Friday, November 6, 2009

The Cricket Speaks Out

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor
Roland Glenn’s wartime memoir, The Hawk and the Dove: World War II at Okinawa and Korea, lifts the code of silence that many veterans have been known to keep, from the World Wars through Vietnam. Even though World War II was a popular war where soldiers received an overwhelmingly positive reception upon returning home, the casualties were great, and Glenn sheds a great deal of light on the torment he endured after serving as an infantry commander.
Glenn was born and raised in rural Western Pennsylvania, a place, to those who have been there, that is every bit of America’s heartland as Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Indiana. Known as “Cappy” to his family, Glenn was raised equally by his parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles. He learned to hunt and “hug the land like a reptile” from his uncle, and would remember to keep his mouth shut after his target was hit so he would not give away his position to other prey.
After applying these hunting lessons to combat, he earned the name “Cricket” because of the style in which he gave his orders. Unknown to many people, the platoons often were multicultural, and Glenn commanded over several Mexican immigrants, including John Garcia, who would save Cricket numerous times during their tour.
Glenn recalls his father’s insistence that Cappy befriend an African American child in his school, in spite of the prevalence of racism within the community. Later, in boot camp, Glenn was thankful for his father’s forward thinking as a black man was introduced to his barracks who would eventually become a good friend. Glenn ponders all of the friendships he would have missed had his father never removed the stigma of racism from him.
Roland Glenn’s reflections take us to Seattle, Oahu, Okinawa, Saipei, Korea, and the lower depths of human conflict, and the moral lapses of good kids growing up in a battlefield. His deeply religious parents displayed a faith that is nearly extinct today, a faith cemented by unconditional love, and understanding. We also are shown a close father and son bond that Roland has cherished through the years.
The most stunning aspects of this memoir are, of course, the amount of lives the war cost and Glenn’s firsthand account of losing several friends over a mere few days. Glenn eases us into battle after chapters of the colorful pursuits of cadets in training, and warm tales of rural home life. All the while, the landscape of Okinawa and the outskirts of Latrobe are similar, which allowed him to successfully lead his Platoon, in spite of the fact that Okinawa is all harsh jungle.
As Glenn earned a purple heart, survived intense combat, and returned home with nightmares requiring psychotherapy, he endured and championed a happy life. While he exposes the hell and inhumanity of war, he also depicts the bravery, humanity and heroism of soldiers on both sides of the war. Glenn is haunted by the lives he was ordered to take, but brings these demons to the world hoping so that we might see what it is like to walk in a soldier’s fatigues.
This book is tightly written with letters from his family, and his own letters to them from the field to more succinctly capture the mood of the war, and the voices of his family. The Hawk and the Dove is a revelation, and a philosophical read that should not be passed up. This belongs among the greats of wartime literature, fiction and non-fiction. Roland Glenn lives in Kittery.
Photo caption: Cover of The Hawk and the Dove: World War II at Okinawa and Korea by Roland Glenn. (Courtesy photo)

Kittery’s Roland Glenn reflects on WWII

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist
World War II veteran Roland Glenn knows that combat soldiers face unimaginable challenges both on the battlefield and when they return home following their service. With his new book, The Hawk and the Dove, Glenn hopes his own life story will illuminate those challenges.
Glenn, an 85-year old Kittery resident, served in the US Army from 1943-1946. As an Infantry Combat Company Commander, Glenn saw significant action at the Battle of Okinawa Island, Japan, the last battle of WWII. “I was in charge of about 200 soldiers, an enormous amount of responsibility for someone 20 years old,” Glenn reflected.
Asked about his most vivid memories, Glenn doesn’t hesitate. “The killing of fellow human beings in the name of democracy. I was brainwashed to think of the Japanese as sub-human monkey runts. At the time that I served I totally believed in the mission to obliterate the Japs.” Over 109,000 Japanese soldiers were killed at Okinawa, and 12,000 American lives were lost.
As fate would have it, Glenn’s next mission after Okinawa would not be to kill Japanese soldiers, but to help them. After Japan’s surrender following the dropping of two atomic bombs by the US, Glenn was sent to North Korea to repatriate the occupying Japanese soldiers back to Japan.
“I had the fortunate experience during the time I was in Korea, getting to know the Japanese as fellow human beings rather than the enemy. In the matter of a few weeks I went from killing the Japs on Okinawa to collaborating with them in Korea, and I was able to see them as fellow human beings and develop some friendships, and I’ve written about that transition from killing to collaborating in my book.”
Glenn began what would eventually become The Hawk and the Dove back in the 1985. Following a major heart attack, “a friend suggested I start writing stories about my life. I got up very early and just wrote whatever came into my head, stuck it in a file folder and stuck it away. In 1995, we had the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, and I realized I had written a number of stories about my life in the 1940s. I pulled those stories together into a manuscript and that ‘s how the book got started.”
As his narrative progressed, the scope of Glenn’s story expanded beyond the 1940s. “The onset of the Middle East wars brought to my attention that I was writing about my own recovery from the massive killing I experienced on Okinawa. As we saw the thousands of personnel returning from the Middle East wars returning with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), my publisher and I began to see that I had written a story about my own recovery from the traumas of combat,” Glenn explained. “There’s nothing in our training that prepares us for the taking of another human life, or observing that happening. I was trained to kill, and that’s exactly what I did on Okinawa Island.
“One of my major concerns right now is all the veterans returning with the same condition (PTSD). This has got to be one of the biggest stories to come out of the Middle East wars. These veterans will require medical and psychological care for the remainder of their lives.”
Asked what he hopes readers will take away from his book, the retired educator stresses “I do not think that wars solve problems. I strongly believe that stronger diplomatic efforts should be undertaken to resolve international problems. I’m hoping that youth who are considering careers in the military will have the opportunity to read my book. I’m not advocating that young people not have careers in the military, but I am suggesting to our youth that there are many more options to serve our country and our communities than going to war.”
The Hawk and the Dove is now available at, Barnes & Noble, and through orders at local bookstores.
Photo caption: Kittery’s Roland Glenn. (Courtesy photo)

USS Helena (SSN 725) Begins
Community Partnership

The crew of USS Helena (SSN 725) began a relationship with the community during a Meet and Greet sponsored by the Helena Committee of South Berwick on Oct. 28.
The event, held at the South Berwick Community Center, was an opportunity for crew members and their families to meet members of the community. After the Meet and Greet, Sailors and their families were treated to a turkey supper at First Parish Federated Church.
Helena, a Los Angeles-class submarine homeported in San Diego, arrived at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Sept. 2 for extended maintenance including several system upgrades.
Time in the shipyard can include long hours and extended periods of time away from family. So, the Meet and Greet was an opportunity for the community to roll out the welcome mat to the crew.
“I’m a veteran with 26 years in the business. I know what it is to be deployed in a new area. We want to make it fun for them. We want to be the surrogate family for these guys and the youngsters,” said Helena Committee Chairman Mal Kenney, who served in the Marine Corps and Air Force. “We want them to be welcomed here. Hopefully, we’ll have a good joint relationship.”
Master Chief Dave DiPietro thanked the group on behalf of the captain and crew for hosting the event.
“This is excellent. We feel so welcomed in your community. We really appreciate it,” said Master Chief Dave DiPietro, the Chief of the boat. “We want to thank you for making us feel so at home here, and making our families feel so appreciated. Being in the shipyard is never an easy job, but the community support is making it a lot easier.”
“I think it is great. The hospitality is just amazing,” said Machinist Mate Chief Mike Haraburda, of Erie, Pa. “To get all the support we have from the shipyard community is definitely uplifting.”
Prior to departing for the turkey dinner, Sailors received gift bags, which included cards decorated by 1st through 3rd grade students of South Berwick Central School.
“On the front of the card is a picture or drawing of a place in South Berwick that means a lot to the students,” said Kate Smith, a music teacher at the school. “Inside of the card is blank so that sailors can write a note inside and mail them home. The students wanted everyone to feel welcome and know why this community is a special place.”
The host committee, which has 27 volunteer members, has compiled a calendar of events and will work with the submarine to involve Sailors and family members in those activities. Some of those activities include a Halloween parade, a joint Christmas party with the American Legion and activities with the local ski club.
Helena, named after Helena, Mont., was commissioned on July 11, 1987. Her motto is “Proud and Fearless.”
Article by Lt. Patrick Evans, Public Affairs Officer, Submarine Group Two.
Photo caption: The crew of USS Helena (SSN 725) began a relationship with the community during a Meet and Greet sponsored by the Helena Committee of South Berwick. Oct. 28. (Courtesy photo)