44 Sailors Tell 424 Stories About 1 Small Ship In 1 Big War by Michael Olson
Tales from a Tin Can is the true story of the destroyer USS Dale (DD 353) in the words of the sailors who served on her. These colorful first-person accounts bring every aspect of service on a World War II destroyer.
From the attack on Pearl Harbor:
“I was down below, brushing my teeth. . . . There was a huge commotion, so I ran outside to see what was going on. The first thing I saw was a Japanese bomber dropping its torpedo, which then ran right up into the old Utah and exploded.” — Alvis Harris
To life on the Dale:
“Some of the guys were chumming the water off the fantail with galley scraps. You could see huge sharks swimming around, so I threw a couple of wooden crates over the side and the sharks went into a frenzy over them. The captain came on the squawk box and said, “You guys better not fall over the side because I don’t want to pick up what’s left!” – Earl Hicks
To gripping combat stories:
“When the Salt Lake City went dead in the water we figured we were all goners for sure. . . . That water temperature was right at thirty-three degrees, which would give us about ten or twelve minutes before we froze to death. Just when things got to be about as bleak as you could imagine, one of our cans got a 5-incher right smack on the bridge of the lead Japanese cruiser. You could see it as plain as day. Then they simply turned tail and ran. It was a miracle!” — John Cruce
To the real ice cream mutiny:
“The young ensign refused to take the ice cream away from the men, so the captain ordered him to the brig. The ensign stood at attention and said, “Sir, I’ll be happy to go to the brig, but first you must sign for all my accounts and for all the ship’s money in my safe.” The Captain got out his book of Navy regulations and fussed over it for a half hour or so, while the ice cream container just sat there on the deck. By then the entire crew was watching to see what was going to happen.” — Lowell Barker
All the way to the end:
“When word came through that the war had ended, everyone went wild. We made noise with whatever we could get our hands on. Sirens shrieked, bells rang, and horns bellowed. . . . I whooped and hollered and banged on metal. . . . And I celebrated a bunch for all those guys that couldn’t, too!” — Robert “Pat” Olson
Tales from a Tin Can takes you through World War II in the Pacific, from Pearl Harbor in 1941 to Tokyo Bay in 1945, and on to a jubilant New York City.