OPERATION IVY BELLS: A MAC MCDOWELL MISSION
A #4WillsPublishing Blog Tour Production!
A word from the author:
"I’m Robert G. Williscroft. 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 based on real events—I actually led a team that accomplished much of what is depicted in this book.
Is Mac McDowell my alter ego? Perhaps, but in all honesty, while I was a competent and capable submarine and diving officer, 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."
Recognition for Operation Ivy Bells
This is what Marc Weitz, Past President, The Los Angeles Adventurers’ Club, had to say about Operation Ivy Bells when he read it:
An exciting look into Cold War submarine espionage...I was completely riveted to the book’s suspense and action...amazingly based on true events. It was incredible to read about isolated, underwater hand-to-hand battles that took place in secret during the Cold War...highly recommend!
Excerpt from Operation Ivy Bells
With the sound of the explosion, the other diver turned, saw what had happened, hesitated for a moment, and raced for the open torpedo tube. I reached him just as he got his head and shoulders inside the three-foot opening. I couldn’t let him make it inside, so I grabbed my second bang-stick and jammed it against his right leg. The explosion and bullet passing through his calf stopped his forward motion, and I pulled him back out of the tube. This guy wasn’t about to go down without trying, though. His tight neoprene wetsuit acted to constrict the wound, and the cold water diminished his pain. He emerged with knife in hand, managing to slice through the back of my left glove and into my hand, causing me to drop my own knife.
I placed myself between him and the open torpedo tube and drew out my dagger. We were three feet apart, and I could see the hesitation in his eyes. Then he decided, and attempted to shoot to the surface about thirty feet above us, kicking with his left leg, trailing his right. I saw his hand reach for the blow button on his BC, as I reached out and stabbed his right fin as hard as I could, penetrating completely through the fin. Using the dagger as a lever, I pulled the surprised diver back down and ripped his regulator from his mouth, while pulling his leg sharply toward me to retrieve my dagger. From the corner of my eye I saw a flash disappear as his knife joined his buddy in the deep, so I stopped worrying about getting stabbed.
This guy was pretty resourceful. Without hesitation, he punched his BC fill button and we both began to rise. It took me a moment, but I managed to whip my right arm over his shoulder and stab his BC bladder, which immediately belched air, stopping our ascent. Next step, get rid of his mask. A diver doesn’t really need a mask, but you can see a lot better with one, and in cold water it’s much easier on your face. I fumbled around and managed to pull his mask off just as his hand found mine, pulling it up over my head. At least, that was his intent, but I had donned my mask under my hood, so my mask remained against my forehead, and I still had a regulator in my mouth.
That’s when I felt a sharp pain in my upper left arm immediately followed by icy cold as the sleeve filled with water. The son-of-a-bitch had stabbed my left bicep. He had another knife! I should have anticipated it. My screwup—I was tired, but not that tired.
This guy was really beginning to piss me off, though. Every time I did something that should have incapacitated him, he just found another way to get back at me. With a forty-five slug through his leg, he still was with me move-for-move. I locked my legs around him, trying to control his actions, when he ripped the regulator from my mouth. I squinted through my seawater filled eyes, and saw him put my regulator in his mouth. Shit on that!
Cut, stabbed, and now he was breathing my air!
I whipped my right arm around from his back in a wide roundhouse and jammed the needle point of my dagger right through his suit into his belly. I grabbed my mask with my injured left hand and pulled it back over my eyes and nose. Since it was self-clearing, I wasted no time, but reached for my spare regulator attached to the left side of my BC with Velcro. Now, with breathing air and clear vision restored, I saw the Russian’s eyes open wide in shock. I pulled my regulator from his mouth with my injured hand, and twisted the dagger with my right. I wasn’t looking to hurt the guy, but I needed to put an end to this madness. Only one of us was going home, I swore, and it wouldn’t be the Russian. But he still had some fight in him.
A sharp pain pierced my left thigh, and my left suit leg flooded with water. Somehow he had either not dropped his second knife, or he had a third one stashed away. I grabbed his hand with my injured hand and forced him to drop the knife. Should I have anticipated this one as well? I don’t really know. That’s asking a lot.
He struggled with decreasing energy for another minute, and then he opened his mouth. I watched a stream of bubbles rise to the surface as his lungs filled with water. It was over. I released my hold on the diver and watched as he slowly slipped out of sight.
Watch the one-minute trailer
About the author:
Dr. Robert 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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