The USS Flier: Death and Survival on a World War II Submarine
Michael Sturma. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2008. 207 pp. Illus. Maps. Notes. Bib. Index. $29.95.
On 12 August 1944, after just ten months in commission, the Flier (SS-250), believed to have struck a mine, sank in the Sulu Sea. Only 14 Sailors of her 86-man crew survived initially. The author, an Australian history professor, carefully examines the sub's all-too-short service and the fate of her survivors.
The sub's story opens with background on her skipper, Lieutenant Commander John Crowley, and his early assignment commanding the S-28 in the Aleutians, where his main battles were against the weather and his boat's "mechanical deficiencies." By July 1943, Crowley had taken command of the Flier and was immersed in fitting her out. That December, he and his green crew reached Pearl Harbor after evading a merchantman's "friendly fire" in the Caribbean.