Good Night Officially: The Pacific War Letters of a Destroyer Sailor

Good Night Officially: The Pacific War Letters of a Destroyer Sailor

by William M. McBride
     
 

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The Moluccas Islands; the invasions of Leyte, Mindoro, and Luzon; Iwo Jima; Okinawa—these and other important naval actions of World War II are vividly recounted by an enlisted sailor and former journalist, Orvill Raines, in poignant and graphic letters to his wife.

The story of the young sailor and his shipmates aboard the destroyer Howorth, serving

Overview


The Moluccas Islands; the invasions of Leyte, Mindoro, and Luzon; Iwo Jima; Okinawa—these and other important naval actions of World War II are vividly recounted by an enlisted sailor and former journalist, Orvill Raines, in poignant and graphic letters to his wife.

The story of the young sailor and his shipmates aboard the destroyer Howorth, serving in the Pacific in 1944 and 1945, comes alive in Good Night Officially, first published in 1994. Edited and introduced by historian William M. McBride, the letters tell of the routine and boredom, fear and bravery of those who reclaimed the Pacific for the United States and its allies. They also tell a sweet and sad story of the love of Raines for his wife—sad, because Raines, posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, was killed in an air attack on April 6, 1945. This volume bears testament to the sacrifice and victory of Raines and his fellow “bluejackets.”

Editorial Reviews

Paul Fussel

“This is the real stuff, an authentic record of married love in the midst of the worst war in history and a moving tribute to a young man’s courage and optimism. His fate will shock and occasion tears in the most blasé. ... I hope this book finds many readers.”--Paul Fussel, author of Wartime
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The destroyer USS Howorth , commissioned in 1944, took part in 11 shore bombardments, destroyed 12 Japanese warplanes, and won battle stars in the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns. Yeoman Second Class Orvill Raines's remarkably expressive letters to his wife convey in vivid detail what it was like to serve aboard a ``tin can'' in an increasingly dangerous war zone. He writes of the daily routine of ship and crew, his struggle against boredom and homesickness, his dreams of the postwar future, and periods of stark terror as Japanese kamikazes began to stalk the fleet. Raines, a former Dallas Morning News reporter, was 26 years old and passionately in love with his wife of four years, Ray Ellen. His expressions of devotion (``I kiss the lipstick you put on your letters . . . and feel your heavenly body next to mine'') are universal and poignant in the context of a war he would not survive. McBride, professor of history at James Madison University in Virginia, has done an excellent job of editing, footnoting and putting the letters in historical context. Photos. (Mar.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585441068
Publisher:
Texas A&M University Press
Publication date:
04/20/2000
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
326
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.77(d)

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