Archive for the ‘The Book’ Category


The Book, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Sep 15 2010

In light of the fact that the trial was quite long and easily bogged down, and I’m in the midst of a bunch of family stuff that cannot be put off, we will no longer be following the Flier on the 66th anniversary.  The Board of Investigation into the loss of Flier and Robalo began on Thursday, September 14, 1944, and continued to Saturday, September 16.  A day or so later, the men started their journeys back to the US where they were going to be debriefed, thoroughly interviewed by the press (though with strict guidlelines about what could and could not be said, leading to some interesting news articles), then each to 30 days leave with his family then back to service, whether aboard Submarines or not would be up to the men.

While all this was going on, and before the men were allowed to write many letters home, the news of Flier’s demise was slowly leaking out.  Like the service today, the Navy wanted to wait  until they had informed the family members (by letter or telegraph) before the official announcement, but the fact that there were survivors of the Flier lead to articles saying most or all of the crew had been saved, leading to some crushed hopes for many people stateside.

Since this story will now become so complex, I’ll be spacing things out a bit for a few weeks.  I hope you’ll find it interesting, but it takes the pressure off of me to stay on timeline and allows me to NOT write mini-novels every day for the next two weeks.  We’ll catch up and start doing some more stuff again soon.

Oh, by the way, The “Look Inside” thing is up one my book at, so you can check it out.  The Kindle version will be coming soon (provided I don’t shoot Adobe InDesign).

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog entry…The men reported to the “courtroom” such as it was, aboard Submarine Tender Eurayle.

The last time Captain Crowley had faced a panal of people questioning his ability to command the Flier, he acted as his own defense attorney.  This time, he opted for representation and requested Commander Charles “Herb” Andrews, commanding officer of USS Gurnard who had pulled into Fremantle at about the same time the Flier’s had returned.  He had also been “recruited” into this position less than 12 hours before, so this was going to be interesting for him.

Admiral Christie, likewise, opted for counsel and requested George Patterson to stand with him.

The first morning was a lot of preliminary items.  Crowley confirmed that he was the Commanding Officer at the time Flier was lost.  Admiral Christie confirmed that he was the person who assigned Flier and Robalo the routes they took.

Admiral Christie was the first one in the hot seat.  He was thoroughly questioned by Admiral Daubin about how and why submarines were routed to their various posts from Fremantle.   The reasons why various submarines were routed the ways they were routed were really complex. Even the phases of the moon were taken into account (because the phases could impact depths of water and strengths of tides during various points in the phases) when planning submarine routes.  No submarine could travel with another, no route could become a beaten path lest the enemy start to patrol more often.

Balabac, as it came out during the trial, was fairly well traveled, and had been crossed over 40 times in the 18 or so months since Christie commanded Fremantle.  (about 2-3 times a month)  During the investigation, Christie even referenced the fact that since the first suspicions that Balabac might be mined back in February, the Crevalle (three times), Tinosa, Puffer, Ray Bluefish, Bonefish, Roblalo (during her last completed patrol)and Lapon had all safely crossed Balabac and, as a matter of fact, the route Crevalle used when she crossed it in 8 May 1944 was given to BOTH Flier and Robalo to help them get through the strait (the route is listed point by point in the records).

With the loss of the Flier on the heels of the suspected loss of the Robalo, Balabac was ordered closed until further notice.

Christie also listed the reasons why each submarine was routed through the various places and the disadvantages to each when the decision so send this boat this way and that boat that way were made.  How depths and currents made some places unminable but more traffiked and patrolled.  How Balabac strait could be crossed through a number of channels:  Middle, Main, Lumbucan and Natsubata, but only Natsubata could not be mined in the deep water routes, which is why all submarine captains were recommended to cross there.  It was well known that the water in Natsubata was over 100 fathoms (600 feet) deep everywhere, though a strong cross current was also there, pushing submarines west.

Next up, was Captain Crowley, and we start learning more about what all happened that night…


The Book | Posted by Rebekah
Aug 21 2010

Please don’t miss my post below for today’s entry in Flier’s story, but I wanted to add an announcement!

If you want to purchase an autographed copy of my book, “Surviving the Flier”  you can finally do so on this website!

There is a shopping cart linked to the Surviving the Flier page here, and I will send one to you.  If you want it personalized, just drop a line to me at telling me who you are, your order # and how you’d like me to sign the book for you, and I’ll be more than happy to do so and mail it right out to you.

If you just want the book, you can get it on Amazon ($14.99) (UPDATE 8/23:  I told Amazon about Barnes and Nobles Price, so now both sites are offering Surviving the Flier for $10.79) ,and  Barnes and Noble, ($10.79)

If you live in Germany, believe it or not, you can order from here for 12,99 Euros

Okay, now I found my book listed in Estonia.

And even my friends in the UK can order through the UK version of Amazon.

I’m sorry if this sounds like bragging, but this is just too fun, almost surreal, to actually see my book in print and available world wide thanks to the Internet.  Who knows if anyone there will ever buy it, but they have the option!  (Though it’s still in English.  They can learn WWII Submarine terminology and slang.  That could be interesting.  Not necessarily useful…might not even be safe, but interesting…)

Next up, the e-books and the Kindle books, then on to the audio book!

USS Redfin earns more awards, and USS Flier keeps plowing north

The Book, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Aug 06 2010

Today at Fremantle the Redfin held a second awards ceremony.  The whole crew was awarded a Submarine Combat Insignia and George Carinder was awarded a Silver Star for his part in the landing party from Redfin’s second patrol.

Two men, Gilbert Bowles and William Yeager reported aboard, and one man, Lt. Wallace Babbitt, was detached.   Finally, a a quarter to eight in the evening, Redfin pulled up anchor and pulled out of Fremantle, heading out on her fourth patrol.

USS Flier is approaching Lombok Strait, her assigned entrance to the Japanese territory.  It was going to be a difficult transit, but they had done it before, and could do it again without a problem.

Or so they thought.

Ordered the books today, they should be there in time.  We’re working on the order forms on this website this weekend so for those of you who cannot come to the Memorial Service but want a copy of the book, this’ll be the only place you can find it until Amazon gets it up, which, according to my reps and the press, will take up to six weeks!  It looks fantastic, I’m really pleased, and if any of you are artists out there, you know how rare it is for an artist to be pleased with their own work.  I just hope the rest of you think that this is a good book!

If all goes well, the e-books and Kindle versions will be up in a couple of days too.

For those who we’ll meet at the memorial service on  Friday, I can’t wait.

Book Proof!

The Book, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Jul 28 2010

It’s here!  It’s here!  It’s here!

Actually, it was here on Monday.  But between the camera being dead, and my schedule and finishing a surprise that I hope the families of the Flier crew will love, I hadn’t gotten around to taking proper photos.

But I have now.  Here we go.

There's the front cover. What do you think? (Seriously, I'd welcome the feedback)

There it is in all its glory.  This is  a proof, meaning it’s for the author’s eyes only, and it’s a last gasp chance to make sure everything is perfect, all photos, graphics, wording, everything.

It’s a good thing too, because despite my every effort, I’ve had to replace five photos that came out too dark and a handful of typos and some stuff I forgot about last minute, including three thank yous and seven bibliographic references.  Thank goodness, they only charge for one more upload rather than per correction!  (If you purchase this book and happen to find a typo or something PLEASE don’t tell me for at least a week!  I’ll need the time to adjust to not-panic drive!)

This is a pretty cool book, even if I am prejudiced.  Here’s the start to Chapter One:

The opening to Chapter One. That is an actual photo of the crew of the Flier likely receiving their awards for the stellar job done on the first patrol. I wish there was a date for this, whether it happened shortly after Flier arrived, or shortly before she left, but a number of men on the Flier received commendations such as Bronze Stars and Silver Stars, and Crowley received a Navy Cross. If you're curious about the coffee reference in the opening pages, that's a true reference. Al remembered this strange thing about the Flier crew: they insisted on Hills Bros. coffee, and nothing else. Though he couldn't taste a difference, he said some of the crew were dead serious about that coffee.

And another random spread in Chapter 2 with a map included.  I was able to put over 20 maps, photos and diagrams, though they are not evenly spaced throughout the book.  Since obviously, none of the men were carrying a camera during their escape, there are few photos in the middle of the book.

From Chapter Two where Al and the other officers learned where the Flier was going for her second patrol. In order to keep submarines as safe as possible, only the Commanding Officer was told where they were going before the submarine left port. If, like Flier's case, they had to stop somewhere to refuel, no one else was told where they were headed until after the submarine had left the last vestiges of Allied civilization behind. Thanks to the later investigation and the Operation Orders of the Flier, we know where they were supposed to head, and how and when they were supposed to get home, had Fate not intervened.

Despite the title and the fact that this book is centered around the doomed second patrol of the Flier and the escape of the eight Fliers themselves, there are a number of backstories and flashbacks in this book to try and flesh out Flier’s life and that of her crew before the explosion.  The most frustrating thing was, of course, with eighty four men onboard Flier, I couldn’t feature or name them all during the course of the book, but I hope this shows a good cross section of who these guys were.

So its 294 pages long, 14 of which is Bibliography alone  (I might shrink the text in the Bib to give me more room if I need it).

As soon as the proof is re-sent with the final final FINAL (I hope) revisions, we’ll finish up the e-books starting with the Amazon Kindle version.  I’ll let you know when we get that up for those who are interested in that sort of format rather than a hard copy.

We were hoping to do a Barnes and Noble Nook version, but we can’t seem to find any information on how to convert these books into that format.  If you know, please contact me about how to do that.

Audiobook version will be coming.  It just might not be ready for the launch.  Sorry.  It’s coming, I promise.

Well, now back to work.  I have a deck log to photograph, a DVD to create, and another Exhibit to design.  I’m swamped.  (in a good way)

And where was Flier, Redfin and Robalo? Robalo is definitely lost now, though how many of her men remain alive and/or free or imprisoned is still a matter of debate.  Flier is in drydock having her starboard mechanical everything thoroughly gone over, and the Redfins are reporting back on duty.  The Coastwatchers are well and settled in Brooke’s Point, establishing one radio station on the beach and one on the side of Addison Peak a mile or so inland.  They have no idea Balabac Straits are definitively mined (it was assumed, not known that Balabac was mined at this time) and their radios are having problems again anyway, so they haven’t told HQ.  This fact will have deadly consequences for more than the submariners.

USS Flier, reporting for duty

Memorial Ceremony, The Book, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Jul 25 2010

Well, two days ago, the Flier’s men reported for duty.  Flier had been worked over through the past two weeks under the command of a Relief Commanding Officer, whose name is not recorded (whoever he was, he had been reassigned out of Australia by the investigation  in September).  Following the refit, a Training and Fire Control Officer, Captain George Patterson, was assigned to Flier to run training runs and practice firing  drills.  These were customarily done for two reasons.  One, there were often new crewmemebers onboard a departing submarine.  As much as one-third of the crew could be new and these new men and the established crew needed a chance to work together and mesh in less-stressful circumstances.  This also gave the CO and XO an opportunity to observe the crew and get rid of men who showed signs of high nervousness and stress, indicators that they would not be able to thrive or be an asset the 50-80 day patrol.    Flier carried, according to the investigation following her loss, thirteen new crewmen. One was a new ensign, Philip Mayer, and the rest were enlisted.  I do not have an exhaustive list of the new men, but I know that Fireman Elton Brubaker and Fireman Donald See were assigned to Flier at Fremantle.

The second reason was to allow the homeported training officer a chance to watch the submarine’s CO, XO and crew in action, and report back to HQ.  If a CO in particular showed signs of being too passive, too abusive, or otherwise ineffectual, he would have to be removed from command, likely on the next time the submarine came into port.  (If a CO was so abusive it was unlivable, then the crew would more than likely have reported the CO long before now, and his removal would have been already been assessed and or completed before the crew reported back aboard.)

Today, Flier was in the waters west of Perth, running her engines at high speeds, low speed, diving, surfacing, testing her engines and props and hull.  This test was primarily to listen to the submarine, and see how she sounded.  A Diesel submarine, properly shaped and running, is almost undetectable underwater (this is still true, a modern diesel sub is quieter than a nuclear submarine), but slight variations in the propellers, a dent or bulge in the hull, worn bearings, misaligned struts, could cause bubbling or swishing noises that a surface ship could use to find a submerged sub.

And Flier proved why these tests were necessary.  Her starboard prop was very loud, so Flier turned to head back for Perth to see what the trouble was.

On the book front, the proof was mailed overnight air mail to me via UPS.  Alas, mailing something via overnight mail at noon on Friday means it turns into three-day mail, and will be delivered on Monday.  Using the tracking number, I discovered that the book is in fact, at the UPS depot here in my town, and a part of me is sorely tempted to break in, find my package, and leave a note.

I’m fairly certain that will get me arrested though, so I’m resisting!

On the Memorial front, we have some rather funny news.  Turns out, there is a change of command at the submarine base in San Diego on…yup, Friday August 13, 2010.  So a speaker hasn’t been secured just yet, as quite a few people were scheduled to be there.  But the Navy, who is the one who sends someone to these National Naval Memorial Services, assured us that they will be sending an excellent speaker.  In the meantime, even without a speaker, details of that weekend are coming together to help us honor these men and their memories.

100th Post

The Book, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Jul 22 2010

I wish I had a more interesting post for the 100th post on this site, but today is rather quiet.  Tomorrow, the 23rd, is the day the men of Flier report aboard for training duty before leaving for Flier’s second patrol.

I wish I knew what they were doing.  All I know about Al’s movements at this time is he bought three boomerangs and a lamb skin rug and mailed it home to his family.  (One of the odd blessings about researching the Navy is the paperwork is immense and all filed, usually in some kind of “-plicate”  (Duplicate, Triplicate…)   Some of the guys probably got Digger Hats, an Australian kind of Cowboy hat that was often purchased by American sailors on R&R.

Flier and Redfin meanwhile are being fitted out by the Submarine Tender Orion, who is in the process of reloading all her own stores  since she has received orders to leave Fremantle and head for the port of Mios Woendi on Papua New Guinea.   Flier, Redfin and Jack will be her last three submarines to outfit before heading out herself.

Fremantle is absolutely packed with American Submarines right now, coming and going.   Flier came to port on July 5.  The day before, the Gunnel and Muskallunge also came to Fremantle.  Since Flier arrived, the Harder, Redfin, Hake, Jack, Haddo, Paddle and Mingo arrived.  The Cod, Gunnard, Ray, Aspro, Puffer, Bluefish, Raton, Guitarro, and Rasher all left Fremantle at the same time.  If you think every submarine carried on average 80 people at this time (and often more), that means that approximately 1,520 submarine sailors filtered through Fremantle’s North Warf during the month of July alone.  This doesn’t include the sailors stationed in Fremantle on the Orion and Griffin, the relief crews, and the submarines and destroyers across the way that belonged to the Brits and Dutch.

Memorial Booklet is now done, and I’m trying to learn how to do three dimensional modeling on Photoshop.  This should be interesting.

My husband and I are working on setting up e-books for those who prefer their books that way.  We’re working on Kindle, Nook, (which I keep calling “Vook” much to my husband’s amusement) and iPad versions in addition to a .pdf, so those who prefer their e-books, we’ll probably have a format for you.  We’re not prejudiced.

An audiobook is on its way, but at the moment, we’re looking into how to do that, whether to hire out studio time, or what.  I’ll keep you posted on what that is.

I’m expecting the proof of my book any day now.  This is a copy of the book created to let an author, editor, ect. take a look at the book in the finished form to make sure this is exactly what is wanted.  The bookblock (interior of the book) has been accepted and now, as soon as the cover is accepted (or not) the book will be shipped to me in finished form so I can take a look at it.  I can’t wait.

Exhibit update and Dive Detectives

Memorial Ceremony, The Book | Posted by Rebekah
Jul 17 2010

Well, the book has been submitted to the publishers, and I’ll get a proof back in five days.

It’s called Surviving the Flier.  It’s 294 pages long, with lots of maps and photos. Most books these days do the whole, half the books, a bunch of glossy pages with photos, and the other half of the book.  Personally, that drives me nuts, since that interrupts the flow of the words and the photos cover the entire span of the story, without consideration of where you are in the story.  This publisher won’t do that, so the photos are placed where they are actually relevant, as well as the maps.   Thanks to the Official Navy Photos of Flier (of which there are far too few) and the Jacobson and Liddell families, there are more photos in this book than the average, some which haven’t been seen before.  I hope you all like it.  I’m rather proud of it, and as an artist, I’m usually the most critical of my own work.

The temporary exhibit is well on its way, and will be in the same general area as the future permanent exhibit.  The area used to be our library, but that was purged of all non-reference books, and moved into another area of the museum.  The walls were painted black and we’re working on lighting and displays.  We’ll have some authentic artifacts on display this time, though what we’ll have permanently on display will partially depend on sensitivity of the artifacts to light.  Give me a few days now that the book is done (and once I finish the memorial booklet) and I’ll see what I can post about the exhibits.

The “Submarine Graveyard” episode of Dive Detectives  has been delivered, and is on site in preparation for the memorial weekend.  It will be showing in our 72-seat theater which has really comfortable seats and a fantastic sound system.

Anyway, it’s late, and after chasing my kiddos around on four hours of sleep a night for most of the week, I need to head for bed.  The good news is, I should be more regular updating the blog from now on, especially updating some of the pages.

Good night all, I can’t wait to meet many of you!

Book, Exhibit, and more

The Book, The Exhibit | Posted by Rebekah
Jun 02 2010

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to update anyone about the book or exhibit or memorial service.

The memorial service will take place around the 13th, though I have yet to get a solid answer and when the public service will be.  I will be meeting with people next week who hopefully can answer those questions and I can get that stuff nailed down.  So to those of you who have contacted me recently asking for more details about the memorial service, I’m not ignoring you.  I just know about as much as you do.

The book is progressing nicely.  ISBN numbers and all that, so it will appear on Amazon when the time comes.  My editors will hopefully get back to me soon (I’m meeting with a couple in a few days  with one, and another one has been in contact with me.  Each is helping me with different aspects of the book) and I’ll start the final pass on the manuscript.  Still tinkering with the cover, but I’m at a point now that the book size has to be chosen before I can go much further.  Another thing that will be set in a week.  We’re still on track though.

I was recently loaned a copy of Flier’s Deck Log which starts on the day of her commissioning  to just two days short of her arrival in Fremantle after her first full War Patrol.  The deck log following this one likely went down with the Flier.  What’s  really interesting what is different between this and the War Patrol Report.  The Deck Log, when Flier is underway, lists everything that happens during a 4 hour time period every day.  0000-0400 hours (midnight to 4 am) 0400-0800 hours (4 am to 8 am) and so on.  On a boring day, the War Patrol report may list the noon Longitude an Latitude reading and nothing.  The Deck Log will start off with a statement of Underway as before on this course, at this speed, using this many engines, and then track any course change, battery charge, exercises or drills done that day, quick dives, surfaces, or personnel issue.

Conversley, the War Patrol Report, will be more detailed on days when there was an attack, though it’s obvious that the Deck Log provided some source material.  The Longitude/Latitude reports are found only in the War Patrol Report, which is where I’m getting the locations of the Flier, Redfin and Robalo, not the Deck Log.

One of the strange things about this particular Deck Log is the first six weeks are typewritten and very clearly copied.  But then, from December to April, the Deck Log is handwritten, and in places, the writing is either faint or fading, or else poorly copied.  I’m getting to know each person’s handwriting, and in fact, can identify the men from their hands.  Casey wrote lightly, and is often difficult to read, though his lettering is quite open and easy to read when it isn’t too faded.  Liddell has a strong hand, neatly legible and easily read.  Germershausen’s hand is very tight and dark, as though he pressed the page heavily.  I wonder if that was a reflection of his character (and if his name doesn’t sound familiar, that’s because he was transferred to the Sunfish on 21 March 1944, while Flier was in drydock.)

Handwriting being so personal and unique to each individual, this makes me feel closer to these men.  One thing is for sure though:  every one of these guys has better handwriting that most of us today!

Fun with Graphics

The Book | Posted by Rebekah
May 13 2010

As anyone who has ever worked with the graphics presentation for a large project can tell you, it’s a lot more complicated than you may think.  When working with a corporation, they tend to have standards for presentation and colors that can be used, and those colors are VERY specific.  U of M is not just Blue and Gold, trust me, they have a VERY specific blue and gold in mind, down to the amounts cyan, magenta, yellow and black that are in each color.  (Heck, it would not surprise me at all if they named it “U of M Blue” and “U of M Gold”.)

So I did that for the Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum a while back for their main exhibit hall, and when the Flier project ramped up suddenly this winter after the announcement of her discovery, I did a related one so this unit has a distinct feel that is still related to the Main Exhibit Hall below it.

And that graphics standard has passed into the look of this website, the letter head, the business cards, and now, the book.

I’ve been monkeying around with the cover for  a while now, and I think I really like this one, so I thought I would put it out there to see what some of you think.

When  first started working with graphics and ideas for the Flier, the image of a set of footprints coming up out of the beach really struck me, but it took me a long time for me to get it to work.  I also colored the jackets and faces of the guys on the Flier, as an attempt to kind of bring them to life a little bit more.  Sometimes, I know at least for me, since color photos were so new during WWII, and we see so much black and white footage and photos of WWII that they always seem removed from modern life.  I love seeing the few color photographs of WWII that I can find since that vivid color always seems to reach out to me, make the scene more tangible, more realistic.  So I colored the men on the cover.

I don’t think I’ll do it to any internal photos, both due to extra cost and because the coloration IS just guess work, but I think I rather like this.

It ended up being more colorful than I originally planned, (and now that I’ve pasted the cover in here, it’s a LOT more vivid than it is on my Photoshop program, I may have to re-adjust before final publishing) but these colors are still within the graphics standards.

What do you think?

Exhibit and Book Update

The Book, The Exhibit, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Apr 19 2010

Well, I am on track to have the book through its fourth/fifth/sixth draft (depends what section you’re reading) by the end of the week.  Some information I’ve received lately helped me to flesh out some more people and add some touches here and there.  Then it’s off to my editors, a final re-write, and off to the publishers!  Yay!

Now if only those chapters could edit themselves, because I HATE editing.  Oh well.

The museum where the exhibit will go has finished doing all the crazy stuff that generally comes up this time of year in preparation for the tourist season.  While we are open all year, our busy season is, of course, Memorial Day to Labor Day.  The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend will be the Lost Boat Ceremony, where we remember all 52 boats lost during WWII with a ring of a sub bell and a flower in the water.  Silversides looks so beautiful with all those carnations floating around her.  Then of course, she fires her engines at the close of the ceremony, and you can’t see anything but the black smoke!

But since that stuff has been moved out of the way, we’re back to working full-time on the Flier exhibit, and hopefully, I’ll have some updates here in the next couple of weeks.

Dive Detectives has now aired the USS Flier episode in Canada and the UK, but there are no officially announced plans to air it in the United States as of yet.  I’m not sure why there’s a delay in the States, but I hope that not only the Flier episode but all six are shown.  Two of those episodes cover Great Lakes shipwrecks: the iconic Edmund Fitzgerald, and two 1812 shipwrecks.

One of the fascinating things about ships that sink in the Great Lakes is the freshwater preserves many of those ships in nearly perfect conditions (minus a few tons of zebra mussles).  Unlike the ocean, where ships, especially wooden ships, will eventually wear away (or are eaten away) to nothing, Great Lakes wrecks remain standing, sometimes their ropes and riggings still intact.  What Dive Detectives found out about the Fitzgerald was apparently enough to cause Gordon Lightfoot to change one of the lyric lines of his legendary “Ballad of the Edmund Fitzgerald“.

So where was Flier, Robalo and Redfin 66 years ago today? Flier is starting her trials off the coast of California, to catch and major, or even minor, problems while she’s still within easy reach of one of the biggest and best repair yards in the country.  She’s diving deep, surfacing quickly, doing everything she can to shake any potential problems loose, because the last thing you want to find out during a depth charge attack is that you should have tested her a little harder when you had the chance.

Redfin is closing out her second patrol.  She patrolled around the south-eastern portion of the Philippines and has had a lot of successes.  She took out four frieghters, and one destroyer, survived a depth charge attack and radioed Fremantle that she was coming home.  Her patrol isn’t quite finished yet, as she’ll soon learn, and what’s about to happen would have a big impact on the Flier survivors.

Robalo is crossing into enemy territory near Timor Island.  She’s about to earn a few stripes.