War Patrol of the PCE(R)852
by Alfred Samuels
Publishers Syndication, International, 1989, 141 pages
The crew of the PCE(R)852, a Patrol Craft Escort (Rescue), witnessed many
kamikaze attacks in the Philippines and Okinawa from October 1944 to June 1945
and picked up numerous wounded men and survivors from these attacks. The ship had heavy armament
for its relatively small size, making it a war ship in addition to its primary
function as a rescue ship. With a sickbay of 75 berths, at times the 852
operated more like a field hospital since she picked up many casualties to be
treated by the ship's doctor and nine other medical personnel. The ship had an
exciting war patrol during hard-fought battles in the Philippines and Okinawa,
but this book captures little of that excitement.
The author, Alfred Samuels, served aboard the PCE(R)852 as a Hospital
Apprentice First Class, but the book contains almost no stories related to his
personal experiences. Long lists of casualties and survivors with name, rank,
and serial number fill the book, but sometimes the author does not even provide
background related to these casualties. For example, pages 121 to 123 list all
the names of the wounded, along with the nature of the wounds, and survivors
from U.S.S. Twiggs (DD-591) who were taken aboard the 852 on June 16,
1945. However, the
book does not mention what happened to Twiggs, which had been sunk by a
torpedo with the aircraft then hitting the ship. The author appears to have made extensive use of official Navy records such as
action reports and deck logs, but the book does not mention any sources to
Although the 852's crewmen observed many kamikaze attacks and the devastation
caused by them, this book provides no details on Japan's kamikaze operations.
The author's few references to kamikazes, such as "fanatical Japanese
pilots" (p. 46) and "suicide crazed Japanese pilot" (p. 79), tend
to stereotype them.
Dr. Raymond Malott, medical officer on board the PCE(R)852, wrote a book
entitled "If We Save But One"
(2001), which also covers the ship's history. Malott's book reads much more easily than War Patrol of the PCE(R)852 and contains many of his personal