Saturday, November 15, 2014

13 Soldiers: A Personal History of Americans at War

13 Soldiers: A Personal History of Americans at War by Senator John McCain and Mark Salter
Courtesy of Simon and Schuster

Senator John McCain and Mark Salter have teamed up for a sixth time to bring us their perspective on the history of  Americans at war. 13 Soldiers tells the personal stories of thirteen remarkable soldiers who fought in major military conflicts, from the Revolutionary War of 1776 to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. McCain and Salter focus on real soldiers who exhibited extraordinary bravery, sacrifice, obedience, initiative, and love. McCain and Salter believe they are the best America has to offer.

Elton Mackin
Courtesy of Susan Smith

One of those 13 soldiers is Elton Mackin of Lewiston, New York, a Marine who served in World War I and later in life settled in Norwalk, Ohio. This highly decorated Marine fought in every Marine Brigade battle from Belleau Wood to the crossing of the Meuse on the eve of the Armistice. Mackin was awarded the United States Army Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, and two Army Silver Star citations. Several summers ago, I discovered at the Hayes Presidential Center, four cassette tapes of a 1973 interview with Elton Mackin by the late Dr. Carl Klophenstein, Professor of History at Heidelberg University. Transcribed by Assistant Julie Mayle and Intern Becca Dickinson, the interview now appears on the Hayes Presidential Center website. Contact with Mackin's family brought the donation of photographs and a copy of Mackin's manuscript "Flashes and Fragments." His manuscript and the interview were later adapted by Marine Corps historian George B. Clark and published in 1993 as Suddenly We Didn't Want to Die: Memoirs of a World War I Marine.

Published by Presidio Press 1993

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