by Carl Lavo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Carl LaVO’s biography of one of the great submarine commanders, The Galloping Ghost, was recommended to me by a Naval Commander when I asked him about life aboard a submarine. Sure, today’s nuclear Virginia-class subs are a world of difference from the WWII USS Barb, commanded by Medal of Honor winner and now-retired Admiral Eugene Fluckey, but the spirit of the captains of America’s submarine fleet and their command strategies are the same.
Called the Galloping Ghost because his enemies never knew where he came from or went after an attack, Eugene Fluckey is remembered not only for sinking more tonnage than any other US submarine skipper, but for revolutionizing undersea warfare and laying the groundwork for the nuclear-powered submarines of today. The book tells how he did that, starting with his first effort to join the Navy. Rejected for his eyesight, he figured out what he needed to fix and spent months making sure he passed the next text. That set the tone for every problem he ever faced. He never considered what couldn’t be done, but how to make it work. The most memorable was when he wanted to attack land-based targets from his sea-based submarine (this was before that was part of the submarine’s usual operations) and figured out how to launch missiles from the deck of his boat. By the way, that was the first time anyone had done that.
Not only does the book retell the details of Fluckey’s rise from rejected sailor to one of the most innovative commanders in the history of the Navy, LaVO has included the entire muster for Fluckey’s sub, the USS Barb.
This book will find a fascinated audience not just with Navy fans, but those interested in the creative mind of those who solve problems as part of their daily routine.