James D. Hornfischer is the author of Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal (Bantam, February 2011), from which his article is excerpted. His previous books are Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR’s Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors (Bantam, 2006) and The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour (Bantam, 2004), which Naval History named one of a dozen all-time naval history classics.

Stephen D. Regan , the biographer of Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, is retired from a career in education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Upper Iowa University and subsequently earned an M.S. and doctorate before being invited back to Upper Iowa as academic dean. Besides his biography of Fletcher, In Bitter Tempest (Iowa State Press, 1994), Dr. Regan has also written Pioneering Spirit (WDG Pub, 2008) and numerous nautical articles.

Lieutenant Commander Joseph T. Stanik , a retired U.S. Navy surface warfare officer and former history instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, is the author of El Dorado Canyon: Reagan’s Undeclared War with Qaddafi (Naval Institute Press, 2003) and “Swift and Effective Retribution”: The U.S. Sixth Fleet and the Confrontation with Qaddafi (Naval Historical Center, 1996).

Paul Stillwell is a longtime oral historian and former editor-in-chief of Naval History . He’s the coauthor of the newly published Naval Institute Press book Trailblazer: The U.S. Navy’s First Black Admiral . His many other books include Submarine Stories: Recollections from the Diesel Boats (Naval Institute Press, 2007) and Carrier War: Aviation Art of World War II (Barnes & Noble, 2007).



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Admiral James Stavridis

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