Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | November 11, 2010

Presumed Lost from WWII

Many of you know Bill Leibold.  Bill is one of our Veterans from World War II with ties to Palomar.  He and his wife Grace built a home on Palomar in the 1970’s.  Ken and Michelle now own “the Ship House” and below is a message from Ken about a book written about Bill and the crew of the USS Tang.

Bill was one of 9 survivors when the Tang was sunk and was found 11 long months later in  a Japanese Concentration Camp.  Bill has a fascinating memory album and let me take these photos to share.    He was recently contacted by the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.  They plan a feature of the Tang where museum visitors will actually be able to ‘re-live the last mission of the Tang’  by physically manning stations in a simulated submarine.  

For you people from the press, or if you’d like to meet Bill, he said I could provide his contact info.  He is the last survivor now that could give an interview for a wonderful story and is glad to autograph your book.  

From: Ken Easton

Subject: Bill Leibold and Escape from the Deep

I came across an excellent book on the story the Tang and her crew, titled Escape from the Deep: The Epic Story of a Legendary Submarine and Her Courageous Crew ” by Alex Kershaw.  Bill was interviewed extensively for the book.  I read it this weekend and unlike prior accounts this book goes into the survivors recovery and reintroduction to life stateside.  There is a special photo in the book from the war’s end – Grace is beaming just minutes after learning that Bill was alive (see 3rd photo).  Another photo from 1988 shows a crew reunion on Palomar (see last photo).   I unfortunately missed its debut last year – Bill was even at a book signing event with Mr. Kershaw at a local bookstore.  The news from a few weeks back is that a movie based on the book was green lighted a few weeks back with Duncan Jones (who was the talk of the recent Sundance Festival with his debut film, Moon) directing.  It’s going to be great to see this up on the big screen, a true story that tops anything Hollywood could invent.


 Click to read Bill and Grace’s story posted on the Mountain News December 7, 2004

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