Cruise of the Lanikai
Incitement to War
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In early December 1941 in the Philippines, a young Navy ensign named Kemp Tolley was given his first ship command, an old 76-foot schooner that had once served as a movie prop in John Ford's "The Hurricane." Crewed mostly by Filipinos who did not speak English and armed with a cannon that had last seen service in the Spanish-American War, the Lanikai was under top-secret presidential orders to sail south into waters where the Japanese fleet was thought to be. Ostensibly the crew was to spy on Japanese naval movements, but to Tolley it was clear that their mission was to create an incident that would provoke war.
Events overtook the plan, however, when Pearl Harbor was bombed before the Lanikai could get underway. When Bataan and Corregidor fell, she was ordered to set sail for Australia and became one of the few U.S. naval vessels to escape the Philippines. In this book Tolley tells the saga of her great adventure during these grim, early days of the war and makes history come alive as he regales the reader with details of the operation and an explanation of President Roosevelt's order. Tolley's description of their escape in Japanese warship-infested waters ranks with the best of sea tales, and few will be able to forget the Lanikai's 4,000-mile, three-month odyssey.