Monday, May 25, 2015

Professor writes book about father's World War II experiences

Growing up, Paul McDevitt never knew what his father did during World War II. About six years ago, all that changed when he was given a box full of old letters that his late father, Joseph B. McDevitt, had written home during the war.

The letters revealed a perilous career as the leader of a group of landing boats from the attack transport ship USS Leon. It was the elder McDevitt’s job to lead the boats to shore under heavy enemy fire, unload the Marines, and then return to the Leon so the whole process could be repeated.

As McDevitt thumbed through more and more of the letters, he realized that his father had participated in amphibious assaults at Saipan, Palau, Leyte, Luzon and Okinawa.

“My dad was like many of those veterans. He came home from the war, and I think he tried very hard to forget the things he had seen and the things he had done. He never talked to any of my brothers or sisters or to me about the war,” McDevitt said. “When I read about the five amphibious assaults he participated in as boat group leader for an attack transport … I was unbelievably stunned.”

McDevitt, professor emeritus in business administration at the University of Illinois Springfield, was so moved by his father’s letters he decided to write a book based on them.

“All Came Home” is available online from Amazon and Barnes and Noble Booksellers.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on May 24, 2015.

Read the entire article here