Eighty feet long, built of layered mahagony and powered by three monstrous 1500-horsepower V-12 engines, the US Navy’s Patrol Torpedo (PT) boats screamed across the water at over forty knots. They were not only fast, but also armed to the teeth, bristling with a deadly array of machine guns, autocannon, torpedoes and depth charges. Duty aboard the boats was often reserved for the spirited, the aggressive, and the very young, with the average age of a PT sailor being twenty-four years of age. The “mosquito boats” carried out a variety of missions during the war, including scouting and reconnaissance, search and rescue, interdiction of supply routes, strafing of enemy shore installations, supporting coast watchers and special operations forces, and even putting armed crewmembers ashore to perform commando-style raids on far-flung enemy outposts.
The boats were used in every theater of the Second World War, but they are most famous for their daring exploits in the South Pacific, where they were the US Navy’s first line of defense against the “Tokyo Express,” the nightly attacks of Japanese destroyers against American forces on Guadalcanal. Dark Nights, Deadly Waters tells the story of the first PT boats deployed to the fetid and malarial island of Tulagi, in the desperate early days of America’s “island hopping” campaign across the Pacific. Using a gritty and evocative narrative style, citing first-hand accounts, after-action reports and official navy documents, Dark Nights, Deadly Waters tells of the austere conditions under which the sailors lived and worked, and the highly-dangerous nocturnal missions they performed.
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Avenging Pearl Harbor describes in vivid detail the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, telling the story of the severe damage dealt to the battleships Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, California, and Tennessee and the incredible acts of courage performed by the sailors of each crew that morning. It continues with how each ship was raised and repaired—a project Herculean in scope—and the mustering of new commanders, officers and crewmen. It details the final drama of their revenge three years later as each of the five ships returns to the battle fleet, and their ultimate triumph at the Battle of Surigao Strait.
"The author has a very engaging 'storytelling' style of writing. He provides an interesting and unique account of the battleships present at Pearl Harbor in December 1941, their subsequent resurrections, reassignments, and ultimate destiny."
NAVAL HISTORICAL FOUNDATION
"A wonderful narrative about the death and resurrection of the dreadnoughts of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in World War Two."
"Lloyd does a good job of describing the challenges—and sometimes the horror—of salvaging these ships in Pearl Harbor."
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The Great Desert Escape tells the fascinating story of how twenty-five determined German sailors tunneled out of the Papago Park POW camp in Phoenix, Arizona and attempted to flee to Mexico across the unforgiving Sonoran desert.
"With all of the emphasis on Allied POW escapes over the years, it is interesting to learn about the same from the German perspective."
NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS
"The Great Desert Escape is an extremely well-written account... an enlightening, enjoyable, and extremely quick read that brings to life the little-known history of Axis POWs held in American camps during World War II. If your measure of an interesting book (that also holds your attention) is that it makes you read more information on the various topics discussed within, then The Great Desert Escape is for you."
MILITARY REVIEW - THE PROFESSIONAL JOURNAL OF THE U.S. ARMY
'Wildly entertaining true story...Well researched, I was captivated reading about the ingenuity and ineptitude throughout the escape."
From the deserts of the American Southwest, to the jungles of the Philippines and the barren wilderness of Siberia - A gripping collection that showcases the most famous prisoner of war escapes in the history of modern warfare.
Keith Warren Lloyd's Above and Beyond is the incredible true story of Frank Luke Jr., the first aviator to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Born in Phoenix in 1897, Luke was an adventurous young man who roamed the still-untamed Arizona backcountry on horseback. When America entered the First World War in 1917, Luke became a fighter pilot in the newly-formed U.S. Army Air Service and was soon serving with a front-line squadron in France. Despite being seen as a "high-strung, excitable boy," scorned by his squadron mates and frequently at odds with his commanders, Luke became one of the most revered fighter aces on the Western Front. Exhibiting great audacity and skill in combat, he quickly racked up an impressive number of air-to-air victories, many of them against the heavily-defended German observation balloons which few pilots dared to attack. The popular press would label him "The Arizona Balloon Buster." Above and Beyond chronicles Luke's most daring mission of all on September 29, 1918, which cost him his life, and for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
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Keith Warren Lloyd is an author and historian, a US Navy veteran, and a retired firefighter. Keith graduated from Arizona State University, where he studied history and political science. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Keith's newest work is Dark Nights, Deadly Waters: American PT Boats at Guadalcanal, released by Roman and Littlefield's Lyons Press in November 2023. He is also the author of the following titles:
Avenging Pearl Harbor: The Saga of America's Battleships in the Pacific War. (2021)
The Great Desert Escape: How the Flight of 25 German Prisoners of War Sparked One of the Largest Manhunts in American History. (2019)
The Greatest POW Escape Stories Ever Told, an anthology of famous prisoner of war escape stories. (2020)
Above and Beyond: The Incredible Story of Frank Luke Jr., Arizona's Medal of Honor Flying Ace of the First World War. (2015)
Keith's When Heaven Was Falling, Cape Hatteras and On Island Time are historical novels, featuring fictional characters thrust into actual events and often interacting with real-life historical figures.
Keith will be delivering his presentation on The Great Desert Escape to the City of Scottsdale Neighborhood College on February 21, 2024 at 11:00 AM at Mustang Library, 10101 N 90th St, Scottsdale, AZ 85258.
Thank you to Kim Quintero of AZ Family 3TV.