In the dark days of World War II, merchant mariners made heroic contributions to the eventual Allied victory and suffered tremendous casualties in so doing. Among these were the engineers who toiled deep in the bowels of the ship and suffered appalling casualties. After the war, engineering personnel were unlikely to talk about their experiences, let alone write them down. These modest and self-effacing men were more comfortable in a world of turbines and pistons, so they seldom brought their stories forward. Liberty's War sets out to explore the experiences of one such engineer, Herman Melton, from his time as a cadet at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy through his experiences at sea as a third assistant engineer.
Melton's story is representative of the thousands of Merchant Marine engineers who served on board Liberty ships during the war. Like many young Americans, he sought to do his part, and in 1942 he obtained an appointment to the newly created U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. After graduating from the academy in 1944, he shipped out to the Pacific Theatre, surviving the sinking of his Liberty ship, the SS Antoine Saugrain, and its top-secret cargo.
|Publisher:||Naval Institute Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Herman Melton (1920-2013) was a World War II veteran of both the Murmansk and Pacific convoys.
Will Melton, son of the author, retired in 2015 after forty years as a public relations officer and fund-raiser for schools, colleges, and scientific research organizations. His lifelong interest in military history was inspired by family trips as a boy to battlefields and history museums.
Table of Contents
Editors Note xi
1 War Clouds 1
2 Plebe Year 5
3 Destination Russia: SS Cornelius Harnett 16
4 Convoy HX-220: First Atlantic Crossing 23
5 Convoy JW-52: The Murmansk Run 29
6 Life in the Bull's-Eye 41
7 The Treacherous Voyage of Convoy RA-53 54
8 Arctic Warriors 67
9 A Foolish Cadet Stunt 85
10 Convoy ONS-174: Homeward Bound 89
11 Kings Point Upperclassman 97
12 A Wartime Wedding at the Academy 106
13 Across the Pacific for General MacArthur 114
14 The Sinking of the Antoine Saugrain 127
15 Marooned on Leyte 147
16 Witness to Annihilation 172
17 Peace and Postwar Reentry 192
Appendix 1 Men of the Cornelius Harnett, April 1943 203
Appendix 2 Captain A. Van Cromphaut's Report of the Attack on the Antoine Saugrain 205
Appendix 3 Men of the Antoine Saugrain, December 1944 208