October 15, 2007
Eaglespeak has found an obscure piece of US Naval History that is as impressive as it is inspiring.
In 1942, Corregidor, the USS Quail, a small minesweeper had fought a hard, short war against overwhelming odds. Laying and sweeping mines and providing fire support with her 3 inch guns in a battlespace owned by the Imperial Japanese Navy, the ship was finally out of fuel ammunition and so damaged from artillery fire that the decision was made to scuttle her.
With the Philippines overrun all hope seemed lost. But Commander Morill of the Quail was not about to give up. He intended to sail to Australia ~1800 miles away in the small boats from Quail. Only 18 of his shipmates agreed to come on what must have seemed a fools errand. But 29 days later those that did landed in Australia!
These men did not have GPS, Loran, or Inertial navigation. On a 36 foot motor launch they'd have had the CO's sextant, their watches and a compass. Yet they made it through nearly 2000 NM of enemy controlled sea!
The book is long out of print but it is available at the Joint Forces Staff College, Fort Eustis and William and Mary libraries. I'm going to definitely borrow this after exams.
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