WITH her engines grinding at a rowboat's pace and her crew peering anxiously at debris in the water, the U.S. destroyer Boyd slipped in toward Japanese-held Nauru Island on the morning of Dec. 8, 1943. A U.S. fighter pilot had been— shot down within point-blank range of the island shore batteries, and the Boyd was bent on rescuing him. Suddenly, two 6-in. shells crashed into the forward .engine room, destroying half of the ship's power. Shellburst jets of water blossomed everywhere. The Boyd's skipper, Lieut. Commander Ulysses Simpson Grant Sharp Jr., unable to find the pilot, heeled the crippled destroyer about...

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