Dead in the Water: The USS Yorktown at Midway by Stanford E. Linzey, Jr.

The Battle for Midway was fought 80 years ago this year.  Paul Linzey’s father, who served aboard the USS Yorktown (CV-5), survived the sinking of the aircraft carrier and wrote his memoirs.

Dead in the Water

Stanford Linzey joined the Navy so he could play in the US Navy Band. In 1939, he was assigned to the USS Yorktown (CV-5), serving through the Battle of the Coral Sea and at Midway, where the ship was sunk by the Japanese in June of 1942. During this time he also led Bible studies for navymen.

My uncle, Donald W. Wilson, served on the CV-5 “her whole life,” so I had plenty of details about those battles, but Linzey’s descriptions were so compelling–of playing for each morning’s flag-raising, for the “Last T-Bone Steak in Captivity,” and about how repair parties were conducted. He also writes about escaping from deep in the ship when “Abandon Ship” was called.

The book is also an account of Stanford Linzey’s call to ministry, answers to prayer, and his call to return to the Navy as a Chaplain. He served 8 years as a musician in the Navy, returning as a Chaplain for 20 years. An amazing coincidence was that, after experiencing combat during the Battle of the Coral Sea, Dr. Linzey became Command Chaplain on the USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), another aircraft carrier.

Dead in the Water is inspirational as well as historically important. This is a reprint of a book originally published with the title, God Was at Midway. It has a new introduction by S. Eugene Linzey III and a new afterword by Paul E. Linzey, a retired Army Chaplain, who are sons of the author.

Paul Linzey also wrote Safest Place in Iraq, stories of men and women who experienced God during the war in Iraq, demonstrating that it is possible to remain true to one’s values and calling as a person of faith in a hostile world.

This is a fascinating memoir of one Army chaplain’s experiences during war-time, ministering to his own troops and even those of allied groups from other countries. He is also honest about lingering consequences of living under stress and terror.

One light-hearted chapter is about an “international, interdenominational slugfest” called “Ping Pong with the Priest.”

The compelling book includes an Epilogue, Questions and Topics for Discussion, and a Glossary.


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