OPERATION IVY BELLS: A MAC MCDOWELL MISSION
I am Robert G. Williscroft, and this is an updated version of my bestselling, semi-autobiographical Cold War Novel. Operation Ivy Bells is a first-person account of the nuclear submarine USS Halibut and a team of saturation divers fearlessly facing death on the bottom of the Sea of Okhotsk while tapping Soviet underwater communication cables and retrieving missile parts from the seafloor, gathering intel that tipped the scales to win the Cold War. This story is reality-based—I led a team that accomplished much of what is depicted in this book.
Is Mac McDowell my alter ego? Yes, some would say, but in all honesty I would have to decline the honor. I was a competent and capable sub and diving officer, but Mac is smarter, more capable, and better than I was. I would welcome your visiting my website so you can get to know me better, and then compare the real me with Mac. Let me know what you think.
A warm thank you to my host for sharing this blog.
This book is available on Amazon.
Recognition for Operation Ivy Bells
This is what Navy Captain Don Walsh, first skipper of the Bathyscaph Trieste, had to say about Operation Ivy Bells when he read it:
Over the past few decades action-adventure stories about submarines and diving have become a popular genre. Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler come to mind as exemplars. But Robert Williscroft really raises the bar with this book. Not only is he an outstanding writer but he is also a ‘doer,’ having participated in the events described in Operation Ivy Bells.
Excerpt from Operation Ivy Bells
My first impression was a flashing shadow through one of the light beams, a flicker just below my threshold of awareness—something big and fast.
“What the fuck was that?” Harry squeaked, his voice distorted by helium and electronic descrambling.
“Green Diver, report!” That was the Master Chief.
“Jeezus…” Harry dropped down three feet and grabbed my left fin. I felt him trying to pull me toward him, toward the hatch. “Mac…the hatch!” Harry’s desperation came right through his squeak. Then he jerked and let go. “Kee…rist!”
“Red Diver…what’s going on down there?” That was Franklin.
Off to my right, a green phosphorescent shape flicked into and out of existence. A pink one materialized to my left. Suddenly, from right in front of me, something bright blue hit my faceplate with the force of a sledgehammer.
Everything went black. I don’t mean I passed out…everything went black, literally. I reached up and discovered a really large thing covering my entire helmet. It was smooth and spongy, and it was undulating. I heard a scraping, grinding noise against my faceplate. Something wrapped itself around my left arm, jerking my hand away from the pulsing mass. I pulled my arm back and felt a rush of cold water enter my suit at the wrist. A tear…whatever it was had torn a goddamn hole in my suit! What the hell can tear a hole through compressed, nylon-reinforced neoprene? That shit’ll stop a knife!
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.
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