That led me to reflect on Admiral James Holloway and his destroyer article in our October issue, “Second Salvo at Surigao Strait.” His “tin can,” the Fletcher -class Bennion (DD-662), was cutting edge in 1944, and Holloway, her gunnery officer, displayed cool professionalism while seemingly at the center of the Battle of Surigao storm in the early hours of 25 October. He was all of 22 years old.
I couldn’t help envisioning then-Lieutenant Holloway and the Bennion ’s crew as 1944 versions of the Mitscher officers and Sailors I’d met—young, conscientious, and confident in their knowledge of their destroyer’s systems. That, as well as sore muscles from the many ladders I ascended and descended during my brief cruise, led me to conclude that while admirals may dominate the Navy’s past and present, the service really belongs to the young, professional officers and Sailors who serve on board its ships.
An example of one of those Sailors is Kearsarge gunner John Bickford, who earned the Medal of Honor for valor during the Union ship’s famous duel with the CSS Alabama . He’s profiled in this issue’s article by Norman Delaney, “I Didn’t Feel Excited a Mite.” Elsewhere, Roger Dingman examines the interwar naval arms limitation era, including the strategic and political effects of its treaties, in “Navies at Bay.”
Finally, a pair of articles commemorate the 60th anniversary of what historian Allan Millett has characterized as “one of those military masterpieces that occur when skill and bravery fuse to defy rational explanation”—the 1st Marine Division’s Chosin Reservoir “breakout.” Marine Lieutenant Colonel Glen Butler presents a sweeping analysis of campaign in “70 Miles of Cold, Hard Road.” Meanwhile, Captain William Davis recollects one day’s experiences during the famous Marine withdrawal in “The Snowy Battle for Hill 1304,” an article that originally appeared in the July 1953 issue of our sister magazine, Proceedings .