Submitted by: David Rocco
But “Captain Dixie” was much more. He was a sailor’s skipper. A man who would not ask his men to do anything he would not do. He referred to his crew as “Dixie’s kids.” His regular “cocktail club” meetings aboard his ships were legendary. And he even had a key role in an Academy Award-winning movie.
When his big aircraft carrier was hit by suicide planes, he remained on the bridge overseeing defenses and damage control for twelve hours even though he had suffered more than sixty serious shrapnel wounds and a badly broken right arm. It was not the first time he had been injured in battle but carried on performing amazing feats.
His men joked their skipper had so much shrapnel in his body that the ship’s compass followed him wherever he went. When the Secretary of the Navy awarded Dixie a medal for his amazing valor, he proclaimed Kiefer to be “The Indestructible Man.” But nobody could have foreseen the end to "Captain Dixie's" story.
Now, for the first time, Don Keith and David Rocco tell the full story of this pioneering hero who inspired not only the men with whom he served, but an entire nation at war.
About the author:
Award-winning and best-selling author Don Keith has lived in the South all his life and is a graduate of the University of Alabama. As a broadcast journalist, he won awards from the Associated Press and United Press International for news writing and reporting, and was also the first winner of Troy University's Hector Award for innovation in broadcast journalism. As an on-the-air broadcaster, Don was twice named Billboard Magazine "Radio Personality of the Year." His first novel, THE FOREVER SEASON, received the Alabama Library Association's "Fiction of the Year" award. He has since published more than thirty books, fiction and non-fiction, including the nationally best-selling thrillers FINAL BEARING, DANGEROUS GROUNDS, and FIRING POINT. His writing has also appeared in such publications as The Washington Post, CQ Magazine, The American Legion Magazine, The K9YA Telegraph, and The Irish Times. Don has written extensively about World War II history. He sponsors the UNTOLD MILLIONS Project, an effort to encourage the capture and publication of eyewitness accounts of major historical events such as the Great Depression, World War II and other wars, the space program, the Civil Rights struggle and more. The project web site is www.untoldmillions.net. Don lives in Indian Springs Village, Alabama, with his wife, Charlene. David Rocco – Bio From 1983 to 2002 I was employed as a civil service carpenter for the NYC Housing Authority. After eighteen years I unfortunately had to retire because of an on-the-job disabling injury. Shortly thereafter, I got involved as a volunteer for many cultural and environmental initiatives in the Hudson Valley and NYC. From 2002 through 2010, I played a seminal role in the successful development and eventual success of the Walkway Over the Hudson project. There were two highlights of the Walkway project that will remain with me throughout my lifetime. The first was being present on the Walkway on opening day as twenty thousand people made their way across the Walkway Over the Hudson. Secondly and more importantly, because of my Walkway project involvement, I had the honor and privilege of becoming a personal friend of the late U.S. veteran Pete Seeger. Other projects that have benefited from “my on the job” developing expertise in the not-for-profit volunteer arena include the Mt. Beacon Fire Tower Restoration Project, the Beacon Sloop Club, Bannerman Castle Trust, Friends of FDR State Park, the Yorktown Community Dog Park, the Yorktown Depot in Yorktown Heights, NY and Westchester County’s SPCA in Briarcliff Manor, NY. Staring in January 2015, I had the unique opportunity to be one of the founding members of the Friends of the Mt. Beacon Eight organization. The goal of this organization is to bring public awareness of the eight Navy veterans who were killed in two separate plane crashes on Mt. Beacon. I took part in a ceremony on November 14, 2015 to honor these eight forgotten heroes. Two perished on September 14, 1935 and the other six died on November 11, 1945. Based on my four years of research regarding these two plane crashes and the eight men who lost their lives, I recently co-authored a book called The Indestructible Man. One of the six men from the 1945 plane crash was Navy legend Commodore Dixie Kiefer. Scenic photography of the Hudson Valley and beyond has been a passion of mine for many years, more so now that I have been involved in some of the most important and historic restoration projects in the Hudson Valley Region. For the past five years I have been photographing the ongoing progress of the “New” Tappan Zee Bridge project. Some of my vast collection of photographs have been published in a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, trade journals, annual and quarterly reports, promotional packages, calendars and websites. In the spring of 2013, three of my photo images were selected for a photo exhibition at the Arts Westchester Gallery in White Plains, NY, showcasing the damage and destruction of Hurricane Sandy. Fifteen other images that I submitted along with the displayed image, was entered into the New York City permanent records. Recently, I had the honor of being part of Arts Westchester’s 50th Years Through the Decades Anniversary celebration where three of my images were selected for this month long showing. A number of my photos that were published in 2016 were considered for a Pulitzer Prize in Photography. David Lives in Yorktown Heights, NY, with his wife Ruby.