If one were to pick the 20th Century’s most pivotal year, one could hardly go wrong with 1944. As World War II raged across virtually the entire globe, it would be difficult to find someone who was alive then and wasn’t directly or indirectly affected by the war.

This is the story of a young man who was right in the middle of it.

Gene Wentz grew up in Western Pennsylvania, but went to war just like millions of other young men. In this book, you’ll get to know who Gene was and how he grew up—and what kind of a young man he would become. You’ll discover what went into his decision to leave his farm and join the Army, and about how he endured basic training and his first ship voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll go through his memorable experiences during World War II: his first battle and his stay in the mountains of central Italy. You may even feel the bitter January cold as Gene did when he went for an unexpected swim in the Rapido River.

Follow Gene as he became a better soldier, and his highs—like the time he managed to enjoy an authentic Italian spaghetti dinner and life behind the lines—and his lows—“feeding the fish” over the side of the ocean liner. You’ll feel the tension as Gene moves along an Italian fava bean field outside of Velletri, searching for German machine-gunners. You’ll agonize along with him when he has his insides torn apart by machine gun bullets. And learn of a young, wounded soldier’s struggle to survive and the anguish of a slow recovery. Read about what Gene was able to overcome as he eventually returned to the States, a much different person than what he was when he left the Bedford, Pa., bus depot two years earlier.

Part biography, part wartime history, A Scout for E Company: 1944 takes you through his beginnings in a small coal mining town, and follows him up to the present after he came home from Army life and how that life shaped him when he returned home to the States along with the rest of his generation.

You can order a copy here.

Throughout history, many young men have marched off to war, just for the adventure, or to defend their king, their ruler, or their country. No one can claim to know all of the different reasons why a young man would choose to volunteer or, at the very least, allow others to include him as part of an army. An army with one purpose and that purpose being to kill the enemy and destroy his property. Conflicts continue to this day, as wars have always been a part of the history of humans. Wars have been fought for innumerable reasons. Why a young man or woman becomes involved in the military, to be a part of a war effort for his or her country, province, territory, land, is an individual decision. Many of the veterans of WWII are leaving us without sharing their stories. A Scout for E Company: 1944 is a modest effort to record the stories of one of those veterans. These stories need to be told so that the following generations will know more about the war years and how it changed people’s lives.

A Scout for E Company: 1944 is the story of one young man’s encounter with the world during WWII. You will become involved in the feelings and thoughts of Gene Wentz, a private first class who served his country and paid a high price for all of us to have freedom. Freedom isn’t Free!

- Dr. Daniel L Felix
Fall 2012