Outmanned, outgunned and outsized, the Samuel B. Roberts plunged into a battle that would ultimately result in her death and the deaths of many of her brave crewmen. As part of the unit Taffy 3 the chance meeting with a much larger Japanese fleet wasn’t supposed to have happened. But it did and with the enemy sighted the Sammy B. flew into action with the best of them. Her well-seasoned crew suffered numerous casualties yet they soldiered on with a fierceness. Even as they were dying from injuries some sailors refused to give up until a sympathetic comrade dragged them off to die more quietly (a near impossibility, mind you, as the Roberts was constantly under fire). But after giving it all she could, the Roberts finally bid farewell to the world and disappeared beneath the waves. In the coming days her survivors would be plunged into despair as they fought off delirium, excruciating pain and shark attacks all the while watching their comrades die.
Be warned: This is not a tale for the lighthearted. The descriptions of some of the injuries are ghastly and a bit nauseating. Some of it can drive a reader to tears. For Crew and Country is the type of story that makes a person want to be able to scoop up all those poor souls and get them to safety but, of course, one is helpless to do that. Thankfully the survivors weren’t left floating around on the ocean surface as long as the survivors of some World War II shipwrecks were.
As for the writing, it was a bit dry, but that can be overlooked as John Wukovits has presented readers with a story not so well known. It’s always good to see books like this released because we know that those sailors and their families have not been forgotten. A fitting tribute to each of the Sammy B.‘s crew.
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