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Not All Were Heroes: A Private in the Corps of Engineers in the Pacific During World War II

by Herbert L. Martin

Merriam Press World War II Memoir

eBook not available

Paperback - ISBN 978-1475034141 - $16.95

Hardcover not available

The adventures chronicled in this work are those experienced by the man on the bottom.

The memoirs of the captains and the generals, whose names were on every tongue, whose deeds were grandiose, whose commands and decisions impacted world history have long since been rushed to print.

Now perhaps the voice of the private soldier, the anonymous GI may be heard.

Not as a capstone to history, but as a supplement to the documentation of everyday moments lived by hundreds of thousands of unknown Americans.

It is because relatively few close-ups have as yet appeared, particularly in the nature of daily diaries, that this account is offered.

What light is shed on history is very limited.

The happenstances for the most part are devoid of color and excitement, but honestly present the monotony and dullness that made up so many days of the ordinary private and especially the ordinary private of the service troops.

Moments there were when the dramatic occurred to spark interest in the great military venture taking place in the Pacific War.

But by and large the true picture of what was happening was almost invisible.

The rear echelon private in the Corps of Engineers, even 20 miles from the front, was not as well informed as the civilian back home who had daily access to the newspapers.

The vast majority of the millions in the services were supporting the relatively few under the guns of the enemy.

We cannot all be heroes.

But essential work was accomplished.

The war was fought and won by combined efforts.

Martin attempted to collect and forge into a simple chronology the major portions of his daily writings editing out only the banal and highly personal.

The author was a member of the 529th Engineer Light Ponton Co. and the 866th Engineer Aviation Battalion.

All of the drawings reproduced in this book are from the collection of the author, who sketched and colored them on the scene during the war.

The author had no formal art training and the drawings have a splendidly amateurish quality about them.


Basic Training

Unit Training

ASTP (Army Special Training Program)


Voyage to New Guinea

New Guinea

A Visit to Leyte



Voyage to Nippon

Yokohama, Japan

Going Home

294 6x9-inch pages, 1 photo, 69 drawings, 3 documents

Not All Were Heroes: A Private in the Corps of Engineers in the Pacific During World War II

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