On October 15, 1942, Japanese carrier planes attacked and sank the destroyer USS MEREDITH off Guadalcanal Island. When the attack became imminent, the crew of the accompanying tug VIREO was taken aboard MEREDITH. Of the 329 men, only 96 survived. For four days they struggled, combating dehydration, injuries, burns, shark attacks, and strafing by enemy planes.
Robert Robinson miraculously survived the sinking of MEREDITH. He served with Medical Officer Barry Friedman, on another destroyer, USS RUSSELL. Lt. Cmdr Robinson died in 2004 after serving in three wars. Dr. Friedman retired after a career as an orthopaedic surgeon and lives in San Diego.
"Although both a thrilling sea adventure and a fascinating historical insight into a little known aspect of the sea battle for Guadalcanal, Dr. Friedman's work is more than just a book, it is a heritage, something of great value that must be passed on to future generations.
"The Short Life of a Valiant Ship grants insight into the world of the `Tin Can' sailors of the US Navy's destroyer fleet, a group of very average young men from all across America who were lifted out of their peacetime existences to be plunged, half-trained, out-numbered and ill-equipped, into the most cataclysmic naval campaign in history, and of how they arose triumphant at a terrible price.
"'The Greatest Generation' is a phrase that has been much bandied about in recent years, but it's not a cliché, it's a simple truth."
-James H. Cobb
Author of the Amanda Garrett Naval Thrillers; Choosers of the Slain, Sea Strike, Sea Fighter, & Target Lock
"I enjoyed reading The Short Life of a Valiant Ship very much. The miracle of this nation is that, for over 200 years, generations of' Americans have fought and died for the freedoms we all enjoy. It is important to revisit the time when the issue of the war in the Pacific was firmly in doubt and the odds faced by ships like USS MEREDITH were daunting. The manner in which the officers and men of MEREDITH responded to their challenges is inspirational.... A gripping story that is well told!"
-Rear Admiral Peter H. Daly, Assistant Chief Naval Operations for Information, Plans and Strategy