Galloping Ghost: The Extraordinary Life of Submarine Captain Eugene Fluckey

by Carl Lavo

Book cover for Galloping Ghost: The Extraordinary Life of Submarine Captain Eugene Fluckey

Eugene Fluckey was one of the great naval heroes of World War II. His exploits as captain of the submarine USS Barb revolutionized undersea warfare and laid the groundwork for the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine fleet that today is the primary deterrent and capability of the United States against nuclear attack. Now a retired rear admiral living in Annapolis, Maryland, he is the most decorated living American, having earned numerous presidential, congressional, and military honors, including the Medal of Honor and four Navy Crosses. In the war against Japan, Fluckey fired the first ballistic missiles from a submarine, sank more tonnage than any other U.S. submarine skipper; including an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, a destroyer, and blew up a train after landing submariners-turned-saboteurs on mainland Japan in 1945. The title of this biography is the legendary submariner s nickname, "Galloping Ghost, " a reference to the hit-and-run tactics that left his enemies baffled about the direction of his attacks.

Here is the admiral's story, told with the exclusive access to Admiral Fluckey's personal papers and based on interviews with him, his family, Barb shipmates, official Navy documents, and the recollections of his contemporaries. The author, Carl LaVO, who spent years researching the subject, offers not only a dramatic, action-filled account of Fluckey's wartime experiences, but also a lively description of his life before and after that captures the infectious optimism contributing to his many successes.

LaVO describes meeting the ninety-year-old retired admiral: With a full shock of hair, trim build, natty clothes, and buoyant demeanor, Fluckey looked much younger and still displayed his characteristic dry wit, despite the fact that Alzheimer's disease had robbed him of many memories. When asked about a long-forgotten episode of his life, the admiral replied with a twinkle in his eyes and hearty laugh, I don t know. You tell me. LaVO took up his challenge and with this book presents Admiral Fluckey's full biography.

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