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Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good, and to protect our democracy.
As an annual tradition here at Chanticleer Reviews on Veterans Day, we are suggesting these titles from among our reviews of authors who are Veterans.
But before we recognize these outstanding works, let us take a minute to review these statistics about those who have served our country.
- 22 veterans, on average, commit suicide every day. The majority (71%) with a firearm. (Stars and Stripes, Mar 5, 2020)
- The suicide rate of veterans is double that of civilians.
- The suicide rate for younger veterans (18 -29) is 7 times higher than their civilian peers.
- The suicide rate among female veterans is 140 percent higher than their civilian peers.
- No one knows how many military spouses and families members commit suicide.
- Gulf War – Era veterans now account for the largest share of all U.S. Veterans.
- In 2017, there were 6.8 million living American veterans who served in the Vietnam Era.
- In 2017, there were 7.1 million living American veterans who served in the Gulf War Era.
- It is believed that 45% of all veterans who served in the Gulf War are disabled.
Stars and Stripes, PEW Research.org (http://pewrsr.ch/2jgY89s), Census.gov, American Community Survey 2017, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, data.census.gov
HELPFUL LINKS for ASSISTANCE
Writing is known to be a “transformative therapy’ for veterans haunted by their experiences. “The Red Badge Project encourages Wounded Warriors to rediscover their personal voice and realize the value of their experiences and emotions.”
“RBP partners with Vet Centers and allows Veterans of all ages to take advantage of the Red Badge Project’s program while providing a link between veterans of multiple generations.” Here is a link to a Seattle Times article by Nicole Brodeur that was published on November 11, 2019, that is about the Red Badge Project.
We here at Chanticleer Reviews have had the honor of reviewing top novels and narrative non-fiction written by outstanding authors whose stories enlighten, remind, empathize, and creates a better understanding with those who have served in the armed forces.
Outstanding Fiction — CLICK on the links to read the full reviews and for links to the authors.
Philip Derrick, Air Force brat and then served in the US Army, and now an award -winning Military Thriller author
…Derrick takes us through bases and onto transports that finally bring us to the landscape of the Vietnam War, up close and personal. We are with Jim as mines are exploding all around him, as Huey helicopters are blown out of the sky right above his head, as he catches malaria…Derrick shows the daily grind of humping through the jungle, the mind-numbing boredom of waiting for battle, and then the chaos in the very-all-too-real life or death battles…
Jeffrey K Walker, served 20 years as an Air Force officer as a navigator and is now a law professor along with being an award-winning author working on his First World War Trilogy. He and his wife love to travel. He writes a fascinating and relevant blog. https://jeffreykwalker.com/blog/
..the novel takes us deep into the lives of its characters as they serve in the bloody trenches, convalesce, and try to live normal lives despite the physical and emotional damages they suffered…Their humanness, their frailties confronted by the awfulness of the war, gives the book its special heart…
Three page-turning thriller novels with unlikely heroes that make for great reads.
Dog Soldier Moon by McKendree Long
“Long goes far beyond the simplistic notion of the Civil War as told in American history texts to accurately portray the daily challenges faced by homesteading families, freed slaves, American Indians robbed of their ancestral lands, and ex-soldiers who face the disrespect of the Union army. Heart-warming and at times hilarious adventures are juxtaposed with gritty and emotionally wrenching moments such as Custer’s 1868 attack on Chief Black Kettle’s Cheyenne camp at Washita… Author McKendree Long displays a natural gift for storytelling.” Click here to read the full review.
McKendree R. (Mike) Long III is a former soldier whose awards and decorations include the Parachutist’s Badge, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Silver Star, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (Gold and Silver Stars).
Tarnished Hero by Jim Gilliam
“It is when Kelly accepts an open invitation to spend some time in Guzman’s drug palace in Northern Mexico that his code of “trusting friends first” will force him to face not only the dilemma of a loyalty to be divided between Guzman and Dave Holt, but also of being thrust into a senseless and bloody border war that has more than a few parallels to the Vietnam conflict. As such, Gilliam’s novel stands not only as a complex and intriguing “band of brothers” romp but also as a reflection on the evils of unquestioned authority and corruption.” Click here to read the full review.
Jim Gilliam served on active duty with the Coast Guard from January 1957 until June 1966. In June 1978 he joined the Army as an airborne combat physician assistant. May 2001 he joined the Navy’s Military Sealift Command as a civilian mariner physician assistant. He is a veteran of multiple deployments to the Persian Gulf in support of operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
Measure of Danger by Jay Klages
“Measure of Danger,” Jay Klages’ debut novel is a page-turning techno-thriller written by a former military intelligence officer and a West Point graduate. Klages experience and expertise is revealed with his believable dialog, details, and operative descriptions. The work features military-trained Kade Sims, and his accountant sidekick, Alex Pace; we can’t wait to read what other dangerous puzzles this unlikely dynamic duo will be called on to solve.
Jay Klages is a former military intelligence officer and West Point graduate. He attended the MBA program at Arizona State University, where he successfully deprogrammed himself for service in corporate America. He enjoys desert trail running and is particularly good at falling down.
Though now retired from the Marines, GySgt L. Christian Bussler is still active in the veteran community and acts as a mentor for other veterans. A truly magnificent and heartfelt memoir, No Tougher Duty, No Greater Honor is a must-read for every American.
Michael M. Van Ness, the grandson of “the general in command,” has created a remarkable biography chronicling the adventures of a farm boy who rose high rank in the US military and served with distinction in two world wars as a combatant, officer, and sage observer…John Benjamin Anderson served in the Mexican War, WWI, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and WWII where he met with Winston Churchill, oversaw the liberation of the Dutch city of Roermond, and served in the Rhineland of Germany.
Kiffer’s favorite quote from this book:“…it took all of our personal sacrifices to go from war to peace.” Quinton Kelley
World War II veteran Quinton Kelley recounted his life story to his daughter…Kelley’s tale begins in Coker Creek, Tennessee, where he was raised on an 80-acre farm, in a log cabin that he described as rough, but “brightened” with flowers…The second part of the book shows Kelley leaving Coker Creek for Camp Beale, California, where he became the company carpenter. Assigned to an armored division, the former farm boy showed his worth as the only member of his group who did not need the training to drive a tank…He drove into combat, first in France, then in Germany, as part of an initiative that ultimately saw the end of Hitler’s Third Reich…Kelley did not glorify himself in recounting his war exploits, but vividly described what it’s like to sit in a tank, looking at the action through a tiny window, always in danger of being killed while trapped inside the metal box. There’s not much room, he opined, for mistakes in battle.
“A very personal, no-holds-barred yet ultimately empowering discussion of PTSD and its effects on those who suffer from it.” – CBR
The book has been written in a ‘How To’ format for combat soldiers which is reflected in examples and language.
“I went away to war one person and came back another, and in my wildest dreams would never have chosen to be the one who came back…I was a twenty-year-old Warrant Officer Helicopter Pilot fresh out of flight school when I arrived in South Vietnam in May of 1969 and was assigned to B Troop 7/17 Air Cav in Pleiku. I joined the Scout Platoon and spent my entire tour as a Scout Pilot in the Central Highlands, and in that time saw my friends killed, captured, wounded and lose their minds.”
PTSD, Wartime Nursing, Social Issues
Rhyan served nearly twenty years in the US Navy as a nurse, her final deployment taking place in Afghanistan to a medical unit run by the British where Rhyan upheld her duties to aid others, while inwardly feeling unprotected and helpless. After witnessing the many tragedies of war, primary among them multiple amputations, she comes home scarred in mind. Her trauma becomes so obvious that she is sent to a special private unit.
Rhyan’s memoir is frank, insightful, and a powerful reminder of the toll taken by those who wrestle with the fallout of the carnage of war. She also reminds us of the resiliency of the human spirit and the power of hope.
Just a Note from Kiffer Brown:
On a personal note, many of my family members have served their country (many of whom have passed) and are serving their country: my father (Marine Corps, deceased), my brother (Army, with us but 100% disabled), my nephew Robert is currently serving in the Air Force, my dear Aunt Ellen (WWII nurse – she passed away recently), my cousin Billy Wayne (first 100 to die in the USA – Vietnam Conflict), and many other cousins too numerous to mention here.
This is my small way of honoring and recognizing my relatives along with other Veterans for their service to our country.
Thank you for taking the time to read my annual Veterans Day blog post.
Semper Fi – Kiffer