This is the compelling story of an American crash boat crewed by unknown heroes during World War II in the South Pacific, whose dramatic rescues of downed pilots and clandestine missions off Japanese-held islands were done at great peril and with little fanfare. It chronicles ordinary young men doing extraordinary things, told to George D. Jepson by Earl A. McCandlish, commander of the 63-foot crash boat P-399. Nicknamed Sea Horse, the vessel and her crew were credited with over 30 rescues, fought a fierce gun battle with enemy forces, experienced life from another age in isolated native villages, were ordered on boondoggle missions, and played a supporting role in America's return to the Philippines.
George D. Jepson, editorial director for McBooks Press, previously worked as a journalist and corporate communicator. As a freelance writer and editor, he was a regular contributor to WoodenBoat magazine and various other publications. Jepson worked in the maritime book trade for more than two decades and founded Quarterdeck, a journal dedicated to celebrating maritime literature and art. He holds degrees in English and history, as well as an MBA. Jepson and his wife, Amy, live in Kalamazoo, Michigan.Earl A. McCandlish grew up in Dutchess County, New York. During World War II, he commanded the 63-foot air-sea rescue boat P-399—nicknamed Sea Horse—in the South Pacific with the 13th Army Air Force, earning the Bronze Star for “meritorious achievement.” McCandlish also received the Conspicuous Service Medal from the State of New York. He held an IAO degree from the State University of New York at Cornell and was a former town official in Poughkeepsie, where he resided until his death in 2000.
A vivid, intimate, and poignant record of 18 months of combat service in the South Pacific. . . . This book stands with Dick Keresey’s memoir, PT 105, as an essential record of small-craft combat in the South Pacific.
This would make a bloody good novel!
Crash Boat is an amazing blend of the Greatest Generation learning about the South Pacific overlaid with international politics and a brutal war. The writing is seamless, with the reader drawn in on page one. Stand by to be a couch potato—you won’t be disappointed.
Just when you thought every possible aspect of World War II in the Pacific had been covered to exhaustion, this fresh new memoir of crash boat service in Guadalcanal, New Guinea, and the Philippines turns up. Told in a no-nonsense but vivid style by the skipper of P-399, this is a true tale of service in an air-sea rescue boat, with storms at sea, daring rescues of crashed planes both ashore and at sea, and the welding together of a crew under wartime stress. A terrific read. —David Poyer, author of Overthrow and Violent Peace
Wartime memoirs are often action-packed and full of "derring-do." This one is different—in a good way. It is the story of a group of brothers and their challenging life in a war zone aboard a small wooden vessel. The Skipper reminisces about the crew's interactions with indigenous populations and provides wonderful insight into the nuances that need to be addressed when very different cultures must deal with each other under difficult circumstances. —Al Ross II, coauthor of Allied Coastal Forces