Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Descent Into Darkness
By Edward C Raymber
ISBN 9781591147244 Paperback/eBook 240 Pages US Naval Institute Press March 2012
This book is an excellent account of life as a hard hat navy diver just prior to and the first two years of US involvement in the Second World War. Based in California, the author and his dive team were rushed to Pearl Harbor via aircraft to take part in the desperate attempt to recover survivors from the sunken ships of the famous Japanese attack. Great detail is recorded on the trials and tribulations with some success. Unfortunately most of the efforts later turned to recovery of bodies and valuable items. The exhausting work left many with what in those days were probably cases of undiagnosed PTSD from seen bodies floating around inside sunken ships. One eerie instance even tells of coming across a compartment where some crewmembers of a capsized ship stayed alive for several days before succumbing.
Later parts of the book detail a brief stint on an Apaches Class fleet tug before it was sunk in the Solomons from enemy action. The survivors were taken ashore and employed on Guadalcanal and Tulagi in various capacities, all the while experiencing the horrors of the snake-infested terrain and combat operations.
This book is an excellent opportunity for the reader to familiarize themselves on what life was like for the junior enlisted personnel of those momentous times.