Stealth Boat: Fighting the Cold War in a Fast-Attack Submarine

Overview

In this memoir, Gannon McHale gives readers a close-up view of life in one of those subs, USS Sturgeon (SSN-637). During 1967-70, the time period covered in this book, America was tortured by internal and external conflict. The war in Vietnam was unpopular, and the draft was still in operation. McHale, like countless other young American men facing the probability of being drafted into the Army and sent to war, chose to be proactive about military service and enlisted at the age of nineteen and was subsequently ...

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Stealth Boat: Fighting the Cold War in a Fast Attack Submarine

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Overview

In this memoir, Gannon McHale gives readers a close-up view of life in one of those subs, USS Sturgeon (SSN-637). During 1967-70, the time period covered in this book, America was tortured by internal and external conflict. The war in Vietnam was unpopular, and the draft was still in operation. McHale, like countless other young American men facing the probability of being drafted into the Army and sent to war, chose to be proactive about military service and enlisted at the age of nineteen and was subsequently assigned to the Sturgeon. Readers will come to understand how his years on the sub profoundly affected the way he lived the rest of his life. The book focuses on McHale's experiences and those of other men with whom he served who have remained lifelong friends. Humorous and irreverent without being disrespectful, the book provides a glimpse of what it was like for an enlisted man on board a fast attack submarine in the late 1960s and illustrates how men in dangerous situations create bonds to survive.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Stealth Boat is an elegant and unflinching memoir of life inside one of America's most accomplished Cold War fast attack subs. Energized with delicious details and smile-provoking humor, Stealth Boat explains the crucial symbiosis between sailors and their complex machine. Gannon McHale's book also reveals that the oft-overlooked human factor is as essential in the unforgiving world of submarine operations as high technology. Anyone fascinated with the story behind the story will find McHale's book irresistible." --Stephen Johnson, author of Silent Steel: The Mysterious Death of the Nuclear Attack Sub USS Scorpion

"Stealth Boat is a unique book in that the author, Gannon McHale, offers the reader an enlisted man's perspective of life aboard a U.S. Navy nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine, the USS Sturgeon (SSN637) during the Cold War. He writes an absorbing story using a most appealing conversational style. One is captured almost immediately by his detailed account of life aboard the attack boat, his association and lasting friendships with shipmates, underway operations, and 'Goin North' patrols into hostile waters to conduct underwater espionage against the Soviet Union." --Capt. James E. Wise Jr., USN (Ret.), author of U-505: The Final Journey

"Gannon McHale delivers with this highly enjoyable memoir of an enlisted man on a fast-attack submarine during the Cold War. The author's first-person narrative mixes laugh-out-loud humor in ports of call with high suspense chasing Soviet missile submarines at breathtakingly close quarters in the North Atlantic during the late 1960s. The incredible fetes of the Navy's stealth boat USS Sturgeon (SSN637) come to life in this insightful chronicle of the three years McHale spent in the Silent Service." --Carl LaVO, author of The Galloping Ghost: The Extraordinary life of Submarine Legend Eugene Fluckey

"Set against a backdrop of cultural anecdotes, music of the day, and world events delivered in a staccato style, the reality of life beneath the waves unfolds. Although others have done a more meticulous job of documenting the broader role of submarines in fighting the Cold War, as well as the role of Admiral Hyman G. Rickover's naval nuclear power program in revolutionizing the technology of submarines, Stealth Boat is unsurpassed in showing the impact on the thoughts and actions of the submariners involved."- Timothy J. Galpin, Journal of Cold War Studies

"Stealth Boat indeed! This boat and indeed the entire Sturgeon-class of 29 boats from the Sturgeon to the Silversides were the hot rods of the ocean and were the test beds for the later Los Angeles boats. The stories in this book are the stuff that is bantered about at SubVet meetings and conventions. They are what I remember of the 60's when I rode a boomer for 5 years. I even recognized two names in the book which surprised me. A handbook for Sturgeon sailors and an education for those that didn't ride these boats. It was a pleasure to see an important book written from the enlisted side of the spectrum. Thanks Gannon!" --Ron Martini, author of The Submariner's Dictionary

"To naval personnel the term 'shipmate' is sacred. McHale's spirited descriptions put the reader on board the nuclear submarine Sturgeon with him and his shipmates. They worked hard when on duty and squeezed every drop of pleasure out of their time off duty. He skillfully evokes the flavor of the late-1960s era when the United States was fighting a hot war in Vietnam and a Cold War at sea against the Soviets. His account is timely in that regard and timeless in showing us how submariners live and work." --Paul Stillwell, editor of Submarine Stories: Recollections from the Diesel Boats

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591145028
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2008
  • Pages: 187
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Gannon McHale is a New York-based character actor who has appeared on Broadway and in regional theatres across North America, Europe, and Asia during a thirty-year career. Most recently he appeared in the movie, Lincoln.
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Table of Contents

Decommissioning

Pt. I 1965-67 From Jacket and Tie to Bellbottoms 1

Pt. II 1968 Change of Command 51

Pt. III 1969 At Our Best 91

Pt. IV 1970 Transfer and Separation 131

Pt. V Looking Back 143

Charleston, 1994 151

Denouement 153

Epilogue: Afterlives 155

Author's Note 161

Notes 167

Glossary 169

Sources 177

Index 181

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    A Thrilling ride while getting to know the life of the enlisted men.

    Mr. McHale¿s laughter filled, suspense thriller is a great read, I highly recommend to all, readers of non-fiction and fiction. I was born in 1964 and got a real kick out of Mr. McHale's setting up of the wider culture, what was going on outside of the sub, very evocative. However the real blast is the one-two punch of feeling like I got to know these guys, they're funny quirks, pranks, and their dedication to doing a difficult job, with the most complex machine of their time, at the highest levels of achievement.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    A Great read for any age

    This book is a great chronicle during a time that has very few honest moments. This book is for people who love good storytelling and want to know what the actual life of a seaman would have been like during the late 1960's. This book lets you know not only what was happening during the authors life but keeps you up to date on everything in america that was influencing the actions of society and the government. <BR/><BR/>While reading this book it felt as though I had sat down with the author and a some other members of the crew and asked...."What was it really like?". I feel that Gannon McHale has done a wonderful job of being so honest in his storytelling that you can see why so many crew members trusted him with their lives and their stories.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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