft piloted by teenagers.