1. Are there other people out there who see the loss of the Strong the same way I do?
2. How many other Strong families are still out there, how many survivors?
3. What if I could build a web site, who would see it?
4. Could there be an expedition some day?
5. Is there a book that covers the history of Strong and her men, and if not then who could write it?
6. If that book is written, what then?
After many years of research a lot of things are finally starting to come together.
1. I found that there certainly were others who recognized the importance, both personal and historical, of the sinking of Strong. Attending our first reunion of the combined DD467/DD758 in Pigeon Forge in 1999 was truly eye opening. Meeting three of the survivors, hearing the story of the one who decided to share his experience with me, propelled me
forward toward learning more. Over the years and with the research gathered, I began to see I had something worth pursuing.
2. Over the past 3 years, I have been so fortunate to locate many of the Strong families and more survivors than I realized were still out there. This list of family members keeps growing, and the majority of these folks have agreed to have their contact emails listed on the Strong Contacts page of the web site. I don't yet know if anyone is using this information to contact other sons and daughters, nieces and nephews and such, but it's there if anyone chooses to use it.
3. The web site has exceeded my expectations many times over. Through the site, families have found me, other researchers have found me and things are just getting more interesting every day. Recent contacts have resulted in an
opportunity that could change everything. I'm still shaking my head at the good fortune of having met a man with the background and experience to make one and perhaps two of these hopes and wishes come true.
4. As time goes by, the possibility of an expedition increases. I can't say more than that, but thanks to the interest of accomplished shipwreck hunter David Mearns, making this a reality is not beyond the pale any longer. It feels really good to believe this is possible.
5. There has never been a published book solely about the history of the DD 467. If you look at the Navy Links and Resources page, you will see some listed that have a portion of the story detailing the event of the sinking
and some details of the ordeal of Hugh Barr Miller, Jr. and his 43 days spent on Arundel Island. With the exception
of the book about Miller written by his son Landon in 2012, this information is not the focus of any of the books, just one of the stories that make up a number of books about the actions in the south Pacific. But I can announce now, that a book about Strong and only Strong is on the table! The focus will be the ship and the story of Hugh Barr Miller,
Jr. The men who worked intimately with him on a daily basis will be discussed, as well as the outcome of his survival and what it meant to his family and the history of the events in the South Pacific in general. We have a NY Times bestselling author and Editor in Chief of Military History magazine to thank for this!
Stephen Harding contacted me via the web site a few weeks ago and asked for help with research on an article he was writing. After completely geeking out and doing a happy dance over the fact that the SENIOR editor of a major military publication contacted me instead of the other way around, I got down to business. We struck up a friendship and what could be a very enlightening working relationship. Steve just recently signed a two book deal with his publisher Da
Capo Press, the first ever deal such as this for him, even though he's authored 8 books. His latest book released in May of this year is The Last Battle, a story set in the last literal days of the war in Europe. It takes place in Austria at a castle where some French politicos, or “honor prisoners” as the Nazi's called them, were being held. They were rescued by American troops, and a few German soldiers who never bought into Hitler's vision. The book reads like a Hollywood thriller, and it's no coincidence that Hollywood saw the same potential. The book has been optioned for a major motion picture and the script is currently being passed around and has been in the hands of Tom Hanks and Harvey Weinstein so far! So with this recent discovery and with the conversations that Steve and I have had, I'm just overwhelmed with what could be. It's a realistic expectation at this point, that if his version of the Hugh Barr Miller, Jr. story reads as well as it was lived, well then – we could be looking at a repeat of his recent success.
Prior to the Strong/Hugh Barr Miller, Jr. book which will begin early in 2014, he will be telling the story of young Anthony Marchione, the last man to die in the Pacific conflict, just after the accords with Japan were signed.
Japan had surrendered, and the US forces were doing aerial surveys over Japan. Marchione was with the crew
in the air when some die hard Japanese took shots at the plane. Fatally hit, Anthony bled to death over Japan, the last to die, just after the war was over. For more information on this upcoming book The Last to Die, check out the story Harding published in 2008: http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/The_Last_to_Die.html
The book about Strong will be written, this is now a reality. Contracts are signed and Steve is working diligently to
gather more information, even as he writes his current book. Within the next year to 18 months it will go from research to inception, to the publisher and then the shelf. Miller's story was previously optioned for a movie back in the late 1950's. Robert Stack bought the rights from Miller and intended to produce a film. Unfortunately Stack fell upon financial hard times and had to sell the developmental rights to none other than DesiLu Productions (yes, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball), where it died on the shelf. We have the opportunity here through Steve Harding to see it come back to life, which leads to wishful thinking and speculation on my part as to who could do the best job in directing and producing such a film. My picks are either Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks or Ron Howard. All three of them have experience with filming military based stories and with much success. Any of the three would do it justice. So far wishful thinking has paid off. Putting your wishes out to the universe, laying the groundwork and seeing what develops had worked splendidly. I'm amazed and astounded, and have much work to do helping Steve realize his vision of what this book could be. And I couldn't be happier with it all!
Anyone else with information to share such as letters or photographs of your father, grandfather, uncle or whomever was on Strong DD 467, please contact me. It's not too late to tell your story.