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Nothing Impossible: Memoirs of a United States Cavalryman In World War 2

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Nothing Impossible

Memoirs of a United States Cavalryman In World War 2
  • by Wallace L. Clement
    • Edited by Sean M. Heuvel
      • Merriam Press World War 2 Memoir Series
        • First Edition 2017
        • 210 6x9-inch pages
        • 64 photos/illustrations
        • 1 map
The late Wallace Clement served in three wars, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. A West Point Cadet, he entered the Army as a 2nd Lt. in 1940, rising to the rank of Major in 1944, serving with the 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion in Italy where late in the war he was captured and ended the war as a POW.

He served in the Korean War, as a Lt. Colonel, and in Vietnam as a Brig. General as assistant division commander of the 23rd Americal Division.

He was awarded every medal that a soldier can receive save for the Medal of Honor.

This is his story, written by him, and edited by a good friend, Sean Heuvel, who as a boy listened to Clement tell his tales of his service.

  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Early Years in Cambridge
  • Chapter 2: West Point and the Cavalry
  • Chapter 3: The Move to Tank Destroyers
  • Chapter 4: Trial By Fire in Italy
  • Chapter 5: Hard Fighting Against the Germans
  • Chapter 6: POW Days
  • Chapter 7: Lessons Learned from World War II
  • Epilogue
  • Appendix A: Wallace L. Clement Dates of Rank
  • Appendix B: Military Decorations of Wallace L. Clement
  • Appendix C: Distinguished Service Cross Citation
  • Appendix D: Bronze Star Citation
  • Appendix E: U.S. Army MIA Telegram to Mrs. Helen Clement
  • Appendix F: 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion List of Enemy Equipment Destroyed and List of Enemy Personnel Captured
  • Appendix G: Letter From 804th TDB Veteran Morris H. Snow to Col. David Clement (USMCR, Ret.)
  • Appendix H: Some Highlights of the 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion in Europe
  • 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion
  • Bibliography

A very well written book by a highly decorated soldier that served in three wars. You can tell by the text that he was really there and cared about the men and the unit he served with. Reads very well and not overly wordy. A solid book about a real tank destroyer soldier. I am sure I will refer to it again and again for information on the 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion and this soldier.
Rob Haldeman

Author-editor Arthur Plotnik wrote this observation about editing, and it applies to the late Brig. Gen. Wallace L. Clement's letters as edited by Dr. Sean Heuvel: "You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke."The unique nature of this partnership is its origins decades ago. Editor Heuvel literally grew into his role having known Gen. Clement and his wife as a teenager. As Heuvel describes it in the Introduction, his own evolution as an academic, author, and editor prepared him to return to Clement's detailed written recollections. Heuvel has done so carefully, letting the general's voice shine through while adding solid footnotes and appendices as context for "Wally" Clement's extraordinary life and times. The preface by Clement's son David, himself a retired Marine Corps colonel, portrays another side of Clement as a loved and respected father. What comes through as the "fire" of these memoirs, is that in addition to honoring those he knew and served with, Wallace Clement wanted to emphasize three important learning experiences from the battlefields and headquarters of WWII; do the impossible, be ready for the unexpected, and watch for weakness in subordinates in times of stress. This reader had the impression that Clement meant these lessons in leadership for young military officers, just as he conveyed life lessons to his children and to Heuvel. I can picture this book in the hands of West Point cadets, Army veterans, and military historians, all receiving rich information that supports their understanding of the World War II era. We sometimes forget that primary sources are also artifacts of the past and they deserve to be treated with care. I recommend "Nothing Impossible" as an example of editing with a historian's precision.

First of all, congratulations to Dr. Heuvel and the Clement family for making this book possible. It honors those of the greatest generation who sacrificed too much for the freedoms we take for granted today and pays tribute to a humble general who was not a historian, but a great story teller. I think this could have been more memorable had General Clement started on this much earlier in his career. But thanks to the urging of his children, we get glimpses of an American hero who downplays is heroism, gives credit to those he served with, and in the end teaches us three key lessons that he learned from the war. Unlike Garrel's review, I believe the lessons are not just for young military leaders but can be applied to everyone in supervisory, management, or leadership roles. But I'll let you decide that on your own.

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