Pacific Glory: A Novel

Pacific Glory: A Novel

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by P. T. Deutermann

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A thrilling, multi-layered World War II adventure following two men and an unforgettable woman, from Pearl Harbor through the most dramatic air and sea battles of the war

Marsh, Mick, and Tommy were inseparable friends during their naval academy years, each man desperately in love with the beautiful, unattainable

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A thrilling, multi-layered World War II adventure following two men and an unforgettable woman, from Pearl Harbor through the most dramatic air and sea battles of the war

Marsh, Mick, and Tommy were inseparable friends during their naval academy years, each man desperately in love with the beautiful, unattainable Glory Hawthorne. Graduation set them on separate paths into the military, but they were all forever changed during the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941.

Glory, now Tommy's widow, is a tough Navy nurse still grieving her loss while trying to save lives. Marsh, a surface ship officer, finds himself in the thick of terrifying sea combat from Guadalcanal through Midway to a climactic showdown at Leyte Gulf. And Mick, a hotshot fighter pilot with a drinking problem and a chip on his shoulder, seeks redemption after a series of failures leaves him grounded.
Filled with wide-screen action, romance, and heroism tinged with the brutal reality of war, Pacific Glory is a dynamic new direction for an acclaimed thriller writer.

One of Library Journal's Best Historical Fiction Books of 2011

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Pacific Glory

A Novel

By P. T. Deutermann

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2011 P. T. Deutermann
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-6803-4


Guadalcanal, August 1942

"Mister Marshall Vincent, I'm ready to relieve you, sir."

"Mister John O'Connor. I'm so very glad you're here, sir."

"I'll bet you are," Jack said. "Still, the midwatch is no lovely prospect, either. What've we got?"

They were standing on the port side of the pilothouse, turning over the Officer of the Deck watch of the heavy cruiser USS Winston. Two more officers were doing the same thing a few feet away, turning over the junior OOD watch. Across the darkened pilothouse, the captain was dozing in his chair, which meant that all the watch standers were keeping their voices down. You didn't wake sleeping dogs, and you sure as hell didn't wake Captain Archibald Corley McClain III, not if you could help it.

Marsh recited the tactical situation. "Steaming in column formation, with Vincennes ahead and Astoria astern, two thousand yards interval. Darkened ship, battle condition II, modified material condition Zebra. Course three one zero, speed ten. Quincy is guide, and OTC is CO Chicago."

"Chicago?" Jack said. "I thought the officer in tactical command was the Brit admiral in HMS Australia."

"He and Australia apparently went to Tulagi for some kind of conference. That left Chicago as senior ship. There's another group of cruisers south of us, but nobody's told us where or who's in charge."

"Wonderful," Jack said. "Any night orders from Chicago?"

"Nope," Marsh said. "We haven't heard a word from them."

"Hearing from anybody?"

"Hourly radio checks, but just routine. We've got troops on the beach at Tulagi and over on Guadalcanal proper. That's all we know right now."

"Okay," Jack said, shaking his head. "What else you got for me?"

Marsh knew it was a pretty thin turnover, but the troops had just gone in a few days before, and it looked to them that the top brass were playing it by ear until the Japs responded in force to the landings. They'd sent one air strike already the previous afternoon, and one of the big transports was still burning to the south, the fire reflecting off the low overcast hugging the sound.

"The nearest hazard to navigation is Savo Island, bearing two five zero, eight miles. Visibility is darker than a well-digger's ass, and, so far, no Japs."

"That we know of," Jack said.

"That we know of," Marsh agreed. "And if they come, let us pray that they come in daylight."

They'd been briefed at an all-officers meeting earlier that a Jap task force had been spotted the day before, headed down from Rabaul toward the Slot, a narrow body of water running the length of the Solomon Islands. That could well put them off Guadalcanal sometime soon. As everyone knew, Jap cruisers tended to go fast.

"If they do come tonight, hopefully our two radar-equipped tin cans will see 'em."

"Amen to that," Jack said. "Picket stations?"

"Blue is out there somewhere to the northwest, above Savo. Ralph Talbot is northeast of Savo. They both have radar. We had one TBS check with Blue an hour ago. Lousy comms, but nothing to report."

They then reviewed the status of the main battery guns and the engineering plant. Nothing had changed since supper. "Okay, Beauty," he said. "I've got it. See you in six."

"I stand relieved," Marsh said and handed over the heavy 7 × 50 Bausch & Lomb binoculars. Then he turned toward the dark figures behind the helm and lee helm consoles. "Attention in the pilothouse: Mister O'Connor has the deck," he announced as quietly as he could.

There was a chorus of equally quiet aye-aye-sirs from the rest of the bridge watch. Marsh checked to make sure the captain was still asleep and then made his way aft to the door leading into the charthouse. The night was warm and muggy, and the darkness was absolute, with only the dimmed red lights from the companionway below showing as he went through the door. He hadn't been kidding about a night encounter with Jap cruisers. As assistant gunnery officer, he knew Winston's gun director optics were no match for the comparable Japanese equipment, not to mention that their cruisers were faster and better armed than the Americans.

He smiled as he went below. Jack had called him Beauty. He'd acquired that nickname during plebe year at the Naval Academy, back in 1928. Marsh was not a handsome man. In fact, "homely" would probably be the kindest description of his facial features. He was not quite six feet tall and had large ears and a long face with a bit of a lantern jaw, topped by an unruly shock of black hair that ended in a widow's peak between friendly farm-boy blue eyes. The day the brigade of upperclassmen returned to Bancroft Hall after their summer cruise, a firstie slammed into their plebe room, looked the fresh meat over while they stood at rigid, sweaty attention, focused on Marsh, and said, "Aren't you a regular beauty." There it was, forever and ever.

He got down to the main interior passageway and slipped awkwardly through the scuttle in the armored hatch. His eyes were heavy, and he made his way to his stateroom like a zombie. See you in six, Jack had said. With the ship at battle condition II, everyone aboard was standing port and starboard watches now, six hours on, six off. That routine had Marsh dragging his ass. Right now he had the slightly better deal, with the 0600 to noon watch in the morning, six hours off, then the eighteen to midnight. That sequence roughly lined up with his normal circadian rhythms. Jack had the noon to eighteen and then the dreaded midwatch, midnight to six in the morning, extended until the ship stood down from dawn general quarters. Still, they both had it better than the poor bastard Marines who were clinging to Henderson Field as hordes of insane Jap infantry gathered to probe their strength.

Winston's main battery of eight-inchers was manned up, with the gun crews permitted to "rest" on station in the gun turrets, handling rooms, and magazines. The ship was mostly buttoned up, with only certain scuttles open in the otherwise dogged-down armored hatches belowdecks. It was like an oven down below in officers' country with all the big hatches locked down, especially since their ventilators were running on low speed so that the big enlisted berthing compartments farther forward got more air.

Marsh made a pit stop at the forward officers' head to off-load six hours' worth of coffee and then went to his so-called stateroom. He kicked off his sea boots and dropped into the lower rack fully clothed. He and Jack O'Connor were roommates. The stateroom, which was eight feet long and five feet wide down on the second deck, was just aft and starboard of turret two's barbette. It actually had a porthole, but that, too, was dogged down. Marsh thought about opening it anyway to relieve the awful, sweaty South Pacific heat but settled for locking back the stateroom door and pulling the privacy curtain across. Then he fell back into his rack.

He was a long way from San Diego, both in time and distance. His mother still lived there; his father had passed on after a heart attack three years ago. Marsh had been born and raised there in the north county, in the village of Escondido, and had gone off to the academy in 1928, courtesy of an appointment from his father's law partner, now a congressman. Since graduation in '32 he'd been at sea on various ships in the Pacific Fleet, keeping his head down from the ravages of what they were calling the Great Depression. Many of his classmates had been forced out of the service because of the Navy's budget problems, and those who'd been retained had had their pay cut. He felt that it was fortunate he hadn't married, and often wondered how the guys who did get married made ends meet.

He'd only been in Winston for three months when the battle fleet was moved to Pearl. They'd just finished a shipyard overhaul and didn't come out until right after the attack on December 7. Now they were boring holes in the ocean in the steaming darkness around the island of Guadalcanal, a word none of them had even heard until a few months ago. Marsh didn't know which Navy headquarters genius had picked this hellhole to make a stand, but he fervently wished whoever it was could be sent out here to enjoy some six on, six off watches with the rest of them.

He could smell the sweat that had his khaki uniform stuck to 90 percent of his body. One of the ship's two freshwater evaporators was on the blink, so the whole crew was on water-hours, which meant one shower was allowed every three days. That was a Navy shower : Water on, water off. Soap down. Water on, water off. Out you get. He thought about sneaking down to the head to get a quick rinse and then was instantly asleep.

He dreamed that he was flying and then woke up with the sudden pain of crashing onto the steel deck next to his bed, the echoes of a huge explosion compressing his eardrums while the ship heeled over to starboard and then rolled back upright, covering him in personal gear, loose paperwork, and upset chairs. A fine acrid and oily mist suffused the air. As he tried to get up from under all the clutter, the ship was hit again. At that instant he was on all fours, and the steel deck tried hard to break both his wrists and knees. He yelled with the shock of it and flopped over on his side. This time the ship didn't heel over very much. He sensed that there was something significant about that, but his sleep-doped brain was too confused to focus. Then he heard men shouting out in the passageway, followed by a sudden roar of escaping steam coming from somewhere back aft. He thought he could hear the general quarters bugle alarm sounding above that thundering steam leak.

He couldn't use his hands, and both his kneecaps crackled in pain. He had to pry himself upright with his elbows. He grabbed for his kapok life jacket and battle helmet and dropped both of them when his hands turned to hot rubber. He felt the forward eight-inchers let go up above, their familiar rippling thumps almost drowned out by the steam eruption amidships. More men were yelling out in the main passageway, and he had to hang on to an overturned chair just to stand up. He felt a wave of bowel-liquefying fear sweep through him as he realized Winston wasn't coming back upright. Instead she seemed to be slowing in the seaway and listing ominously to port, her main hull girders groaning and grinding beneath him.

Marsh's general quarters station was Sky One, which was a forward five-inch gun director located high up on the superstructure above the bridge. Still hanging on with one elbow, he struggled into his life jacket and tied off the straps, using his better hand and his teeth. His battle helmet had disappeared, so he gave up on that and pushed back through the curtain into the passageway, only to be bowled over by a crowd of damage control repair-party men hustling aft, already masked up and unrolling fire hose in sodden canvas loops. He realized he was still in his socks and ducked back into the stateroom to stuff his feet into his sea boots. He thought he could hear the crack and banging of the five-inch secondary battery guns between salvos of the eight-inchers. Goddamned Japs must be pretty close, he thought. He knew he had to get topside on the double, but getting to his GQ station would require climbing some exterior ladders. There was no way in hell he'd be able to do that: His hands didn't work, and his kneecaps were grinding as he tried to walk across the slanting deck.

He followed the repair-party crowd back toward the main watertight hatch leading topside, realizing as he went that he seemed to be climbing. Then he was shocked to find that they were all sloshing through seawater. That meant she was settling by the bow as well as listing over to port. He actually didn't believe it until he saw a loose battle lantern lying on the deck, its light shimmering through the water.

Great God, he thought: If the second deck is flooding, she's done for.

"Now all hands, abandon ship, abandon ship," came over the ship's announcing system. The words were barely audible above the roar of escaping steam and the rising pandemonium around the forward hatch. The repair-party men dropped all their firefighting gear and began to bunch up at the top of the ladder, where only one man at a time could pass through the round scuttle. Marsh felt the water tugging at his shins and filling his sea boots. He had to jam a forearm into another cableway to keep from falling over. Everyone froze for an instant when the sound of incoming shells screamed through the air topside, followed by the crash of several hits on the armor belt and one huge explosion that rattled the big ladder in front of them on its latch pins. Then everybody was heaving and pushing to get to the scuttle, and there were even more men clawing their way back from the bow to get to that hatch.

"Undog the goddamned hatch," Marsh heard himself shout. "Next guy through, undog the hatch!"

The man at the top of the ladder turned to stare at him for an instant, then nodded and lifted himself through. Another brace of explosions rocked the ship, and they could hear the sound of steel shards whining through the compartments above them, starting a horrible chorus of screams topside. All the red passageway lights blinked out, leaving only two battle lanterns switched on near the ladder. Two more men made it through the scuttle. Marsh decided to just stand aside and let the panicking sailors fight their way up the ladder, everyone yelling at the man ahead of him to move it, move it. His hands were going numb, and it took everything he could do just to stand upright. Then the hatch lifted, and suddenly the men could go up two and three abreast. The water was thigh deep now on the second deck, and the ship was over at least ten degrees to port. He wondered if she would capsize before he got his turn on the ladder. There was light now that the big hatch was open, but it was the searing orange light of a gasoline fire, not battle lanterns.

He finally joined the diminishing stream of men clawing their way up the canting ladder, letting them push him along rather than trying to climb it. The moment he stumbled out into the main passageway from the hatch alcove, he was knocked flat on his stomach by a huge sailor who was running for his life with his eyes squeezed shut. An instant later, a half-dozen more incoming shells hit the superstructure, which was starting to hang over the water like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. One shell went off in the ship's post office, thirty feet forward of where Marsh lay on the deck. Shrapnel flailed the passageway in both directions, cutting men down everywhere, followed by a noxious cloud of smoke and burning paper. He tried to get up but was flattened again by another sailor who landed on top of him, screaming in his ear and bleeding all over him. Without the use of his hands and forearms, Marsh couldn't move. Another salvo of incoming shells hit along the port side, and he was suddenly grateful for the human cover when once again a hail of steel shards ricocheted all along the main passageway. He actually felt the man on top of him get hit and go limp.

Can't stay here, he thought. Have to get outside.

He humped his back to dislodge the wounded man on top of him. Then he started crawling on his belly over the bodies, now all piled up on the port side of the passageway as the ship leaned into her death roll. He was clambering as much on the bulkhead as the deck because of her list, and his teeth were chattering in fear. He could feel his hands splashing through a stream of blood and worse things as he slithered like a snake toward the nearest main deck hatch. Another barrage of howling shells slammed into the ship. He could hear the thunder of shell-splash water landing on the deck outside the hatch from the near misses. Each hit felt like a punch into his own guts, and he almost vomited in sheer terror.

A dead man was draped across the hatch operating handle, and the hatch itself was perforated with dozens of holes, through which bright white light now blazed into the smoke-shrouded passageway. Marsh nudged the corpse aside and lifted the handle with his shoulder. The hatch swung out by gravity, and, because of the extreme list, he fell through it and slid across the teak deck into the lower part of the lifelines.

He was blinded as the blue-white light from the sixty-inch carbon-arc searchlight of a Jap cruiser lit them up like some kind of baleful ogre eye. The steam escaping from ruptured lines in the engineering spaces drowned out every other sound, including the screams of the wounded littering the deck, their faces contorted in that harsh white light. There was a big gasoline fire amidships where the scout planes were stored, and another one forward, probably from the avgas storage tanks. The water was enveloping the bow by now, and the fire was turning into a cloud of orange-tinged steam. A wave came out of nowhere and buried him, which was when he realized that the portside main deck edge was fully awash. She'll roll at any second now, he thought. Go. Go now.


Excerpted from Pacific Glory by P. T. Deutermann. Copyright © 2011 P. T. Deutermann. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Pacific Glory 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
alanf18 More than 1 year ago
Many years ago while at my grandparents house I found a book by S.E. Smith titled: "The United States Navy in World War II." It was a very gripping description of the Navy's involvement in WWII told from the viewpoint of both, the commanders as well as those actually fighting the battles. You might read something from and admiral only to be followed up by a description from a ship's cook. I learned a great deal about the Navy's participation in WWII from that book - enough to make me enlist in the Navy later on. Reading P.T. Deutermann's fictional account of the battle in the Pacific was even more gripping than S.E. Smith's nonfictional account, and the description of the battles down to the finite details was absolutely accurate as compared to S.E. Smith's. This is my new favorite novel of all time and if you don't read it you sure are missing out! I will certainly read it again.
RRabbit More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of P. T. Deutermann for years. He's best when he writes about the Navy as he does in PACIFIC GLORY. The book follows three friends, a bomber pilot, a destroyer officer and a nurse from the battle of Midway through the Leyte Gulf. I endured the romances, but thoroughly enjoyed the account of shipboard life and I couldn't put the book down as I read the descriptions of the surface actions around Guadalcanal and Leyte Gulf. CAPT Deutermann's characters are very human, very real--afraid at times, brave at others. He does not shrink from dramatizing the the cost of war. James Hornfischer's NEPTUNE'S INFERNO and LAST STAND OF THE TIN CAN SAILORS provide histories of Guadalcanal campaign and the battle of Leyte Gulf with that same human touch: wonderful complements to this novel. CAPT Deutermann historical novel PACIFIC GLORY rings true.
Josh1919 More than 1 year ago
A very well researched, well told WWII story. You'd think yourself as an American right there in action in the air, land, or sea.
Jere74 More than 1 year ago
Having read "Edge of Honor" and so able to identify with both the period and issues I felt it would be hard to top this read. However, "Pacific Glory" did just that. I can say that this was the only read I have come across that at the end of the read I was moved to tears, which is totally out of character for me. P.T. is a master at re-creating the emotional issues that underly all the operational/mission decisions that must be met.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Congrats to P T Deutermann for his incredible book. A close look at the South Pacific navel battles of WW2, it is extraordinary. Wonderful and terrifying descriptions of navel battles at sea and in the air fill the pages of this book. A wartime romance and tragedy follow the narrative and give a picture of life during war. Worth reading twice. Having enjoyed all of Mr. Deutermann's previous books especially the navel novels, this would make a great read for almost everyone.
I_like_clean_reads More than 1 year ago
Great story about the Pacific theater during WWII. My reasons for giving it a 3 star rating instead of better was the lack of any references to the naval lingo and the uncalled for - IMO - sex scene between the Naval pilot and the nurse. I loved the story nonetheless when it told about the battles, etc., and felt it was so realistic, but really, really wished that the author had had some type of references in the back for those of us unfamiliar with naval lingo. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the book immensely. Even read some of the books that the author suggests about the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Very cool. Very interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a surprisingly entertaining look at the Pacific War from the perspective of two Naval Academy classmates, and the woman they both love---the widow of their best friend A must read for military history buffs!
Maddog20 More than 1 year ago
My father was in the Navy in WWII and I heard all sorts of stories growing up. The author's exciting and real portrayal of what the men in the Navy endured for our freedom, just amazes me. The fear was palbable. I still find it hard to believe the numbers men and women we lost in that war. Knowing they had a good chance of dieing and still charging into battle...that is true courage. The writer made the ecperience so real without a maudlin approach. Can't wait to find and read another of his books.
WonderWomanLS More than 1 year ago
This was a very enjoyable book. I was never sure exactly what would happen. It is a super book for someone interested in the Pacific front of WWII. Had it all some thrilling battle scenes, some romance (thankfully not the explicit stuff), some realism and some surprises! I recommend highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book makes you feel like you are there as history is happening. Very realistic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like stories of WW11 and Naval battles, then this is the book for you. I liked it but I am of that generation. The battle scenes are intense.
wetone More than 1 year ago
Deutermann has the inside track on Naval history. His knowledge allows his stories to have much more realism
SavannahJH More than 1 year ago
I love naval history and this book got my interest from page one. Deutermann's authors' notes separate fact from fiction for the reader. The book gave me some insight of what one could experience on a destroyer in combat, and then escaping from a sinking ship. The author's experience in the Navy make his books realistic, and leaves the reader questing to learn more. I also liked how he incorporated navy nursing in WWII into his book.
willy10 More than 1 year ago
A spellbinding narriative for anyone interested in WW Two
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good original story with a nice historic mix.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She st down udee the tree leopard was in.
rockgeorge More than 1 year ago
it was hard to put down, I would get so caught up in it. I am a retired sailor and father was a electriction mate 2nd class in wwii and my mother was a physical therapist for the army in wwii, my sister was a tech sargent who met her husband at the pentagon during viet nam. so Ihave lived a military live all my life and that was an excellent portrait of military life, I was in aviation in military so the taffey incident did occur as well as the cruiser battle of the canal and midway. there were some minor technical discriptions of the small carriars that were off, but overall a highly recommended book of wwii
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a child when Pearl Harbor was attacked but was aware of something very serious that all the adults around me were concerned about. I found this book very engaging as well as informative.
duncano More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy great character development, WWII-based adventure, naval combat and just a satisfying yarn, this fits the bill. One of the best historical combat adventures I've read set in the WWII Pacific theater. All tied very well into actual combat settings. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this story. as the author, I spent over 3 years on a Navy Destroyer and reeading the story brought me back to my Navy day. The terminology was great and accurate, I felt I was back on ship listing to the various commands. I felt for these guys, when a US Destroyer took on the pride of the Japanese fleet, one of their largest Battle ships...5" guns vs. 18" guns but these Destroyer sailors had guts and pride. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone, especially all former Destroyer men.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deutermann captures the gruesome impacts of Pacific Theatre WWII Naval battles. Graphic accounts of what it was like to be on ships and aircraft in these epic battles.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JOHN000 More than 1 year ago
I would say read the book.