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The Life of an Airborne Ranger- Book One: Donovan's Skirmish

The Life of an Airborne Ranger

By

Michael B. Kitz-Miller

Donovan’s Skirmish  is the first book of a trilogy The Life of an Airborne Ranger and covers the early years of Jack Donovan. Financially unable to finish college and with the draft in effect, he decides to enlist in the Army. As a private he is runner-up for Honor Graduate in Airborne School. He is a Division Soldier-of-the-Month with the 101st Airborne and then Honor Graduate in the demanding Recondo School with its incredible 65% attrition rate. He is sent to the famous Ranger School at Ft. Benning, Georgia where, after graduating as the Darby Honor Graduate, decides that it is the life as an Airborne Ranger he most loves and wants as his career. His first tour in Vietnam is as a staff sergeant and special advisor to separate Vietnamese airborne and ranger battalions, where he plans and commands two major operations against the Viet Cong that earn him numerous commendations for valor. It is during his second tour, Orin Jensen his incompetent company commander, chooses an encampment that is ripe for an ambush. Jack’s vocal concerns fall on deaf ears, with a large battle that ensues at Jensen’s poorly chosen site. Jack is seriously wounded while earning the Medal of Honor during what is later called “Donovan’s Skirmish.” After multiple surgeries and months of rehab at Walter Reed Hospital, Jack is fully recuperated. Against substantial advice, Jack turns down the President and tradition of receiving his Medal of Honor at the White House by having it instead presented at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky home of the “Screaming Eagles” with paratroopers and comrades he fought with, also receiving commendations for their own brave actions.

With the help of Lt. General Frank Stafford, a special furlough allows Jack to finish his degree at the University of Maryland. The General has become his mentor, having lost his only son during a qualifying parachute jump during his final year at West Point. Theirs will be an enduring relationship throughout Jack’s career. Book One ends as Jack, after two years earns his degree in history with honors, and through the ROTC program his Regular Army commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. All has been done against the wishes of his parents, who will never forgive Jack for not completing a degree in music as a church organist and choir director. It is at Maryland, during a series of independent philosophical lectures, he meets and falls in love with Mary Clarke who is finishing her masters degree. A stormy romance, her introduction to opera by Jack, their philosophical match, his admiration and growing love of her parents, both doctors at Columbia University Medical School all give rise to a long, loving marriage and life together.

Book two of the trilogy, Take Care of Your Men follows Jack’s flourishing career and be published December, 2018. The author has also published Paratrooper: My Life with the 101st Airborne Division, a memoir of his service with the 101st  Airborne Division during the 1960’s. Michael B. Kitz-Miller, 4637 Southwood Terrace, Salisbury, MD 21804, USA, 443/235-1079, scoutmbk@comcast.net

 

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