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Editor's Note

About the Author || 1: Basic Training--1942

        Donald R. Parks, an Iowan now resident in Texas, writes a fascinating personal memoir of how he got involved in World War II as a soldier and what it was like from the "bottom up."  An infantryman, he provides us insight into how foot soldiers fared and does it in an engaging prose style. The story flows from his childhood in Iowa through his war experiences. Parks had gone to college before entering the U. S. Army, unusual for that day and age. Because his father died in a tragic accident, he opted to help support the family rather than attend the prestigious Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He became a mail carrier for the U. S. Postal Service.  His postal career was put on hold when he enlisted in the U. S. Army, but he would return to it after his military service. Parks scored very high on the Army General Classification Test and was selected to enter the Army Specialized Training Program. Sent to the University of Mississippi, he and his fellow soldiers were put through two years of college in nine months. He also enjoyed himself. Then he and the others joined the war in Europe.

    He served in the 2nd Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 301st Infantry Regiment, 94th Infantry Division, United States Army in 1942-1945 as a scout. He rose to the rank of Sergeant and won the Bronze Star. Although he lost friends and saw horrors, he had a "good war." He kept a positive attitude and managed to find periods of pleasure.

    This is a delightful read as well as an valuable original source for those puzzling out the complex and compelling history of American combat soldiers in World War II. Parks writes well. That is always a plus. He has a sense of what interests people. He has a sense of humor. He loves life. He has a good memory.

    The book is presented here as it came to the Historical Text Archive with one exception. A better photograph of people murdered by the SS was substituted. There is a glaring spelling error when he writes Eisenhauer instead of Eisenhower. There are a few typos. There are a few other peculiarities in the manuscript. None of these detract from its importance.

Donald J. Mabry
July, 2008