“In Valor and Courage, Dr. Benjamin Hruska tackles a daunting task–the full story of two WW II escort aircraft carriers bearing the same name. Thus, ‘Fighting Block Island’ became a byword for the ‘baby flattops’ that fought Germany in the Atlantic and Japan in the Pacific. But far more than ships and aircraft, Valor and Courage properly focuses on the men of both vessels who remain an inspiration for their current heirs operating nuclear-powered descendants and supersonic jets.”—Barrett Tillman, author of On Wave and Wing: The 100-Year Quest to Perfect the Aircraft Carrier
My second book Valor and Courage: The Story of the USS Block Island Escort Carriers in World War II (2021) will be out in print from the University of Alabama Press this July. I first learned of the two aircraft carriers in 2003 while serving as the summer intern at the Block Island Historical Society (BIHS) located on Block Island, Rhode Island. This discovery sparked my interest in the topic and morphed into an exhibition on the vessels, oral interviews with the sailors, the basis for my PhD dissertation and finally this publication. I will be giving a number of book talks this summer on Block Island, including at the BIHS on July 22 at 7pm.
The author visiting the Kinkaseki POW Camp outside Taipei, Taiwan in December of 2017. Allied POWs held at this camp by the Japanese during the war were evacuated from Taiwan via the USS Block Island, CVE 106, in September 1945.