If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Look for our new bloggers this month. Debra Sennefelder will blog on 1/15, and Debra Goldstein debuts on 1/22. Please welcome our double Debs to WWK.

Don't miss our January author interviews: 1/10-Lawrence H. Levy, 1/17-Kaye George, 1/24-Janet Bolin, 1/31-Kathy Aarons. And E. B. Davis will interview Shari Randall on Monday 1/29 about the publication of her first novel, Curses, Boiled Again. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our January Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 1/6-Becky Clark, Pat Hale, Leslie Karst, Edith Maxwell, Shawn McGuire, C. Perkins, and Sue Star, and 1/13-Polly Iyer. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 1/20, and Kait Carson on 1/27.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Writing with my Father, Bronze Star

Writing with my Father part 3; On Winning a Bronze Star

Note: I’ve written before about helping my father write his memoirs. You can read

more in this blog on 18/08/10 and 11/12/10.

From my father:

One day we went out in the field to shoot at an embedded foxhole. We shot from across a railroad embankment. I was one of the better shots in the company with a rifle grenade so I think that’s why I got the assignment. I don’t know if we did any damage.

When we started to return somebody said, “ Hey, look. We’re in a mine field.” I looked and there were little wires sticking up. The mines were called, “Bouncing Betties.” When set off, they would jump up two or three feet and then explode. The idea was to kill or wound as many men as possible. In our minds we could feel the mines exploding into our private parts. We were already scared but I said, “Follow me.” I walked very slowly and carefully. The squad members were content to stay behind me. One man was wounded by a mine when he stepped out of line. Later he died. When we got back to my company they made a big deal out of me getting the men out of the minefield. I was regarded as a hero, but I should have been criticized for taking them in, in the first place.

About a week later a fellow from headquarters showed up and said, “I’ve got a bronze star for you.” I said, “Thank you. What is it for?” He told me it was for getting the men out of the minefield. There was no way I could refuse, but I knew I didn’t really deserve it. I think the company had medals to give out and were looking for any excuse to award one to somebody. They should have given me criticism for getting the men into the minefield in the first place. That’s what the bronze star amounted to.

Note from Warren

For this part of the memoir, I did a few line edits and got out of the way of my father telling his story. I’ve witnessed his attitude about earning a medal and being considered a hero in other members of his Division. When called a hero the universal answer is, “I am not a hero. The real heroes never came home.” He maintained the many outstanding acts of bravery were not witnessed and that getting a medal was based on someone seeing the act and pushing the paperwork.

On November 11, 2010, I watched a segment of the television show 60 Minutes about Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta, who became the first living soldier to receive a Medal of Honor since the war in Viet Nam. He seemed embarrassed to be in his words, “singled out” when so many people were doing so much. He described himself as an “Average” and a “Mediocre” soldier who did only “What anyone else would have done.” He said that members of his unit who died were the only people,

“who gave their all for their country.” He credited his medal to somebody else filling out forms and talking to other people, not to his own actions. His award was for repeatedly charging into enemy fire to save other solders despite being shot twice. He was considered extremely brave in the face of almost certain death.

The Staff Sergeant maintained that he was never in a firefight without others in his unit supporting him. He said he accepted the medal on behalf of all who have served their country.

What does “heroism” mean to you?


Pauline Alldred said...

I agree with your father and Staff Sergeant Guinta that most heroism isn't witnessed or acknowledged. Perhaps the hero is motivated by something deep within himself that means more than life itself. A soldier could naturally be called a hero but, in a country undergoing war or civil conflict, untrained civilians risk their lives to save neighbors and strangers. They don't expect to be rewarded and most often they aren't.

Warren Bull said...

I agree Pauline, civilians can face greater risks without weapons or training.

E. B. Davis said...

When your father said "embedded" does that mean manned?

I take issue with him. Did he make the call to go out on the mission? If he didn't, then why did he think he was responsible for leading the men through a mined field? Sixty years ago the technology didn't exist that would pick up on mined land--in other words--he couldn't have known.

He was a bonafided hero whether he wants credit for the citation or not. I can appreciate humbleness, but not when it contradicts the facts. I believe that people aren't given enough credit and when they deserve it, as your father did, credit should be bestowed, and it was.

Are citations to be given only to the dead?

Warren Bull said...

My father was following orders. I think the men were in the minefield before they recognized what it was. I believe it was disguised to some extend. I tried to write my father's impressions, not my own. He witnessed so many acts of bravery, many of them not recognized by commanders, that, like a lot of military men, he developed his own ideas about heroism and discounted his own.

jennymilch said...

"The real heroes never came home." I'm glad your father did, Warren.

Warren Bull said...

Thank you, Jenny