The Minesweeper: A Cincinnati Teenager Serves in Italy During World War IIby Kathy H. Kitts
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The Minesweeper tells the true story of 18-year-old Ray Wissel, who served in Italy in the Ammunition & Pioneer platoon of the Army during World War II as a minesweeper. Ray's story takes him from Cincinnati to South Carolina for basic training, to Texas, and then Virginia, where he leaves for war. Ray travels across the Atlantic to the Atlas Mountains in Africa, where he learns the dangerous art of explosives. Going by liberty ship to Naples, Ray fights his way up the boot of Italy until he arrives in Bolzano by the end of the war. The story details Ray's unique and dangerous experiences in the Italian campaign including finding and disarming German mines for three months near Minturno.
His friendship with another minesweeper, Wesley Cobb, is both heartwarming and full of sorrow. The events that Ray experiences in the infantry - delivering ammunition to the front lines, minesweeping for Teller mines at Leghorn, creating the morning reports when he is transferred to the personnel unit, the death of a friend - all make a permanent impression on his mind. The Minesweeper is a complete war story about one teenager, beginning in 1943, but not concluding at the end of the war. The book comes full circle and ends in 2007, with 82-year-old Ray keeping a promise to always remember his fallen friend.
The story, written by Ray's eldest daughter, is based on thorough research, including Ray's 266 letters home, which his mother saved for him, as well as interviews with Ray himself. The book includes excerpts from Ray's letters and reveals many little known facts about the war. But more important than dates and facts, The Minesweeper is a story about courage, brotherhood, and remembrance.
- Kathy H. Kitts
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 681 KB
Meet the Author
Kathy Kitts has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Writer's Journal, Ranger Rick, and other magazines. She holds a degree in English from the College of Mt. St. Joseph, a M.Ed. degree and an M.B.A. from Xavier University. After a cardiac arrest and near death experience in 1997, Kitts quit her job and focused on volunteer work as well as pursuing her hobby of writing. She joined a writing critique group. In 2006 she decided to interview her father, Ray Wissel, about his experience in World War II. This led to a middle-grade children's book (unpublished) called The Minesweeper. After discovering that her father had 266 letters tucked away in a metal can in the basement (letters which he said no one would want to read), Kitts made additions to the book, incorporating the best letters, so that adults as well as children could enjoy the story. Besides writing, Kitts loves nature and has served as president of a local garden club and on the Cincinnati board of directors of Wild Ones Natural Landscapers. She currently spends her time as an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist. She shares her life in Cincinnati with her husband Ralph, a retired chemical engineer, and her son, Chris. Her web site is www.kathyhkitts.bravehost.com.
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The Minesweeper is the true story of Ray Wissel, a young man from Cincinatti, who served in Italy during World War II. It was his job to clear areas of mines so American troops could advance through Italy. The Minesweeper is a fascinating read that paints a clear picture of what it was like for the average soldier in World War II. It covers everything from Ray's meals, to his experiences in the trenches, to to losing his best friend. Letters that Ray wrote to his family are included, along with several photographs. History buffs who enjoy reading anything about World War II will appreciate The Minesweeper. I highly recommend it.
This is a very good book. I liked the fact that it was the story of an actual fighting man, not some high level officer. Also, the information about minesweeping was very interesting. The personal touch of letters to his family at home made it realistic.