The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor on the 7th of December 1941. As a result of the attack, more than 20 ships were damaged and destroyed. Edward C. Raymer, the author of the book Descent into Darkness: Pearl Harbor, 1941, headed the US Navy salvage divers team. His critical task was to rescue Marines who were trapped on sinking ships. This book contains Commander Edward C. Raymer’s memories of these salvage operations.
The book is composed of nine chapters that describe the peculiarities of the rescue missions. More precisely, Raymer (1996) discusses what his team of divers outlive while saving the USS Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Oklahoma, California, and West Virginia. Undoubtedly, each operation was unique and differed from the others. However, the common feature was that the divers had to work in unusual conditions. “The abundance of sediment, oil, and other pollutants” in the sunken battleships deprived the divers of the possibility to use diving lamps because “light reflected into the divers’ eyes, blinding them” (Raymer, 1996, p. 10). Therefore, Raymer’s crew had to work by touch that significantly complicated the process and increased the risks. The hazardous conditions in which the rescue team operated required them to utilize ingenuity. For example, on the USS Nevada, the team members with their own hands created a cutting torch (Raymer, 1996). Almost every operation on other ships required the crew to employ new methods to tackle the issue.
To conclude, Descent into Darkness: Pearl Harbor, 1941 immerses the readers into Pearl Harbor’s atmosphere. Raymer (1996) includes numerous dialogues between the team members that enable the audience to understand better what these courageous divers felt and experienced. The stories presented by Raymer (1996) are captivating and vividly describe the essential process of rescuing the US navy that suffered from the attack at Pearl Harbor.
Raymer, E. C. (1996). Descent into Darkness: Pearl Harbor, 1941. Naval Institute Press.