Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Just another white cross

Al Bright took a bullet to his forehead when the ramp dropped on his landing craft. That made him the first man in G Company to die 65 years ago today.
Staff Sergeant Bright from Paris, Tennessee was doing what infantry squad leaders do: go first and yell, "Follow me!"
I didn't know Al Bright because it was a few days later when I joined G Company in Normandy. Three weeks after D-Day I was one of two men assigned the job of opening 150 casualty rolls stacked along a wall in Cherbourg. These were the blanket rolls that had been left behind with the company kitchen. No one had returned to claim them. Inside was all a man possessed aside from what he carried on his back.
With me was Mike Spinelli, another 18-year-old rifleman. It was a miserable job. Boots in one pile, pants in another, all the government issue items that soon would be handed out to someone else.
It was the personal stuff that got to you. A framed photo of a pretty girl, another of young childen with their mother, a packet of letters in a feminine hand, a half-read paperback book that would never be finished, a candy bar that someone else would eat. None of it worth a damn except to the man who thought he'd be coming back to it again.
Mike said, "Look at this," as he handed me a small bible opened to the title page. On it was written: "To Alton C. Bright from mother. Read it and be good." The gold leaf on the top of the pages was stuck together. Al Bright hadn't read it. Was that why he was the first man to die? Only an idiot would believe that.


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