Patrick K. O'Donnell~~ 4 1/2 and 5 Star Reviews

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Dog Company--The Boys of Pointe du Hoc

Patrick K. O’Donnell

DaCapo Press

Hardcover

978-0306820298

*****

 

 

            History books about war seem to categorize battles and the men who fought them in a manner which becomes so factual we tend not to get a real feeling of what happened. Patrick K. O'Donnell in Dog Company is not one of those authors. Army Rangers are a breed of fighting soldiers whose training not only brings honor to the United States, they are the toughest fighting machine we have ever put on the battlefield.

            Many stories tell of other rangers such as Darby's Rangers, but this story tells of Dog Company and the men who survived an invasion of such gigantic proportions it still captures the imaginations of storywriters.  A carefully planned invasion was a part of June 6, 1944, when our troops, attacking a heavily fortified enemy emplacement, gave an account of themselves which is still retold as if it was only yesterday.

            It is very fitting this Veterans' Day that we remember the survivors and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom. The achievement of these brave men was phenomenal. Less than half of the 68-man company survived the initial assault of Pointe Du Hoc where they disabled German guns, which potentially could have disrupted the D-Day invasion. These men were so heroic they fought with injuries, which would have stopped a lessor man immediately.

            An outstanding distinction of these Rangers is the description of their toughness. Almost every time they went on liberty, they would get into fights with service members of other units. Always comrades in arms, they would band together in aid of each other. They formed a bond that would carry them through the war, and life.

            Descriptive passages by O'Donnell demonstrate how these men from different units had completed some of the most rigorous training of the war. When they landed, there were prepared to lead the way no matter what the cost. Climbing ropes up sheer cliffs while under enemy fire was only part of their story. One of the men who had his hand nearly shot off, made the climb and was an instrumental force in firing his weapon aiding his fellow troops.

            Veteran's Day on November 11 is the official day for remembering service men and women who have given not only the ultimate sacrifice, but also those who have served for the honor and dignity of the United States. As a veteran, I salute my fellow veterans who have served and those who are serving. This is a 5-star book and one which every veteran can be proud of having on their bookshelf.

Clark Isaacs

 



Give Me Tomorrow:  The Korean War's Greatest Untold Story, The

Epic Stand of the Marines of George Company

Patrick K. O'Donnell

DaCapo Press

978‑0306818011

*****

    

Give Me Tomorrow by Patrick K. O'Donnell is the story of George Company Marines who served in an unpopular Korean War and sacrificed their lives to stop the communist onslaught of North Korea and the Chinese army.  O'Donnell interviewed over one hundred Marines who served in George Company and has corroborated his book with primary source materials.  As the story unfolds, it is as audacious as any movie, but the remarkable part of this saga is that it is true. Reading becomes gruesome at times, but so is war. 

One incident tells of a Rabbi who appears on the battlefield to conduct a service for those Jewish front line troops. There is only one serviceman who was Jewish in the outfit, and he asked his superior what he should do since the Rabbi is there for a prayer service.  Without hesitation, one fellow Marine said they would all attend the service.  The service was conducted in the remnants of a Catholic church, and a full audience greeted the Rabbi.  He asked if they were all Jewish, and they responded they were.  He then reminded these 'Jewish' Christian Marines to cover their heads as is customary when praying in Judaism.

Fighting in Korea in the 1950's was extremely difficult due to the weather, terrain, and Chinese soldiers.  Temperatures were in the ‑30's; mountains were icy, and rivers bordered rustic roads that had to be overcome. The enemy was vastly underestimated by intelligence 'experts' who pegged the numbers at around 200,000 strong when, in fact, they were 600,000 plus.  A joint effort by the United Nation's forces made the Herculean effort by the 200 men of George Company seem incredible as they earned Congressional Medals of Honor, Silver Stars, Bronze

Stars, and, of course, Purple Hearts as they sustained 300% casualties during the many skirmishes they endured.

An outstanding reminiscent was when a combat journalist asked a

Marine who was attempting to eat "C" rations in sub‑zero temperature the question that would become the title of this book, "What would you want if you could have any wish?" The Marine continued to stand motionless with empty eyes.  Then his lips began to open... [and] his eyes went up into the graying sky. "Give me tomorrow."

This book has not only brought to life those who gave theirs in the defense of freedom, it captures the essence of how the Marine Corps is a brotherhood of men who will sacrifice their safety and lives for each other.  Sixty years have passed, and the tales that are recanted still brings tears to the eyes of those who served.  On November 10, 2010, at the National Museum of the Marine Corps near Quantico, Virginia, a stone memorial was dedicated to the memory of those 150 men of George Company who died in the Korean War.
          This book is highly recommended as another memorial to those who have valiantly served.

Clark Issacs
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