As we all know there are numerous works written about the attack, the investigations and the blame. However there remains only a few on the aftermath, and the repairing of the fleet post Dec. 7th. Retired Vice Adm. Homer Wallin's "Pearl Harbor: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal" is a classic. Printed in 1968, it does a good job in getting to the nuts and bolts of the clean up and repair of the major vessels. But if you want to get a more personal view of the salvage, I suggest "Descent into Darkness" by Comdr. Edward Raymer USN (Ret.)
I'll admit, its probably not written with a whole lot of "flair", but the first time I read it, I couldn't put it down until I was finished. Simply because it was a new angle that had never been written from before. Raymer describes how he and fellow divers were on board a plane and heading from California to Hawaii by nightfall on the 7th, and was not allowed even to tell his parents and loved ones where he was going.
In this work he describes in somewhat details the task of entering the Nevada, Utah, Arizona, California, West Virginia, and my favorite, the Oklahoma, and working in these ships in total darkness. In compartments filled with oil and muck, so thick that the only way to get around was to feel your way.
Raymer also doesn't skip over the details on how some of his fellow divers died while performing these duties, as well as descriptions on coming across the deceased two, three four weeks after the attack. Whose corpse had started to decay already. Graphic, yet real.
Reading this book gave me a new angle to view the salvage from. It wasn't just taking the ships, putting them in Dry-Dock, putting a patch over the holes, and sending them out to sea again. It took hundreds of hours of diving in the interior of these ships to clear debris, and preparing each one to make its way to the next stage of repair.
I'm not sure if its ever had a second printing. First edition came out in 1996 by Presidio Press of Novato, CA. Uppon reading it first off, I did see some errors, and such, that I brought to their attention, but I still am waiting to seem them do something about it.
Overall I would suggest reading it to get a sense of what it was like to have to be the one to enter the flooded compartments not knowing if behind this door were dead sailors or a pocket of air.
What does anyone else think about it...if anyone else has read it? I have never seen this book mentioned in a Pearl forum before.