Tales From a Tin Can: The USS Dale from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay
By Michael Olson, illustrated by Marlene Olson
Hardcover, illustrated, 336 pages
Published by Zenith Press March 2007
Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
The USS Dale (DD-353) was one of eight 1,500 ton Farragut class destroyers built in the mid 1930s. Dale was moored at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on 07DEC41, and was one of the few ships able to get underway during the attack. She participated in the Battle for Guadalcanal, and spent most of 1943 in Aleutian waters. There she was an active participant in the little known Battle of the Komandorski Islands, helping to screen the USS Salt Lake City (CA-25) against a superior Japanese cruiser force. From there she was active in the amphibious landings in the Central Pacific, her last major operation being the Okinawa Campaign.
This book is written in an unusual style. The author presents a brief overview of the general situation of the war at the time to give the reader context. This is usually followed by an entry from Dale’s War Diary to establish the ship’s part in the overall scheme of things. Then there are several personal recollections and anecdotes from various members of the crew detailing their observations as the events unfolded. This paradigm is then repeated as the Dale moves through the Pacific War.
I enjoyed the book, firsthand accounts are always interesting. I did find it a little difficult to establish continuity with the various sailors’ narratives, it would have been helpful to identify the individual by rate as well as by name. I also feel obliged to point out that while the Dale was at Pearl Harbor during the attack, at no time did she enter Tokyo Bay in spite of what the subtitle states. Overall a good read, one which I can recommend.