A Blue Sea of Blood: Deciphering the Mysterious Fate of the USS Edsall
by Donald M. Kehn
On the morning of March 1, 1942, the WWI-era destroyer USS Edsall – under orders to deliver some forty Army Air Force fighter crews to the beleaguered island of Java – split off from the USS Whipple and the tanker Pecos and was never seen again by Allied forces. Despite the later discovery of bodies identified as Edsall crewmembers near a remote airfield on the coast of Celebes, what happened to the ship remains a matter of mystery and, perhaps, deliberate obfuscation.
This book explores the many puzzling facets of the Edsall’s disappearance in order to finally tell the full story of the fate of the vessel and her crew. Based on exhaustive research of the historical record – including newly deciphered Japanese documents and previously unrevealed material from the crew’s family members – Upon a Blue Sea of Blood offers a painstaking reconstruction of the ship’s history. The book investigates not only the Edsall’s mysterious final action, but also her wide-ranging pre-war career and the curious uses to which her story was put – generally under false pretenses – first by the pre-war U.S. Navy and then by the Japanese wartime propaganda machine.
Finally, military historian Donald Kehn considers the circumstances surrounding the curious obscurity of the Edsall’s heroic service and final battle in American histories. Redressing six decades of official indifference, Kehn’s account recovers a significant chapter missing from the history of World War II – and tells a long-overdue story of courage and tragic loss.
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