Known to seafarers as the Devil's Jaw, Point Honda has lured ships to its dangerous rocks on the coast of California for centuries, but its worst disaster occurred on 8 September 1923. That night nine U.S. Navy destroyers ran into Honda's fog-wrapped reefs. Part of Destroyer Squadron 11, the ships were making a fast run from San Francisco to their homeport of San Diego at a steady 20 knots as fog closed around them.
The captain of the flagship Delphy ordered a change of course, but due to navigational errors and unusual currents caused by an earthquake in Japan the previous week, she ran aground and eight destroyers followed her. The authors recreate in dramatic hour-by-hour detail what happened, including the heroic efforts to rescue men and ships. In addition to presenting a full picture of the tragedy, they cover the subsequent investigations, which became a media sensation. In conclusion, the authors suggest that the cause of the tragedy lay in the interpretation of the differences that exist between the classic concepts of naval regulations and the stark realism of the unwritten code of destroyer doctrine to follow the leader. Admiral Nimitz's introduction sets the scene for this action-filled account of America's greatest peacetime naval tragedy in history. Only Pearl Harbor in 1941 would do more damage.
The late Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, author of several books on the Navy, served thirty-three years in the submarine service. Air Force Colonel Hans Christian Adamson was also an author and served as the Chief of the USAF Personnel Narrative Office.
Charles A. Lockwood, who served thirty-three years in the submarine service, retired as an admiral. Hans Christian Adamson retired as a colonel in the Air Force. They spent years researching material for this book.