In 1941, 20 teenage boys enter the United States School of Music and go on to become United States Navy Band 22 (USNB-22). For almost a year, these young men live together, train together and perform together. Then, on Dec. 7, 1941, while serving aboard the USS Arizona, they died together.
USNB-22 is their story. It is a patriotic tale of America’s past that can never be forgotten.
To the author of “USNB-22”: You are to be commended for taking on such a difficult task as writing a manuscript. The subject matter is a part of history, or “infamy,” of course, speaking of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The boys from the United States School of Music and members of the Navy Band are well-developed, particularly Paul, around whom the story is framed. The human experience is explored in this dramatic telling of the story, which focuses not only on the men’s relationships and their love of music, but also on that of Paul and Hiwaiani. Paul needs to experience more of life in order to play a song like “Taps” with feeling.
The humor is entertaining, such as when Williams says the Salisbury steak doesn’t look bad, and Burdette replies, “It’s not steak. It’s chicken.” The humor acts as a nice break from the dramatic moments, just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor when a few of the characters share lighthearted moments. The character who mentions that God protects the seas, basically because of the Americans, seems arrogant. Things soon change.
This story focuses on the people more than the war, and that is commendable, as we get to know the men behind the scenes of battle. We are pleased to award this manuscript our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for ages 12-plus. It is a fine piece of work and a story to which many readers will relate. It is an unashamedly patriotic story.