Back from the Deep: The Strange Story of the Sister Subs Squalus and Sculpin

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Naval Institute Press, 1998 - History - 256 pages
This epic World War II submarine saga follows the sister boats Squalus and Sculpin as they play out their dramatic destinies in the Pacific. The author, a seasoned journalist, re-creates their entire perilous journey, beginning with the rigorous stateside preparation of the crew. That training was put to the test almost immediately when the Squalus sank during a test dive in 1939. The revolutionary use of the McCann diving bell to save 33 trapped crewmen and the Sculpin's role in that historic rescue are the first of many incongruous twists of fate that bring the two subs together. The saga continues when the Squalus undergoes an unprecedented salvage and, rechristened the Sailfish, redeems its reputation through three years of battle. The extraordinary ordeals shared by the inseparable Squalus-Sailfish and Sculpin are described in gripping detail as the author skillfully weaves together the tragic defeat of the Sculpin by a Japanese destroyer and the frenetic wrath of its sister sub. The intertwined fates of the two boats come to an eerie climax as the Sailfish unleashes a ten-hour attack on the Japanese aircraft carrier Chuyo amid a raging typhoon, unwittingly killing 22 of the 43 prisoners captured from the sunken Sculpin. The narrative travels with the surviving 21 Sculpin crewmen as they face incredible hardships, torture, and disease as POWs in Japan. Today veterans of both boats view themselves as a single company and share annual reunions. Back from the Deep is certain to instill a renewed appreciation for the intrepid men and stealthy ships that were the soul of the Pacific campaign's silent service.

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About the author (1998)

Carl LaVO, a graduate of the University of Florida at Gainesville, is the author of Slade Cutter: Submarine Warrior and Back from the Deep: The Strange Story of the Sister Subs Squalus and Sculpin, both published by the Naval Institute Press. He has also written many articles for the Institute's two magazines, Proceedings and Naval History, and a variety of general-interest periodicals. His television appearances include the History Channel series Silent Service and Man, Moment and Machine.

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