Greetings! Today on The Indie Spot I am honored to welcome author Robert G. Williscroft on his blog tour.
OPERATION IVY BELLS: A MAC MCDOWELL MISSION
Robert G. Williscroft here, with an updated version of my bestselling, semi-autobiographical Cold War Novel. Operation Ivy Bells is a first-person account of a team of saturation divers locking out of the nuclear submarine USS Halibut on the bottom of the Sea of Okhotsk. Fearlessly risking death, these dare-devil divers placed a tap on Soviet underwater communication cables and retrieved spent missile parts from the seafloor. They gathered intel that tipped the scales to win the Cold War. This story is reality-based—I led one of the teams depicted in this book.
Am I Mac McDowell? Some folks would say Yes, but even though I based his character on my own experiences, there are many differences between us. I was an excellent submarine and diving officer, but Mac is more capable and smarter than I. I would welcome your visiting my website to check out my background. Then compare the real me with Mac and let me know what you think.
A warm thank you to my host for sharing this blog.
Recognition for Operation Ivy Bells
Here’s what a USS Seawolf sailor had to say about Operation Ivy Bells:
For those who have an interest in Cold War secrets this is a must-read. Some minor details and names have been changed, but most of it is pretty close to the real deal…close as you can get without going to jail. My source of information? Memory—I was an Ivy Bells submariner.
Excerpt from Operation Ivy Bells
“OK, Dive Control.” Jimmy sounded a bit winded. “Now we need you to jack the port shaft in reverse—slowly. With a bit of luck, the cable will pull free and snake to the bottom.”
Once again, Buck moved in from the stern, behind the screw, which gave us a great view of the action.
“Roger that, Red Diver.”
The Skipper started talking on his handset again. He kept it to his ear. The screw started turning very slowly.
“That’s it!” squeaked Jimmy. “Slowly…slowly…” And then, “Stop! Stop!”
Even on the monitor we could see that the cable had crossed itself.
The Skipper said something to the handset.
“The cable crossed,” Jimmy told us. “Jack forward about a quarter turn.”
“OK – Stop!” Heavy breathing. On the monitor the cable snapped free from its constraining hold on the other wrap. “Now back slowly…” More heavy breathing, from both divers. “Slow…slow…SLOWER!”
The Skipper stayed with him. And suddenly, the cable started slipping through the screw blades.
“Bingo! That’s it! We did it!” Squeak or no, he definitely was excited. “Let’s get the fuck outa here!”
Buck stayed with them until they reached the bottom of the Can. Then he headed back for the Aquarium.
Ten minutes later we could see Jimmy and Whitey emerging into the outer lock through the lower hatch. Bill had wrapped their umbilicals on the bulkhead hooks as they swam to the hatch, and now he pulled them into the lock. He unhooked the hatch and swung it closed. Whitey stooped to spin the locking wheel.
“Dive Control, Outer Lock, hatch secured.”
“Dive Control, Aye.”
“Conn, ROV Ops, we’re secured and the hatch is shut.” And that was it.
I gave the Skipper a thumbs-up, and he ordered the XO to secure the hover and get the ship underway. I headed back to the dive locker. The guys had been out for about an hour at a maximum depth of 250 feet on standard heliox. Ham or Jack would have already worked out the decompression schedule. I needed to check it, and then we could start bringing the guys back to the “surface.”
It would take a while, but that’s what we got paid for.
Watch the one-minute trailer
Dr. Williscroft is a retired submarine officer, deep-sea and saturation diver, scientist, author of numerous books and hundreds of articles, and a lifelong adventurer. He spent 22 months underwater, a year in the equatorial Pacific, three years in the Arctic ice pack, and a year at the Geographic South Pole. He holds degrees in Marine Physics and Meteorology, and a doctorate for developing a system to protect SCUBA divers in contaminated water. A prolific author of both non-fiction and fiction, he lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his family.