Sobel Weber Associates, Inc.

Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

  • Halsey's Typhoon
  • (Atlantic Monthly, January 2007)
  • by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin
  • In December 1944, Admiral William “Bull” Halsey was America’s most popular and colorful naval hero. While supporting General Douglas MacArthur’s famous “I Shall Return” invasion of the Philippines, he unwittingly sailed his undefeated Pacific Fleet into the teeth of the most powerful storm on earth. In its wake, the typhoon left a previously invincible fleet devastated, inflicting more damage and loss of life than the Battle of Midway. Stunned Navy brass suppressed the scope of the disaster so as not to endanger the American advance on Tokyo, and Halsey never spoke about the ensuing Court of Enquiry for the rest of his life. Thanks to documents that have been declassified after sixty years and dozens of first-hand accounts from survivors – including one by former President Gerald Ford – the tragic yet heroic story of HALSEY’S TYPHOON can finally be told. Smashed and battered by waves and wind, Halsey’s 3rd Fleet fought desperately to stay afloat. Dozens of ships were damaged and three – the destroyers USS Hull, USS Monaghan, and USS Spence – absorbed so much punishment that they were capsized. Nearly nine hundred sailors and officers were hurled into the riotous sea or trapped below decks. Most of these men, who were teenagers or in their early twenties, found themselves struggling to keep their heads above the frothing seventy foot waves in the deepest shark-infested waters in the Pacific Ocean. Over the next sixty hours, small bands of survivors fought dehydration, exhaustion and the sea to await rescue at the hands of the courageous Lt. Com. Henry Lee Plage, who, defying orders, sailed his tiny destroyer escort, the USS Tabberer, through one hundred and fifty miles-per-hour winds to rescue drifting sailors from sunken ships.

    Riveting and dramatic, HALSEY’S TYPHOON will introduce readers to one of the greatest World War II stories ever told, a courageous story of survival against impossible odds.

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