I asked Tom for a few excerpts from the book to give you an idea of his writing style, here are a few brief excerpts:

Context: Beginning of mass kamikaze raid on Transport Squadron 17 off Okinawa:

 “Any of the crew’s postwar dreams or aspirations quickly gave way to the mechanics of a no-quarter air-sea battle.  Gun crews fed ammunition into their guns, eyes searched the sky, and hands felt for the devices that had become familiar through training.  Electric motors whirred, springs compressed and released, propellants ignited, as orange and white tracers etched out a cruel geometry from the angry ship”


Context: Also from the Kamikaze raid:

"From his casualty treatment station on the port side on the main deck Chief Buss had an unobstructed view of the attacking Japanese aircraft.  The plane was now weaving back and forth and diving at an angle of 30-40 degrees.  Buss could only watch and yell, "Hit him! Hit him! Hit him! Like a spectator at a football game."


 Context:  Following stateside repairs, the ship prepares to depart her commanding officer’s hometown of San Francisco, to get back into the fight:

             “Upon returning to his ship, Commander Lyon found two enlisted men working in his cabin on a wooden bunk rail that he had requested.  Wanting to please their popular captain, the men had built the rail out of redwood purchased in San Francisco.  They were polishing the finished rail when Lyon entered and asked, “What’s this?”  The carpenter responded, “Well, sir, knowing that you are from redwood country, we wanted you to have a piece of California with you wherever you went.”  Shipfitter 2nd Class William Polikowski told his skipper, “The only important thing, sir, is that you are satisfied.”  Stunned by the gesture, the tears in Lyon’s eyes assured the two seamen that he was indeed satisfied.”


Context:  Editing of sailors mail during training off the East Coast: (I specifically asked for this one...Russ)

             “Some of the officers were getting their first taste of censoring the enlisted men’s mail, a chore they would come to loathe. Reading the private details of a sailor’s life was painful enough without having to mark up some of the letters and send them back as “denied.”  With his girlfriend, Coxswain Morris (“Mike”) Larsen devised a code in which the first letter of  each paragraph spelled out his location.  It made writing difficult, but the officers never caught on.  The duty also had its humorous moments, such as when one man’s letter home contained the lamentable details of his seasickness in Chesapeake Bay:  “Dear Mother, I was throwing up so hard I could taste the hair on my ass.”