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Jump: Into the Valley of the Shadow: The War Memories of Dwayne Burns Communications Sergeant-508th P.I.R.

Overview

When Dwayne Burns turned 18 during World War II, he decided that he wanted to fight alongside America’s best. He joined the paratroopers and was assigned to the 508th Regiment of the 82d Airborne Division. Little did he suspect that a year later he'd be soaring in a flak-riddled C–47 over Normandy, part of the very spearhead of the Allied drive to seize back Europe.

Burns landed behind German lines during the dark, early hours of D–day, and gradually found other survivors of his...

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Jump: Into the Valley of the Shadow: The War Memories of Dwayne Burns Communications Sergeant - 508th P.I.R.

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Overview

When Dwayne Burns turned 18 during World War II, he decided that he wanted to fight alongside America’s best. He joined the paratroopers and was assigned to the 508th Regiment of the 82d Airborne Division. Little did he suspect that a year later he'd be soaring in a flak-riddled C–47 over Normandy, part of the very spearhead of the Allied drive to seize back Europe.

Burns landed behind German lines during the dark, early hours of D–day, and gradually found other survivors of his division. The paratroopers fought on every side in a confused, running battle through the hedgerows, finally making a stand in a surrounded farmhouse. With one room reserved for their growing piles of corpses, the paratroopers held their ground until finally relieved by infantry advancing from the beaches.

After being pulled out of Normandy, the airborne troops were said to be “burning a hole in SHAEF’s pocket,” and thus were launched into Holland as part of Montgomery’s plan to gain a bridgehead across the Rhine. This daytime jump was less confused than the nocturnal one, but there were more Germans than expected and fewer Allied forces in support. It was another maelstrom of pointblank combat in all directions, and though the 82d achieved its objectives, the campaign as a whole achieved little but casualties.

The 82d had hardly refilled with replacements when the Germans broke through the U.S. front in the Ardennes. The 82d’s paratroopers were put aboard trucks and hastened to stand in the way of the panzer onslaught. Passing through Bastogne they went farther north to St. Vith, where the U.S. 7th Armored and other divisions were reeling. The 82nd held its own with quickly assembled defense perimeters, allowing other units to escape. After beating off massive attacks by German SS, the paratroopers were disgusted to hear that they, too, had been ordered to retreat. They didn’t feel they needed to, but Monty was determined to “tidy up the battlefield.” On January 3 they counterattacked through the freezing hills, sealing off the Bulge and pursuing the Germans back into the Reich.

In this work, Dwayne Burns, assisted by his son Leland (U.S. Army, 1975–79), not only relates the chaos of combat but the intimate thinking of a young soldier thrust into the center of several of history’s greatest battles. His memories provide a fascinating insight into the reality of close-quarters combat.

REVIEWS

I was glad to see this book...tells his story from the bottom side. It looked different from a foxhole. The book is told in the form of a bunch of little stories, not a day by day diary. This makes it much more interesting, and I recommend it highly.
Books-On-Line,02/2007

... Sadly Dwayne passed away just hours before the full account went to press. The BURNS team produced a book that keeps the reader's interested from cover to cover...
As you read Jump into the Valley of the Shadow, a prominent theme, the Brotherhood of the paratroopers, is apparent and runs through the whole book: You will notice their concern for each other and their grief over their fallen comrades. "
The Static Line,02/2007

"Destined to Become a Classic World War II Memoir... a masterful job of taking the reader along on a compelling journey...It is war, as seen from the foxhole and is destined to become a classic World War II memoir."
Phil Nordyke (philnordyke@allamerican82nd.com), A reviewer,06/2007

“A true member of the Greatest Generation, Burns’ fascinating story is well worth reading.”
Flight Journal, 10/2008

“…riveting and insightful…extremely human recollections…”
Air, Power, History, Winter 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Power History Air
. . . riveting and insightful . . . extremely human recollections . . .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935149835
  • Publisher: Casemate Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/13/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,421,157
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

1 "No one is to be off base for any reason." 3

2 The ship was bouncing like some wild bronco. 23

3 "There are no options. We'll hold our ground right here." 39

4 "He didn't make it. He's dead." 55

5 "Strap on the radio and stay close." 69

6 "Make me a sergeant." 83

7 "You're not killing anyone; you're shooting at a target. " 99

8 "My gosh, what are we going to do?" 111

9 We ran for the lights and shot from the hip. 125

10 "We've been ordered to move up and stop them." 141

11 Christmas just couldn't get any worse than this. 159

12 "Fox Three, do you copy?" 171

13 "Are you trying to take me out with an 88?" 189

14 Nothing was too good for Eisenhower's Red Devils. 197

15 "I'm not a damn Yank, I'm from Texas!" 207

Epilogue 217

Notes 223

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2007

    Destined to Become a Classic World War II Memoir

    Dwyane Burns, a paratrooper with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 'Red Devils' during World War II, and his son Leland, have done a masterful job of taking the reader along on a compelling journey. From Dwayne's training and life in England, to his combat jumps in Normandy and Holland, and the fighting from the Norman hedgerow country to the frozen hell of the Bulge, the reader is drawn into the action and vicariously lives the life of a World War II paratrooper. In his job as a radio operator and later communication sergeant, Burns saw and participated in frontline fighting, and yet has unique insight into the officers who led his company, battalion, and regiment. It is war, as seen from the foxhole and is destined to become a classic World War II memoir.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2011

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    Posted January 10, 2011

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