War Beneath the Waves


War Beneath the Waves by Don Keith



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In November 1943, Charlie Rush, a young officer, drew duty on USS Billfish, a submarine in the Pacific. While on war patrol in the Makassar Strait off Borneo, the Japanese spotted the sub and launched such a vicious depth charge attack that no vessel could possibly survive…


Rush, as diving officer, ordered the ship to dive, despite the confusion and hesitation of his captain. As he oversaw damage control, thundering depth charge explosions wracked the submarine during fifteen hours of hell under the sea. When he was finally able to seek out the captain, Rush found no one at the helm. The skipper and two senior officers were all incapacitated—by either fear or lack of breathable air.  Billfish was dead in the water.


Boldly assuming command of the submarine—and summarily relieving his commanding officer—Rush led key members of the crew in an impossible effort to keep their boat intact as they tried to escape. Through his extraordinary heroism and cool-headed judgment, the young officer saved the crew of the Billfish from certain death.


It was sixty years later before this remarkable story became known, and even then only after Charlie Rush initiated action to get recognition for his shipmates for what they did that night. But it also led to Rush receiving the Navy Cross in 2003. Now, in War Beneath the Waves by author Don Keith, this intense story can finally be told in all its gripping detail. It is an inspiring story of one man’s heroism and courage under fire, and of the remarkable efforts of a submarine crew to do their duty and save their ship.

See a TV feature about Charley Odom, one of the heroes of WAR BENEATH THE WAVES by clicking HERE

"I don't see how you could have told this story any better without being there.  Fantastic!  Thank you!"

--Captain (Ret.) Charles Rush

 "Riveting.  That's the best word to describe the white-knuckle tension and drama that Don Keith delivers in WAR BENEATH THE WAVES.  (He) writes in an engaging, you-are-there style calculated to bring the reader to the edge of his seat."

--John Sledge, Mobile (Alabama) Press-Register

 "A seasoned chronicler of submariners' exploits now tells the tale of a heroic feat of endurance in the fall of 1943...dealing equally with the hardware and the interpersonal dynamics of WWII submarining, Keith will inform and please both the rank newcomer to the subject and the well-read expert on it.  Invaluable for the WWII submarine annals."


A never before told story of courage and integrity under fire.  Action packed and told in Don Keith’s easy reading style, this is both a highly entertaining submarine tale and a deeply soul-searching study of men under the ultimate stress of war.”

--George Wallace, Commander USN (Ret.), co-author, national bestseller FINAL BEARING

"A story of extraordinary courage and valor...Don Keith has done yeoman's work setting the stage and detailing (the) story."

-- Florida Times-Union

"...a real page turner...a fantastic job of relating the story...this book is among the best.  I give it a solid, unqualified thumbs-up!"

-- War on Terror News

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