The USS Flier

The USS Flier

Death and Survival on A World War II Submarine

Book - 2008
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University of Kentucky

The fate of the USS Flier is one of the most astonishing stories of the Second World War. On August 13, 1944, the submarine struck a mine and sank to the bottom of the Sulu Sea in less than one minute, leaving only fourteen of its crew of eighty-six hands alive. After enduring eighteen hours in the water, eight remaining survivors swam to a remote island controlled by the Japanese. Deep behind enemy lines and without food or drinking water, the crewmen realized that their struggle for survival had just begun. On its first war patrol, the unlucky Flier made it from Pearl Harbor to Midway where it ran aground on a reef. After extensive repairs and a formal military inquiry, the Flier set out once again, this time completing a distinguished patrol from Pearl Harbor to Fremantle, Western Australia. Though the Flier's next mission would be its final one, that mission is important for several reasons: the story of the Flier's sinking illuminates the nature of World War II underwater warfare and naval protocol and demonstrates the high degree of cooperation that existed among submariners, coast watchers, and guerrillas in the Philippines. The eight sailors who survived the disaster became the first Americans of the Pacific war to escape from a sunken submarine and return safely to the United States. Their story of persistence and survival has all the elements of a classic World War II tale: sudden disaster, physical deprivation, a ruthless enemy, and a dramatic escape from behind enemy lines. In The USS Flier: Death and Survival on a World War II Submarine, noted historian Michael Sturma vividly recounts a harrowing story of brave men who lived to return to the service of their country.


The fate of the USS Flier is one of the most heroic stories of the Second World War. On August 13, 1944, the submarine struck a mine and sank to the bottom of the Sulu Sea in less than one minute, leaving only fourteen of its eighty-six crewmen alive. After enduring eighteen hours in the water, the eight remaining survivors swam to a remote island controlled by the Japanese. Deep in enemy territory and without food or drinking water, the crewmen soon realized that their struggle for survival had just begun. Noted historian Michael Sturma's vivid recounting of the harrowing story of the USS Flier has all the elements of a classic World War II survival tale: sudden disaster, physical deprivation, a ruthless enemy, friendly guerrillas, and a dramatic escape from behind enemy lines. The eight sailors who survived the disaster became the first Americans of the Pacific conflict to escape from a sunken submarine and return safely to the United States. Though some of the Flier's mysteries remain with the submarine beneath the sea, this account sheds light on the nature of underwater warfare and naval protocol and demonstrates the high degree of cooperation that existed among submariners, coast watchers, and guerrillas in the Philippines. Sturma fills a historical gap by detailing this important episode of the Second World War.



Publisher: Lexington, Ky. : University Press of Kentucky, [2008]
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9780813124810
0813124816
Branch Call Number: 940.5451 STURM
Characteristics: ix, 209 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm

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