RIDING ON LUCK: THE SAGA OF THE USS LANG (DD-399)
by Rex A. Knight. The USS Lang was their adoptive mother, and they her adopted sons. They took what she was able to offer and lived and worked and fought, and were endeared to her for a lifetime. Never would they say, "We brought her home!" It was always "She brought us home!" And indeed she did, through one of the most turbulent times in recorded modern history.
They called her the "Lucky Lang." Commissioned 30 March 1939, she ranged from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean, from Scotland to the Mediterranean, before traversing the Panama Canal to engage the enemy in the Pacific at Guadalcanal, New Georgia, Kwajalein, Saipan, Leyte, and Okinawa. She wreaked havoc along the "Tokyo Express" route and helped decimate Japanese air power. Though heavily involved in nearly every major campaign of the war in the Pacific, the destroyer USS Lang survived it all with hardly a scratch. She lost but three men and not a single surviving member of her roster rolls received the slightest enemy inflicted wound. No other U.S. Naval warship could boast such a record, over such an extended time, involving an equal number of actions. Even the sum of her hull numbers-399-adds up to 21, a lucky number to be sure. Riding On Luck is the story of how the "luckiest ship in the Navy" served crew and country through some of the fiercest and best-known battles of WWII. A harrowing tale told by the son of a former Lang sailor.
About the Author, Rex Knight: For more than a decade, Rex Knight has been researching and writing WWII history, specializing in the Pacific Theater. He has visited and photographed many battle sites, including sunken WWII vessels, and been named the Lang's official biographer and honorary crewmember. Completion of this history is the high point of what he calls "a wonderful and unforgettable association" with the family of Lang veterans and their spouses. Rex is a regular contributor to World War II Magazine. He lives with his wife and two children in Mitchell, Indiana.
Click cover to enlarge