I am writing to request you include this memoir in your bibliography of memoirs related to the Korean War. Thank you.
Contact: Daniel Wolfe
Pitcha96@aol.com or 914-961-5709
KID FROM THE BRONX REMEMBERS
“THE FORGOTTEN WAR”
Cold Ground’s Been My Bed: A Memoir of the Korean War by Daniel Wolfe is the no-holds barred story of a nice kid from the Bronx who grew up fast on the battlefields of Korea. The title, from a blues song sung by his first bunker buddy, speaks to the conditions experienced by soldiers when suddenly faced with the reality of war. Bronze Star recipient Wolfe tells his story with boyish innocence gone awry, injecting gallows humor into the heart-breaking pathos of daily life in reserve and in combat. In recounting his story, he never pretends to be more than he was, a young man shocked and shaped by the brutality of war.
Now 55 years later, on the anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War, he recalls the earsplitting silence as his Company L, 15 Regt, 3 Division walked warily along a ridge above the Imjin River. Over his left shoulder, the glow of lights from the fruitless Panmunjom peace talks mocked the operation as his company was soon to be ambushed by the Chinese.
“The ambush was perfect. We walked into a crescent of blue flashes from the Chinese burp guns,” says Wolfe. He was the last man out once the withdrawal began. He crawled over a fire-swept terrain to retrieve the body of Sgt. Massengale then dragged him down a 60-foot cliff and waded into the Imjin River while overhead fire tried to stop him from reaching the safety of his outpost. It was for such bravery and selflessness that the modest Wolfe received the Bronze Star with a “V” for Valor, presented by Congressman David Price 46 years later in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where the Wolfes lived briefly.
Wolfe had never spoken about his war experience before he began writing about it in a creative writing class at Duke University in North Carolina and at the Hudson Valley Writers Center in Sleepy Hollow, NY where he currently attends. Wolfe’s daughter, Sharon, of Toronto, Ontario, recalls that neither she nor her brother Marc, nor their late brother David, knew of their father’s brave deeds until he was awarded the Bronze Star. “He is an unassuming man,” she reflects. “I’m very proud. It’s in keeping with his morality and loyalty to his friends and family.”
Upon discharge from the service, with the aid of the GI Bill, Wolfe attended the City College of New York, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree. He taught biology for 35 years at a high school in the South Bronx, New York. His stories have been read on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and published in “The Urban Hiker,” a literary magazine in Durham, North Carolina. He is currently working on a book about his childhood in the Bronx and coming of age in the Great Depression.
Wolfe also keeps track of the survivors of Company L and publishes a newsletter for them, full of reminiscences, corny GI humor, and reports of knee replacements, by-pass surgeries, and visits to VA hospitals.
Whether recounting the antics of the hapless young GI’s or paying witness to the tragedy of their untimely deaths, Cold Ground’s Been My Bed leaves an indelible impression of the toll of war on soldiers and their families. As the threat of nuclear build-up in North Korea and Iran looms large, now, more than ever Cold Ground’s Been My Bed has an important story to tell.
Cold Ground’s Been My Bed by Daniel Wolfe is published by iUniverse, Inc. and may be ordered by calling 1-800-AUTHORS or on-line from Barnes&Noble.com or Amazon.com.
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