"God Bless, and Save America"

 

A compelling book of WW II through the eyes and voices of the local men and women who were there. From Pearl Harbor to the surrender of Japan, the men and women of Miami County were there.

They wrote of their war front experiences. From North Africa to Normandy, from Bataan to Okinawa by land sea and air, over 5,000 from Miami County maintained ties back home through the letters they penned.

These letters bring the personal side of war back to Miami County. Away from home and subjected to circumstances of battlefields, it was that pen and paper that brought the world situation to a personal level.

Letters came from boot camps, from ships and bombers headed for battles, from the battlefields, field hospitals and even Prisoner of War camps.

This is a fascinating book with letters and stories written by the men and women of Miami County expressing feelings and experiences. It is the surviving words, letters and stories from the local people who paid the price for liberty and freedom.

An extraordinary and rare book that youíll never forget.

 

This the book that finally brings WW II into a local perspective.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE WAR: NORTH AFRICA AND THE EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

DECEMBER 7, 1941óPEARL HARBOR

BOOT CAMP

THE LONG TRAIN RIDE

HEADING TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY

ONLY A LETTER

NORTH ATLANTIC DANGERS

SAILING OFF FOR WAR

TURNING THE TIDE OF WAR IN NORTH AFRICA

THE GERMAN SURRENDER IN NORTH AFRICA

A CHAPLAIN'S LIFE

COMPARING THE CASUALTIES OF WAR

A REALITY ABOUT FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM

PRELUDE TO THE ATTACK ON BARI, ITALY

THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS IN ITALY - 1943

FLYER RESCUED IN GERMAN HELD TERRITORY

THE NORMANDY BEACHHEAD ON D-DAY

NORMANDY FROM A BATTLESHIP

A NORMANDY GLIDER CRASH

THE V-1 BUZZ-BOMBS OVER ENGLAND

BATTLES ACROSS FRANCE, BELGIUM and HOLLAND

OPERATION MARKET GARDEN

THE BATTLE OF HURTGEN FOREST GERMANY

SARGEANT GRACE LEWIS WRITE FROM PARISó DECEMBER 1944

THE SIEGE OF BASTOGNE, BELGIUM

HOMEFRONT SOLDIER REUNIONS

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAROLYN

MAIMI COUNTY HONOR ROLL

THROUGH THE EYES OF A G.I. ó CHRISTMAS DAY 1944 IN ENGLAND

FROM THE SPEARHEAD DIVISION IN FRANCE

A LETTER FROM FRENCH FRONT

PLIGHT OF THE FRENCH ON THE HOMEFRONT

A B-17 CRASH LANDING

IíM NOT MISSING IN ACTION

THE LAST BATTLES IN GERMANY

THE DISCOVERED HORRORS IN GERMANY

WHEN PEACE WAS DECLARED IN PARIS

THE END OF THE WAR IN EUROPE

A LETTER FROM THE ITALIAN FRONT

ONE KILLED AT THE BATTLE FOR CASSINO

FIGHTING NORTH OF ROME

LETTERS FROM A GERMAN STALAG

OUR PRISONERS OF WAR, THE UNSUNG HEROES

WHAT WAS IT REALLY LIKE ON THE FRONT LINE?

NEEDS AMMO NOT AN INDUSTRIAL STRIKE

FRENCH RIVIERA BOMBING ON D DAY

THE ALLIED ASSAULT ON SOUTHERN FRANCE

SURRENDER OF GERMAN ARMY AT "OPERATION CASANOVA"

BROTHERS

THE BRIDGE AT REMAGEN

FINDING HITLERíS GOLD

A VIEW FROM PARIS WHEN GERMANY SURRENDERED

TOURING EUROPE FROM THE AIR ON V-E DAY

B-17 MERCY FLIGHTS

LOOKING AROUND BERLIN

A NURSE AT THE RECEIVING HOSPITAL

THE PRESIDENT IS DEAD

A PHONE CALL HOME

UNDER THE FLAG

VISITING HITLERíS LAIR

THE PACIFIC WAR

THE BATAAN DEATH MARCH

THE MUNDA TRAIL AND STARVATION HILL

ECHOES FROM LEYTE

GROWING UP

THE JAPS BOMB A MILITARY HOSPITAL

THOUSAND POUND ORNAMENTS FOR TOJOíS CHRISTMAS TREE

WHEN LETTERS EXPRESS FEAR

SAIPAN AND IWO JIMA

A PILOTíS ACCOUNT OF THE JAPANESE ISLANDS

THE LAST LETTER TO THE HOME TOWN

SOMESTIMES IT WAS A PHONE CALL

A SMALL COMFORT

THE FINAL DAYS OF EMPERIAL JAPANESE BATTLE

TROOP TRAIN DERAILS AT PIQUA

THE MISSING SHIP - THE U.S.S. INDIANAPOLIS

THANKS FOR THE PRAYERS

WITNESSES TO THE END OF WW II

BRINGING BACK THE POWS FROM JAPAN

OBTAINING THE SURRENDER OF JAPANESE OCCUPIED ISLANDS

THE TROOPS ARE COMING HOME

NOVEMBER 22, 1945, THANKSGIVING

A CLOSING THOUGHT

APPENDIX A Those FROM MIAMI COUNTY Killed During WW II

APPENDIX B MIAMI COUNTY MEN AND WOMEN HELD AS PRISONERS OF WAR

SAMPLE STORY:

FIGHTING NORTH OF ROME

The fighting in and around Rome, Italy was nasty and the terrain was rough in February 1944. Lieutenant Charles Schuesselin from Piqua shares some experiences leading up to wounds he suffered July 11, 1944.

"Yes, it was in February when we first met the Jerries. We had joined the division who were fighting just 30 miles north of Naples, and began our drive up through the mountains and in and out of Rome.

"At times going was easy, except for a few minor discomforts such as days without washing or shaving, living off K-rations and the fat of the land, when any could be found and plodding wearily onward over rough terrain day and night without sleep.

"We may have complained a little at the time, but if we had known what lie ahead, Iím sure there wouldnít have been a whimper from any of us. We were living the life of Riley then and didnít realize it.

"Minor clashes with the enemy marked the way, and we lost a number of the boys in the march, for while the enemy didnít fire too often, when they did, they made their shots count. They knew what they were shooting at before they set the sights on their guns. And we knew when we saw our buddies dropping on all sides.

"I was surprised I lasted from February until March and Iím even more surprised that I lived to come home. War is a pretty rugged business, make no mistake about that, and the farther north we drove, the heavier the oppositionís artillery fire became.

"We had quite a scrap outside Rome, but when we broke down the defenses and entered the city I experienced one of the greatest thrills of my life. When we entered, the streets were bare, but the minute it became an established fact that the Americans had arrived, walks and streets were jammed with populace, the young ones shouting with joy and tears of gratitude and relief streaming down the aged ones cheeks.

"There was no tarrying in Rome, even though it was a great victory, for the war was still to be won. We walked into the city in the afternoon and by the following morning we were well on our way towards conquering new fields.

"Our march led us through the mountains, where we ran onto several American flyers who had been shot down behind German lines. They had been living in huts and caves, with the help of allied sympathizers, who had taken to the hills when the Germans moved into their towns. These Italians with their meager living essentials strapped on their backs were quite a sight to see streaming down the mountain sides, returning to their homes as we took each new town.

"No matter how unbearable our life then may seem to the average civilian, it was not without its laughs, for instance the time we ran onto a small herd of goats and stopped long enough to enjoy fresh barbecues.

"Also, at first we thought itíd be fun to go for days without shaving, but the novelty soon wore off, and we found ourselves shaving every time we passed a creek large enough to dip our razor in. One man, designated as the company barber, because he had a pair of scissors, also helped us to keep up appearances and morale.

"All this though, we discovered, was but a prelude to death, in mass form. Early on the morning of July 11 we clambered down the mountain side, leaving cover and safety behind, into an open valley, completely devoid of any protection. We were pushing on, but what a price our company was to pay.

"The Jerries, but 1,200 yards in front of us, had us cornered. It was suicide if we tried to push ahead with our small forces, and sure death if we tried to retreat up the mountain side, for they would have picked us off one by one.

"We has struck a heavily fortified point of the Germans and they had too many men, guns and ammunition for us to make a successful stand, so there we were, caught like rats in a trap.

"Our every move was being carefully watched, and shallow fox holes werenít much protection against exploding artillery shells. I know, for at 5:30 that morning one landed too close to me, splitting my leg wide open.

"Our medics had all been killed or injured, there was no one to administer first aid, so the only thing I could do was lie still and pray. My prayers were eventually answered in the end, but at 3:30 that afternoon luck was against me, for two pieces of shrapnel found their way to my shoulder.

"Itís funny that I didnít notice the pain, but I guess I was too concerned with how and if I was going to get out of that hole, and too busy counting my blessings for not being in the shoes of some of those poor devils.

"It was a long day, but night finally came, and with it our chance to escape, what was left of us. So at 10;30 p.m., I was loaded rather roughly, on a litter and carried nearly a mile and a half to a truck that was to take me to a hospital.

"The Army doctors operated, put a steel plate in my leg, and fed me 16 pints of liquid blood and four pints of blood plasma while I was in the hospital, the tremendous amount of blood being necessary to wash out the infection through the open wound.

"On July 27 I was sewed up and placed in a cast which covered nearly my entire body up to my chest, and thatís the way I came back from the hospital in Naples, to the States, the cast being removed October 27.

"Several days after I was taken out of action I discovered that replacements and additional battalions had been sent up to that sector and the Germans were wiped out."

PRICE: $22.95, Soft cover,  260 pages, 63 Photos

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© 2009 Scott D. Trostel - All Rights Reserved

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