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New book chronicles sinking of the SS Montebello off the coast of Cambria, California by Japanese submarine three weeks after attack on Pearl Harbor

Union Oil (UNOCAL)
SS Montebello.

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with historian and author, Stuart McDowell about his new book The Sinking of the SS Montebello—When World War II came to the Central Coast of California.

Courtesy Stuart McDowell
Book cover The Sinking of the SS Montebello

The book vividly chronicles the events surrounding the torpedo attack and the heroic Central Coast residents who risked their lives to rescue the crewmen.

The oil tanker was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-21 off the coast of Cambria, California on December 22, 1941.

montebelloIn BC copy.jpeg
Union Oil (UNOCAL)
SS Montebello en route to delivering load of oil from Avila Beach, California to British Columbia.

Fortunately all crew members were rescued but the tragic event further propelled fears of a Japanese invasion of the West Coast.

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Tom Wilmer produces on-air content for Issues & Ideas airing over KCBX and is producer and host of the six-time Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. Recorded live on-location across America and around the world, the podcasts feature the arts, culture, music, nature, history, science, wine & spirits, brewpubs, and the culinary arts--everything from baseball to exploring South Pacific atolls to interviewing the real Santa Claus in the Arctic.