We received the following sad news from Warren Stirling of the USS Johnston/USS Hoel Association about the passing of author Jim Hornfischer. With his acclaimed naval history book, The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour, Jim let the world fully know of the heroism of the sailors aboard the Samuel B. Robert (DE-413).
Our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Sharon, family and friends.
Dear Johnston/Hoel Family,
It is deeply saddening to report to you that our good friend, James Hornfischer, has passed away. James left us at the age of 55 on June 2, 2021, after struggling with a challenging medical situation. James attended several of our reunions while gathering information for his perhaps best known work, “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.” In that book he not only describes the historic aspects of the Battle at Leyte Gulf on 25 October, 1944, but he also was able to capture and relate an account of the events from a more personal perspective based on his interviews with our shipmates. There were gripping first hand accounts of what crewmembers were doing, feeling, and experiencing during the battle and also during the hours of torment in the water while waiting for rescue.
The Johnston/Hoel family is grateful for James’ friendship and for his efforts in helping others understand the significance of the events at Leyte Gulf. We extend our most heartfelt and sincere sympathy to the Hornfischer family during this time of sadness as James moves on.
USS Johnston/USS Hoel Association