No Forgotten Fronts: From Classrooms to Combat

No Forgotten Fronts: From Classrooms to Combat

by Lisa K. Shapiro


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An American war story told though the voices of a college community

At the beginning of World War II, professor Lauren Post, San Diego State College, asked his students entering military service to write to him. Thousands of letters arrived from places like Pearl Harbor, North Africa, and Normandy, beginning with the salutation, "Dear Doc," and describing vivid accounts of training, combat, and camaraderie. Pilots wrote about seeing planes shot down. Men in POW camps sent word about the location of other prisoners and Dr. Post passed information on to frantic families. Mothers, hoping for news about missing sons, clutched at the details. These intimate, first-person accounts capture honest, in-the-moment reactions to war that resound with heartache and gratitude.

Each month, Dr. Post excerpted the letters and mailed the Aztec News Letter around the world. Fraternities, typing classes, and families donated time and money for printing and postage. When the latest issue arrived, servicemen and women read it cover-to-cover, and then passed it to another Aztec in service.

Dr. Post produced and mailed a newsletter each month for four years. He sent pilots Aztec stickers to put on their planes. Soldiers sent him Nazi flags and sand from Iwo Jima. He tallied up the medals they earned and took time to call their mothers. He couldn't rest until he knew that every student who had been taken prisoner was released.

For years afterward, men and women dropped by his small campus office to thank him for helping them make it through the war. This is the story of the devotion of a remarkable college professor who held his students, their campus, and an entire community together during World War II. These students fought for democracy and to preserve a cherished way of life that included football, Coca-Cola, and Sadie Hawkins dances. Their correspondences to one beloved professor describe an American perspective of war that shines with idealism, determination, raw grief, and the power of friendship.

• Based on an archive of thousands of original letters written by college students who served in World War II

• An American war story with raw emotion and eyewitness accounts of combat

• A story of struggle and sacrifice that shines with friendship, humor, grief, and a genuine belief in American ideals

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781682472729
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Publication date: 04/15/2018
Pages: 392
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 17.20(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Lisa K. Shapiro began teaching in 2003, and her community college classrooms have always been filled with veterans. As a creative writing instructor, she encouraged the soldiers, sailors, and Marines who were transitioning back to student life to put their stories on paper

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Introduction 1

1 Little Box of Cards 7

2 Waiting for Something to Pop 21

3 Dead Ahead 37

4 The Missing American Airmen 45

5 Happy Landings 51

6 Such Swell Kids 59

7 African Branch of San Diego State College 75

8 In Our Great Sorrow 91

9 An American Kid 105

10 Roger and Out! 125

11 No Relief in Sight 145

12 Aztecs of Fine Caliber 173

13 Exhaustion 185

14 The Hump and the Black Hole 199

15 By Guess and by God 211

16 Any Gum, Chum? 221

17 The Price of This Victory 229

18 What It Feels Like to Be Free 249

19 The Front Line Dough 257

20 In Action with Patton 267

21 V-E Day 289

22 Tokyo's Front Porch 301

23 Who's Got the Points? 319

24 Educationally Speaking 327

25 The Last Blue Chip 333

Conclusion 343

Author's Note 345

Acknowledgments 347

List of Abbreviations 349

Notes 353

Bibliography 363

Index 367

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