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Sea Stories: A Memoir of a Naval Officer (1956-1967)
     

Sea Stories: A Memoir of a Naval Officer (1956-1967)

by Gary Slaughter
 

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AT THE HEIGHT OF THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS, ENSIGN SLAUGHTER FOUND HIMSELF STARING EYE TO EYE WITH VITALI SAVITSKY, CAPTAIN OF A SOVIET SUBMARINE ARMED WITH A NUCLEAR TORPEDO.

On October 27, 1962, the USS Cony surfaced B-59, a Soviet submarine. Gary Slaughter, a 23-year-old US Navy Ensign, studied the sullen face of Captain Vitali Savitsky at a distance of

Overview

AT THE HEIGHT OF THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS, ENSIGN SLAUGHTER FOUND HIMSELF STARING EYE TO EYE WITH VITALI SAVITSKY, CAPTAIN OF A SOVIET SUBMARINE ARMED WITH A NUCLEAR TORPEDO.

On October 27, 1962, the USS Cony surfaced B-59, a Soviet submarine. Gary Slaughter, a 23-year-old US Navy Ensign, studied the sullen face of Captain Vitali Savitsky at a distance of only 200 feet. Slaughter, the only officer on Cony trained to communicate with the Russian Captain, had one objective: dissuade Savitsky from launching his torpedo tipped with a 15 kiloton nuclear device, which would have precipitated an all-out nuclear exchange that would have destroyed the world.

Sea Stories: Memoir of a Naval Officer (1956-1967) spans Slaughter’s naval service during the Cold War. Over 60 vignettes depict the danger of Navy life over the course of his naval career, including not only the incident with the Soviet submarine, but also:

•    a boiler explosion that kills two sailors

•    a sailor who, after too many beers, jumps into icy waters off the coast of Portland, Maine

•    Slaughter's near-drowning when he is dropped into rough seas while being transferred by high-line from his destroyer to an aircraft carrier

Finding humor and likability in the people and situations he encountered during his Navy career, Slaughter brings his experiences to life with the same writing skills found in his series of five award-winning Cottonwood novels set on the World War II home front.

“Slaughter is an undeniably talented writer, a master at describing lovable characters and an engaging story-telling narrative enriched with humor and originality.” – Midwest Book Review  

“Lieutenant Slaughter has served as my personal aide and the administrator of my organization, the Navy Board of Inspection and Survey, comprising over 300 naval officers and civilians. To perform this job well requires an officer having exceptional administrative and management ability. It further requires responsibility, tact, and a keen and astute mind. His military character is beyond reproach and his personal character is outstanding.”  – Vice Admiral John Bulkeley, one of the three most highly decorated heroes of World War II.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Foreword Review
Sea Stories
A Memoir of a Naval Officer (1956-1967)

Reviewed by Pallas Gates McCorquodale
August 5, 2016
Anyone with ties to the navy or an interest in the Cold War will want to experience Sea Stories.
Shedding light on some of the most infamous conflicts in United States history during the Cold War, Gary Slaughter shares his recollections of his direct involvement in Sea Stories: A Memoir of a Naval Officer (1956-1967), a gripping collection of vignettes fusing the optimism, morality, and patriotism of the era with hard facts and grim realities of naval warfare.
From his early years as an NROTC student at the University of Michigan, thankful for a monthly stipend of fifty dollars, through to an eventful rise to lieutenant with tours in Caribbean and Mediterranean waters, Slaughter details the highs and lows of life aboard naval destroyers, stateside and abroad, revealing formerly classified information while upholding the values and tradition of an officer and a gentlemen.
Compiled somewhat chronologically, with a few all-encompassing topical forays that jump backward and forward, each chapter paints a complete picture or slice of life during Slaughter's twelve years of naval service. Subjects range from idyllic convertible drives along the west coast to up-close encounters with the severe poverty of the Azores in the 1960s. Using dry humor and tact, Slaughter recounts with equal aplomb tales of stumbling into a Mexican red-light district and playing a round of golf at the Guantanamo Bay Country Club, complete with sand trap land mines.
Reminiscent of the times, the language and tone are occasionally dated with phrases such as "whale of a time" and "ye gads" peppering the dialogue. A few black-and-white pictures, including of the submarines, warships, and a young Ensign Slaughter's commissioning photo, are featured, although the colorful nature of the characters begs the inclusion of more.
Gaining notoriety, through recent publications and documentaries, is Slaughter's role in preventing a nuclear launch during an exchange with a Russian submarine while aboard the USS Cony, which he describes in dramatic detail. The controversy surrounding the Bay of Pigs, as well as hot topics such as desegregation and Kennedy's assassination, are explored from a unique perspective while maintaining an emphasis on respect, honor, duty, and friendship.
Anyone with ties to the navy or an interest in the Cold War will want to experience Sea Stories, particularly those familiar with the documentaries The Man Who Saved the World and The Silent War, both mentioned along with Peter Huchthausen's October Fury as relevant and relating to Slaughter's account. Taken as a collection of short stories or altogether, Sea Stories is sure to capture the attention of historians everywhere.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780974420684
Publisher:
Gary Slaughter Corporation
Publication date:
09/04/2016
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
298
Sales rank:
617,565
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Gary Slaughter was born and raised in Owosso, Michigan. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he served seven years, during the Cold War, as a naval officer primarily on anti-submarine destroyers. Following his distinguished Navy service, he became an expert on managing corporate information technology. He traveled extensively, lecturing and consulting to clients in the United States and abroad. In 2002, he put this career on hold and began to write the Cottonwood series, five award-winning novels, depicting life on the World War II home front. In Sea Stories: A Memoir of a Naval Officer, he reveals an incident that occurred on October 27, 1962 during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This incident was the closest that the Soviet Union and the United States ever came to having an exchange of nuclear weapons. However, the incident was classified as Top Secret under the terms of an agreement between Premier Khrushchev and President Kennedy that ended the crisis. After 40 years of keeping his secret, even from his family, the event was finally declassified when his story was revealed in Peter Huchthausen's 2002 book, October Fury. Since then, four documentary filmmakers sought his participation in developing a film to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He selected Bedlam Productions, whose movie, The King's Speech, won the 2010 Best Picture Academy Award. Fittingly, the Bedlam documentary was entitled The Man Who Saved the World. He was also interviewed and filmed for the BBC documentary, The Silent War. After having written and lectured extensively about the Cuban Missile Crisis for a dozen years, the author shares the fascinating details of his entire naval career in 60 vignettes comprising Sea Stories.

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