A Final Broadside
A Final Broadside
Perfect Bound Softcover
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It is December 1941 and just as his naval officer father and over one thousand sailors and officers are killed on the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, Ken Hager enters the world. After the attack, little Ken and his newly-widowed mother return to their home in the North Carolina mountains to begin a new chapter.

As Ken matures into a young man, he soon realizes that he has special paranormal gifts. While his abilities grow stronger, more powerful events unfold that lead Ken to recognize a destiny that will eventually lead him back to the USS Arizona, its perished but rather loud crew, and a secret mission revealed by his deceased father. As Ken's destiny collides with that of a Cambodian international criminal and a plot to unleash a weapon of mass destruction on the United States, he is guided to the USS North Carolina battleship memorial where everything changes once again with help from a ghostly crew.

In this military thriller, an American born during the Pearl Harbor attack must rely on his supernatural gifts years later in a courageous attempt to stop an evil international plot.

Ken reached the docking berth of the U.S.S Arizona at 7:41 A.M. and quickly boarded, looking for the Officer of the Day to report the happy news of Sara and the incoming bundle. The O.D. was another "J. G." and friend since arriving at Pearl. Nathaniel Hawthorne Starbuck, or Nate to his friends, saw Ken board and sent a call for him to join him on the Bridge of the big ship. Ken loved the view from the Bridge of the Arizona; two turrets of 14 inch guns surrounded by multiple five inch gun turrets and dozens of anti-aircraft batteries pointing skyward. The Arizona and ships like her were the pointed edge of United States foreign policy. The joke was that you pulled one of these behemoths into a hostile, foreign port and the locals would start asking, "Where do I sign up to be a Christian, Boss?"

Ken greeted Nate with a big smile and a breathless, "Nate..... Sara.....baby!" Nate grinned widely, grabbed Ken's hand and started pumping it furiously. The moment was broken by the crackle of the ship's intercom.

"Officer of the Deck, Forward Lookout."

Nate dropped Ken's hand, picked up the mic and answered the call, "Forward Lookout, Officer of the Deck."

Sir, I have several dozen aircraft approaching from the west, 3000 meters altitude at 200 knots." Nate called out nervously, "Can you identify?"

Ken picked up a pair of binoculars and quickly located the formation. "Jesus Christ Nate, they're Japanese bombers and torpedo planes!"

The intercom crackled again, "Confirmed ID Sir; Japanese bombers and torpedo planes with fighter support!"

Nate flipped the intercom switch to "All Ship" and screamed into the mic, "Captain to the Bridge, Captain to the Bridge, General Quarters! General Quarters! Battle Stations, Battle Stations! This is not a drill!"

Nate dropped the mic and pushed the klaxon sounding the alarm. It was 8:00 AM. The two friends looked quickly at each other, then Ken broke into a run toward his battle station in Turret Two. He would not use the big guns now but he would command the nest of anti-aircraft batteries surrounding the turret. Men were scrambling across the deck preparing to defend their ship when the first bombs fell, followed by strafing runs by the Zero fighters. The bombers scored three hits out of four on their first run but the damage was minimal. Ken's anti-aircraft crew numbered only five sailors due to the Sunday duty schedule but they had already "opened up" on the strafing Zeros, damaging one with a vicious stream of shells from her 3 inch guns. The lightly armored Zero started smoking and limped out of range.

As the anti-aircraft crew broke into a cheer, Ken heard the sickening whine of an incoming 1700 pound, armor-piercing shell bearing down on them. The shell hit close to Ken's turret, penetrating the deck where it exploded in the forward magazine. In a matter of seconds, the forward magazine ignited with a force that lifted the 38,000 ton ship eight feet out of the water. In the cataclysm that followed, the forward turrets and conning tower collapsed, most of the ship's interior was destroyed, and the great ship sunk in place taking 1,177 men to a watery grave. At the exact moment that Lieutenant J .G. Ken Hager took his last breath, his newborn son took his first. It was 8:06 AM.

Buddy Worrell is a retired business executive who began his career in public schools as a teacher, principal, and coach. He and his high school sweetheart, Donna, have two grown children and two grandchildren and reside at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. Worrell has written two novels and an anthology of spooky short stories.

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