Away All Boats Author:Kenneth Dodson Away all Boats tells the intimate and heroic life story of the attack transport, Belinda. It tells of the ships and men that came in under naval bombardment, that landed our marines and GI's in battle, that took them wounded and dying off the blasted beaches at Makin Island, Kwajalein, Saipan and Lingayen Gulf. It is the Pacific War re-creat... more »ed in its entirety- from the shakedown cruise to the ominous lowering of the LCVP's from the West Coast docks to the Hawaiian staging areas through the bitter engagements in the Marshalls and Marianas. It will make thousands of veterans of the island-hopping campaign say, "This is it. This is the way it was."
And for the families stateside who followed their men through terrible headlines and letters three weeks old, this is the novel that brings their war into the home.
Here is Lieutenant Dave MacDougall, boat group commander during the first practice landings, then navigator, later executive office and finally commanding officer after the kamikaze attack off Okinawa. Here are tow captains : Gedney, who loved and lived by the traditions of the Old Navy ; and his successor, Hawks, who resented higher authority. Here are the men, each of whom contributed his bit of knowledge - or lack of it - to the sum of the experiences, fears and intuitions of the others. Brave men and cowards, strong men and weaklings, worked side by side; and the cold, competent voice of authority which drove them through their paces was often no more than the mechanically amplified voice of a relatively simple and infinitely fallible man who yearned to be relieved for chow.
This is the way it was. The assault landings, the task force maneuvers, the enemy air strikes, even the "foul ups" and frustrations - all are accurate and uncompromisingly true. Accurate too, are the details of life aboard the attack transport, the overmastering Plan of the Day, the dramatic stages by which Amphibious Operations grew ub efficiency from the Gilberts ro Okinawa.
At first the USS Belinda was mere machinery. But the sea swells tempered her; the men breathed life into her; the training missions galvanized her men into a crew. Then came the marines and GI's who fulfilled her purpose, the cry "Away all boats," thd mothering of landing craft, grace under fire, the thundering beachhead. Time and again the thundering beachhead, until it seemed the Belinda would never stip : she'd go on and on from one island to the next, and the ramps would always be dropping on some far off coral strand. . . .« less