Saturday, May 23, 2015

Call of Duty

Call of Duty by Lt. Lynn "Buck" Compton

After Band of Brothers was published a lot of the men who fought in the 101st Airborne wrote down their own stories. This is one of those books, written not only after the book but the miniseries as well.

Buck joined the army soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the same as many young men. As a boy and a college student, Buck was active in sports and really good at them, so when he joined he was put on a sports team and kept in the states. Buck wanted to fight though, and put in for a transfer to the Paratroopers. He was accepted and later jumped into Normandy.

In the miniseries Buck has one of the more painful moments shown. During the Battle of the Bulge, William Guarnere, known as Wild Bill, runs out to help a man who has been hit and nearly lost his leg. While helping him, Wild Bill was hit as well. (Both men later lost their legs.) Buck is shown after they are taken off the field. He drops his helmet into the snow, sits down, and is later taken off the battlefield since it is believed he suffered from shell shock over seeing two of his good friends wounded that badly.

Buck talks about what really happened during the battle. He wrote about how he left the fighting to try and get help, and later while he talked to a commander was sent on a leave since it was discovered he had trench foot. He said he didn't mind what was added into the movie since it showed that it happened to many soldiers.

In spite of him explaining the whole thing I still finished the book with the feeling that he might have suffered some form of shell shock. He came out of the war without a lot of the side effects many of the other men had. He said he had nightmares sometimes but not the PTSD or anything else. He was able to move past his three years in the service and continue his life. But he did say he didn't ever like to talk about the war. And while I read I noticed he went into a lot of details from his younger life and later life. He later became a detective and could remember cases in great detail, but when he wrote about the war he would say how someone said he did or said something during the battles and how he didn't remember it. Of course, I don't know for sure, but reading his book I felt as if he'd had to block out much of the war in able to move on with life.

While his book was one of the lest painful of the Band of Brothers books I've read so far in some ways I found it even sadder.

I liked Buck a lot after watching the miniseries, by the time I finished his book I realized I had really come to love this sweet, quiet, giant of a man. He was determined to do his duty, not only during the war but later when he became a policeman and a detective. He always tried to do the right thing for others, whether his family - he later married and adopted two ADORABLE girls - or his country. He had a quiet courage and by the end of his book I'd come to admire him as much as I admire Winters and Louie and Phil.

This book should be a must read for anyone who has read Band of Brothers. 

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