“From 1952 to 1953 nobody wanted to be the last casualty of the Korean War. I wanted to share with the reader how I behaved in these moments physically, emotionally and psychologically,"
“Nobody wanted to be the last casualty of the Korean War. I wanted to share with the reader how I handled these trying moments physically, emotionally and psychologically. “
Beyond the military life, though, the real point of the memoir – despite its focus on Donohue’s experiences in Korea – is to provide tribute to Frank Milisits and the friendship he and Donohue shared. Even though they spent most of their military experience apart, Frank is a warm and jovial shadow over every event. When Donohue’s not talking about his and Frank’s adventures, he’s thinking about writing Frank a letter, or reading one from Frank, or framing his experiences through the prism of their shared expectations and hopes.
Frank Milisits, who died in the early 1990s, is a fundamental presence in Donohue’s memoir, and the love these men had for each other shines through on every page. By the book’s end, readers may feel a bit jealous that they didn’t know these men personally.
Donohue talks about the hardship of war. “This day I cringe when I see how war is glamorized and glorified in video games, movies, books, and television. To me it’s a great injustice that these producers project an unrealistic image of killing and maiming as behaviors that are both normal and acceptable for soldiers in war.” He goes on to say, “Soldiers become hardened to war but often they suffer the consequences of fighting in the forms of mental breakdowns, traumatic stress, suicide, depression, and other related disorders. Unfortunately, it’s the very young, naive and psychologically immature who are often the ones most affected by these false depictions. I am revolted by this. It’s unrealistic and unfair to propagandize the horrors of war as heroic and grand entertainment to a gullible public.”
We can all learn something from this excellent story of two men becoming friends for life – or death – as it may be, traversing the episodes of fate. “I wanted to tell my story as I remembered it, so that my family and friends would have some understanding of what it was like to be a young soldier during the last year of the Korean War,” concluded the author.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joseph Donohue was born and raised in Yorkville, Manhattan. He joined the Seventh Regiment National Guard in 1948 before being drafted in the Korean War, where he served as a squad leader in the Fortieth Infantry Division. Donohue is a retired Yonkers assistant superintendent of schools, an adjunct professor, and an educational consultant. He resides in Manhattan.
Title: Frank and Me at Mundung-Ni
Author: Joe Donohue
Pages: 488, Paperback/Kindle/