Interview on “This Week in America with Ric Bratton”
Interview on WMST-AM’s “Mid-Mornings on Main”
Interview on KZSU, Stanford 90.1, “Modern Tek News"
Roger Boas’s book holds a number of other messages for today’s warriors and the rest of us . . . Right On, Roger! And thanks for writing this book.
Sheila K. Johnson, Ph.D
Author of Japan Through American Eyes; Board of Directors, Japan Policy Research Institute
Roger Boas recalls vividly his combat role in General Patton’s favorite division in World War II, where Boas earned the prestigious Silver Star. He also recounts with poignancy his difficult post-war adjustment to civilian life.
John A. Kerner, MD
Captain of the 35th Infantry Division and author of Combat Medic: World War II
Roger Boas experienced eleven months of ferocious combat as a forward observer during World War II. Victory in Europe found Boas awarded a Silver Star for bravery and suffering from an undiagnosed case of “battle rattle,” today called PTSD. It took Boas years to recover. This well-written and candid memoir offers testimony to wartime loyalties and peacetime struggles for healing through faith, family, work, and public service as experienced by an Army Strong veteran of the Greatest Generation.
Author, Americans and the California Dream series
My grandmother Annie Kline, my mother, Larie, and my father, Benjamin, in 1942. When I started my officers’ training at Camp Roberts, they would drive south some 200 miles from San Francisco to visit.
Later, when I was stationed in the Mojave Desert, my parents and grandmother traveled some 420 miles to visit, spending weekends in nearby Palm Springs.
Holding my trusty binoculars in the front row of my Battery Officers Class #65 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1942. All field artillery officers had to undergo special training, learning how to locate the enemy and operate the guns.
Behind a battery commander’s telescope at Fort Sill. Proficiency with this instrument is a first step in spotting and calculating the whereabouts of enemy fire.
Practicing at Fort Sill with the aiming circle, an instrument used to establish map coordinates for the battery’s guns.
My favorite Fort Sill instructor, Captain Cecil, who was not only very precise in his teaching of Gunnery but also showed a personal interest in his students.
With the boys from Colorado at Fort Bragg on Thanksgiving Day in 1942: (from left) Lieutenants Ken Grush, Don Walt, me, Ken Cline, and Paul Desjardins. We had first met during a ROTC exercise at Camp Ord in 1941 and then undergone training together at Camp Roberts and Fort Sill. We became good friends, and I regret not keeping up with them.
At mess in the field at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 1942. I was just marking time at this “repple depple” (replacement depot), waiting for a full-time assignment.
On the phone at the rifle range at Fort Bragg, monitoring my fellow officers’ marksmanship.
Camp Ibis, a training center in the Mojave Desert, in 1943. En route to this camp I inadvertently went AWOL, causing me to be “grounded” for a month.
In front of my tent in the Mojave Desert in early 1943. My time in the Mojave was exciting and productive—the opposite of Fort Bragg. I was a happy camper in the Mojave.
With Lieutenants Charlie Gillens and Darrell Wood in the Mojave Desert. Charlie and I became lasting friends.
Lieutenant Don Guild in the Mojave Desert. Guild, a forward observer, was outstanding in combat.
The improvised barbershop in the Mojave Desert.
My gun battery (“C” Battery) in the Mojave Desert. The battalion had three gun batteries, each with six 105mm howitzers.
A closer look at our self-propelled half-tracks with their 105mm howitzers and .50 caliber machine guns.
In front of a self-propelled 105mm howitzer in the Mojave Desert. In contrast to the infantry, where the guns were towed on a platform, our howitzers were motorized, making them highly mobile
With my buddies (from left): Lieutenants Charlie Gillens, me, Bill Lothian, and John Kelly in the Mojave Desert, 1943. Gillens and Lothian were gun battery officers, while Kelly and I were forward observers. We all got along extremely well.
Captain Bob Parker, the commander of my “C” Battery in the Mojave Desert. Early on, Parker and I became close friends, a friendship that lasted a lifetime.
Lieutenant Colonel Alex Graham, my battalion commander, in the Mojave Desert. I loved Graham, a delightful person and a model West Point soldier if there ever was one.
Sergeant Harley Merrick at his flying school in Texas. An outstanding forward observer pilot, he rose to the rank of major. We became lifelong friends.
With Billie Brandt, my first real girlfriend, at El Rancho hotel in Las Vegas, 1943. We only dated for a few months before my battalion was sent off to Camp Bowie in Texas.
After I finally made it overseas to British shores, I met Wren Edna Frances Glew in early 1944. She made England come alive for me during the many months I was stationed there. (Unfortunately my camera was stolen in England, so I have no more photos until after the war.)
With Mila Baranova, in Kasejovice, Czechoslovakia, 1945. We had a good time together, even if we didn’t speak the same language.
The officers of the 94th on occupation duty in Germany after the war, in 1945.
Sitting in our officers’ club in Germany after the war, in 1945, are the “Sly-Feelers”: (from left) me, Captains Bill Walsh, Harley Merrick, and Tom Cooke. We would never forget our weekend bonding together in liberated Paris after the intense fighting in the Ardennes.
Our battalion surgeon Doc Horowitz in Germany in 1945. A strong personality, respected by everyone, he intervened to keep me with my battalion when I got bronchitis in Luxembourg.
Edna with my newfound puppy, Mr. Potts, in 1945. I was so shaken by the war, suffering from “battle rattle,” I couldn’t commit myself to anyone or anything, except for this puppy.
More than fifty years after the war’s end, in 1999, I returned to some of the battlefields with my brother-in-law Jim Magid and his sons-in-law. One place we checked out was Bastogne, where I’d earned a Silver Star for unhesitatingly shooting back as the German planes attacked and then, under gunfire, rescuing a group of badly injured men.
On Armistice Day, November 11, 2011, I felt gratified to be awarded the Legion of Honor for helping to liberate France from the Nazis during World War II. The French Consul General Romain Serman pinned the medal on me in San Francisco.
This memoir began as a way of telling my family about the ordeal of war. Throughout, I have been supported by my wife of fifty-seven years, Nancy (seated next to me), my four children and their spouses, and my six grandchildren.