A member of the famed Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division, Donald J. Rich went ashore on D-Day at Utah Beach, was wounded in the bloody conflict at Carentan, landed in a flimsy plywood-and-canvas glider on the battlefields of Holland, and survived the grim siege with the "Battling Bastards of Bastogne" during the Battle of the Bulge. Glider Infantryman is his eyewitness account of how he, along with thousands of other young men from farms, small towns, and cities across the United States, came together to answer the call of their nation. It is also a heartfelt tribute to the many thousands who gave their lives in this struggle.
Coauthored by Kevin Brooks, the son of Rich's best friend and World War II comrade, Glider Infantryman covers a span of nearly three years; his return home, five months after the war's end, as a toughened bazooka gunner and veteran of five campaigns. Rich's first-person narrative includes vivid coverage of the action, featuring an especially rare account of arriving on a combat landing zone by glider. Detailed, day-to-day depiction of some of the heaviest fighting in Holland follows, including the action at Opheusden, the center of the infamous "Island." Later highlights include the Battle of the Bulge, where Rich recounts his experiences in some of the hottest defensive fighting of the European Theater, including the epic tank battles at Marvie, Champs, and Foy.
DONALD J. RICH served in 1943 and 1944 with 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, G Company, 327th Glider Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. He lives in Wayland, Iowa. KEVIN BROOKS, a former resident of Wayland, is a freelance writer based in Mahomet, Illinois.
What Readers Are Saying:
"Glider Infantryman is a well researched, gripping account of military combat in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe during World War II. Brooks doesn’t sugarcoat the story: The brutality and suffering are real – so is the heroism of ordinary men. Like so many veterans from that era, Don Rich found it hard to talk about his experiences, and some haunted him into old age. With a faith Don met through his chaplain, Gordon Cosby (my pastor), he was finally able to release his anger and bitterness in a life of service to others.
As a teenager when World War II ended in 1945, I often spoke to returning veterans and listened closely. I remember their faces, especially their eyes. The sheer brutality of the killing left them mostly silent and grateful to breathe in and out, moment by moment. Those men inspired in me a sense of duty and courage that I have never forgotten. This book is a fitting tribute to them all."--Jerry S. Parr, assistant director, US Secret Service (ret.)
"A gripping first person account . . . a well written and exceptional book."--American Airborne Association Journal
“Being an Officer in the Marine Corps, a Vietnam Veteran, and a son of an Army World War II Officer of the 327th Glider Regiment, I found this book to be very informative. Kevin Brooks, through the eyes of Don Rich, gives us a very intriguing account of the daily struggles of an Army paratrouper who fights and survives some of the most horrific battles of World War II.”—Thomas J. Niland III, son of 2nd Battalion S2 Intelligence Officer Thomas J. Niland II
“It’s full of stories about those days – the tragedy and tension, the heroes and horrors. It features a bunch of the Niland boys. Their kids and nephews and cousin’s sons are continuing to learn more and more about what happened. “It’s a phenomenal book,” Beilein said. If there is one shared regret of them all, it’s that they didn’t coax more stories out of the survivors while they could, Part of it was a failure of communication. Part, of course, was the sheer unwillingness of that generation to share war stories.”—Yahoo! Sports