Harm's Way—Every Day: The Book of a Destroyer (Tin Can) at Okinawa
by Harold "Bud" Kalosky
PublishAmerica, 2006, 108 pages
Too many years passed before Harold "Bud" Kalosky, a former crewman of the
destroyer Sproston (DD-577), wrote this slim history of his ship. He
fills the book with generalities about the experiences of destroyers (tin cans)
and their crews during the Battle of Okinawa. He does not include hardly any of
his personal experiences, and no other crewmembers contributed stories for this
chronological history mainly based on the official ship's log. Even though
Kalosky served on Sproston from her commissioning in May 1943 until after
the end of WWII, the book only covers between March 21 and June 4, 1945, when
the destroyer frequently served at radar picket stations subject to kamikaze
attacks around Okinawa.
The middle of the book has nine pages with photos of American destroyers
damaged heavily in kamikaze attacks, but several of these are not that clear.
Kalosky does not list his sources other than the ship's log, but he clearly used
at least one other source for the sunk and damaged destroyers that he lists
throughout the book by ship name with number of casualties. However, he rarely
explains how these ships were sunk or damaged. The Appendix has a four-page list
of mainly destroyers, but it does not have a clear purpose, page number
references, and any apparent order.
Sproston may have been in harm's way every day as the title says, but
the author writes that his ship was never close to being hit by a kamikaze
aircraft. On March 26, 1945, the crew witnessed a kamikaze plane hit USS
Kimberley (DD-521), which killed 4 and injured 54. On May 4, USS Morrison
(DD-560) sank after four hits by kamikaze aircraft and lost over 150 men.
Sproston looked for survivors from the ship but did not find any. On May 13,
Sproston gave assistance to USS Bache (DD-470) under kamikaze attack, but
this assistance was apparently limited to a survivor search (not clear for what
ship) and an anti-submarine search since Kalosky provides no other details.
Sproston gunners shot down or helped shoot down two bombers on May 27 and
two more planes in the darkness of the early morning of May 28. After USS
Shubrick (DD-639) had been hit by kamikaze aircraft on May 29, Sproston
picked up five survivors from the water. Picket station duty at Okinawa ended
for the destroyer on June 4, and the ship arrived home in Oakland on July 14 for
a boiler overhaul and an upgrade in electronics.
The lack of personal
stories, limited time frame, and few battle details in Harm's Way—Every
Day make this book less informative than other wartime memoirs written by Navy
veterans who battled Japanese kamikaze aircraft at radar picket stations