200,000 Miles aboard the Destroyer Cotten

200,000 Miles aboard the Destroyer Cotten

200,000 Miles aboard the Destroyer Cotten

200,000 Miles aboard the Destroyer Cotten

Synopsis

In mid-June 1943, Snelling Robinson, a 20-year-old Harvard graduate and newly commissioned ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve, joined the pre-commissioning crew of the Fletcher class destroyer USS Cotten. The new crew trained for the remainder of the summer and t hen sailed to Pearl Harbor in time to join the newly established Fifth Fleet. Under t he command of Admiral Raymond Spruance, the Fifth Fleet was given orders to invade Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands in November 1943. This offensive, along with naval battles in the Philippine Sea, the Leyte Gulf, and the invasion of Iwo Jima in February 1945, is chronicled from the perspective of a young deck officer and is integrated with the background of the larger conflict, including the politics of command. After Japan's surrender, the Cotten became a part of the Occupation Force anchored in Tokyo Bay. Robinson deftly narrates how he and his friends took advantage of their good luck and brought their roles in the war to a fitting conclusion.

Excerpt

I started to write this book after retiring from a thirty-nine-year business career in Chicago real estate and moving with my wife, Carolyn, and our then four-year-old daughter, Mary, from Lake Forest, Illinois, to our present home in Asheville, North Carolina. With the pressures of a business life removed, I had the time and energy for what was to become an enterprise that lasted, on and off, for the better part of eight years.

The first task entailed obtaining photocopies of the complete deck logs of the Cotten from November 1, 1943, until August 31, 1945, from the Operational Archives of the Naval Historical Center. the logs for 1943 were handwritten, those where I had been the junior officer of the watch being in my own handwriting. Beginning in January 1944, the logs were typed by the ship’s office. in the instances where I was the officer of the deck, my signature appears under each of the summaries of my watches; after I became navigator, my signature appears with that of the captain at the bottom of each page, in effect certifying that the facts had been checked and found correct. Studying these terse and formal recitations of the pertinent events, set forth in the sequence that they occurred, brought the scenes themselves vividly back to life.

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