From the Back Cover
"The boat was eerily quiet and hot as an oven. Shirts came off and men were either in skivvy shirts or bare from the waist up. Every body glistened with sweat—some from the heat and some from just raw fear. Click . . . BANG! Click . . . BANG! Two more [depth charges], still very close. A couple of lightbulbs shattered. . . ." In this riveting personal account, an authentic American hero relives the perils and triumphs of eight harrowing patrols aboard one of America′s most successful World War II submarines. Courageous deeds and terror–filled moments—as well as the endless hard work of maintaining and operating a combat sub—are vividly recalled in James Calvert′s candid portrait. From rigorous training and shakedown cruises off the coast of New England, to tense patrols within shouting distance of Japan′s major cities, the progress of the newly commissioned USS Jack parallels Calvert′s own growth from callow ensign to charter member of one of the sharpest attack teams in the fleet. In June 1943, the Jack made its first patrol into Japanese waters, and Calvert began to build a reputation as a crack TDC operator—the crew member who set the torpedo′s course based on the approach officer′s readings. With Calvert at the TDC and his much admired skipper Tommy Dykers at the periscope, the Jack had five hits and four confirmed kills on its first patrol. The Jack′s fame grew. Despite recurring engine trouble, and the notorious failure of American torpedo detonators early in the war, the sub continued to take its toll on enemy shipping. At one point, Calvert hit an enemy vessel at 5,000 yards, roughly three times the maximum distance recommended for accurate torpedo shooting. The ship earned its nickname, "Jack the Pack," when a besieged Japanese admiral radioed for help, saying that he was under attack by a "wolf pack." Telling his story with sensitivity and great affection for his shipmates, Calvert combines an intimate knowledge of the nitty–gritty technical details of submarine warfare with the fast–paced action and nail–biting tension of a Tom Clancy novel. He relives long and terrifying hours spent hundreds of feet beneath the ocean′s surface, punctuated by the relentless click–BANG of exploding depth charges. He recounts the perilous nighttime cat–and–mouse games that Dykers played with convoy escorts, accompanied on the bridge by a crewman renowned for his night vision—and the disconcerting habit of singing "Nearer My God to Thee" whenever the situation got tense. And a lively account of a completely unauthorized tour of Tokyo before the official surrender recalls an escapade that nearly cost Calvert his career. Advance praise for Jim Calvert′s Silent Running "I am just one of many who experienced life on a submarine during World War II. Silent Running is a story sincerely told—free of any revisionism or cynicism—and I commend Vice Admiral Calvert for sharing this dramatic personal account of that difficult and exciting time." —President George Bush "Hardened old sub vet that I am, I still felt the need for two weeks R&R after reliving Jim′s only too realistic war patrolling adventures." —C. W. Nimitz, Jr., Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.) "I believe it is the best personal account yet written on U.S. submarine operations in the Second World War. . . . [Calvert] writes with lucidity and a rare candor. We get an extraordinary sense of what it was like, feeling the tensions and emotions, sharing the successes and disappointments. . . . This is a true story with real people, always gripping and sometimes tender. It is exciting to read and hard to put down. —J. L. Holloway, Admiral, USN (Ret.) President, Naval Historical Society Chief of Naval Operations, 1974–1978 "I knew Jim Calvert throughout the war, and in this book he has told the submarine story in a way that catches the flavor and tang of the real thing. This is the way it really was." —Frederick B. Warder, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.) Legendary WWII skipper of the Seawolf
About the Author
JAMES F. CALVERT, Vice Admiral, USN (Ret.), was one of the Navy′s most decorated officers in World War II. After the war, he became the second skipper to command a U.S. nuclear–powered submarine. In 1959, his ship, the Skate, broke through the ice to surface at the North Pole––the first ship of any kind to reach that part of the earth on the surface. In 1964, he became the second–youngest rear admiral in the Navy′s history. Admiral Calvert served as superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy and head of the Pacific fleet. After his retirement from the Navy, he became assistant to the chairman of the board of Texaco. Admiral Calvert is the author of Surface at the Pole, The Naval Profession, and A Promise to Our Country.