ABOUT THE BOOK (from the book)
Eight combat veterans of World War II tell their stories, recalling humorous parts of their military careers, as well as recalling the tough action that each of them saw. Recalling horrors of war isn't easy...some of these men recalled more than they wanted to remember. It is interesting to listen to them fall from past to present tense, as if they were right back in combat today, not 60 years later.
Everyone of these eight men was just a young boy when he entered military service. Most had never been far from home, yet each one found himself thousands of miles away, facing death on a daily basis. It is a privilege to capture their stories for posterity, especially since three men have passed away between the period of dictating their stories and publishing time.
Marine PFC Silas Barnes leads off with the tale of his being bayoneted and captured on Corregidor and his POW work on Japanese ships and in a Japanese lead mine. He tells of his breaking up of the Domi Room, where American prisoners were placed because they were conducting a food-trading scheme, starving their fellow POWs.
Sergeant Roland Hartman of the Big Red One tells of his three invasions, his 443 days in battle and how he opened Exit E-1 off Omaha Beach on D-Day. You can read about his first hot meal at the front after D-Day...about the blood, coffee and mashed potatoes when the tree burst round landed nearby.
Paratrooper JK Horne was 25 miles off target when he jumped in Southern France and only 120 feet above the ground. It was a good thing that he was a record setting runner at jump school.
Alex Malko, Jr., USMC, was one of six Malko Brothers who served in the military in WWII, all of them assigned overseas. Going to Saipan from Bougainville to visit his brother's grave wasn't easy.
Machine Gunner Charles Edgar Van Lieu felt that by removing the tracer shells from his weapon he saved his life, but he still had four narrow escapes from death in one day. The Russian lady cabinot escapade deals with bartering for vodka and stealing back the jeep they traded to the Russians.
Charles Cooper highlights the 70 missions he flew as a top turret gunner on a B-25. Their first night in Corsica was the deadliest raid the Germans ever conducted on their base. He and pilot Ver Keljik formed a lasting relationship.
Don Valis' catapult duty on the aircraft carrier Randolph was marred by a Japanese kamikaze bomber and an American P-38 both crashing into their ship. Their Divisional Officer in charge of catapulting and arresting gears narrowly escapes death by the sailors under his command.
Pilot Ken Valis and his B-24 crew were the 12th bomber over Normandy on D-Day. But they almost didn't come back from the raid on Politz. Their Squadron dance was called off when the bus load of new Catholic nurses arrived to find a fight-between the two highest ranking Catholic officers on base.
"Larry Valis has put together a compilation of brutally
honest and dramatic experiences which graphically illustrate the
extraordinary heroism forged by relatively average American citizens.
It makes one realize the tremendous debt we owe to all those 'boys
who became men'. "
Richard T. Schulze--U.S. Merchant Marine 1948
U.S. Army 1951-1953
U.S. Congress 1975-1993
"With the dedication of the new War Memorial in Washington this spring, there is renewed interest in World War II. This book couldn't be more timely. It is a chronicle of bravery and anguish that reminds us of the high cost of freedom."
Henry J. Hyde, Cmdr. USNR (retired)
U.S. Navy 1942-1946, Ensign OIC-LCT 1148, So. Pacific, New Guinea, Philippines-Luzon invasion
U.S. Congress 1975-present
Chairman-House International Relations Committee
"From Young Boys to Fighting Men fittingly describes
what our servicemen went through in WWII and the fortunes of war
that brought these eight men home again.
The book captures day-to-day happenings that should interest anyone who ever served,
or had loved ones serve in the military. Any history buff will enjoy these human interest and sometimes humorous stories that honor our veterans."
Sam Gibbons, Paratrooper, U.S. Army 1941-1945
Major 501st Reg., 101st Airborne Division
D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, Berchtesgaden Battles
U.S. Congress 1962-1997
Chairman, House Ways & Means Committee
Chairman-Normandy, D-Day 50th Anniversary Reunion
The book is 19.95 plus $4.50 shipping and handling.
To order, send check or money order to either:
208 South Branch Road
Hillsborough, NJ, 08844
2314 East Doublegate Drive,
Albany, Georgia, 31721