Author, historian from Colorado next WWII History Series speaker

The World War II History Series will continue at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, with a talk from author and military historian Flint Whitlock of Colorado.

He will talk about his 1998 book, titled “The Rock of Anzio, From Sicily to Dachau: The History of the 45th Infantry Division.”

The public is invited to come and learn about the “Thunderbirds” at this District 728 Community Education-sponsored event.

The 45th infantry division of National Guardsmen battled their way across Sicily to save the Anzio beachhead in one of World War II’s bloodiest battles.

The “citizen soldiers” of this unit, which included thousands of Native Americans, held their position against seemingly endless “human wave” attacks by the Germans.

“The Rock of Anzio” shows war through the eyes of ordinary men called upon to perform extraordinary deeds during four amphibious assault landings and 511 days of grueling combat. Memorable, highly personal stories of these men at war put the reader right in the foxhole, sweating out the artillery barrages, the tank and infantry charges and enduring the fear and hardships with the individual soldier.

Whitlock will attempt to do the same with his audience at Handke from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on April 13 at the Handke Family Center.

Whitlock, a 1964 graduate of the University of Illinois, says his love for military history began at an early age — fueled by his father, James, who served with the famed 10th Mountain Division in World War II.

Wanting to serve his country, Flint was commissioned a second lieutenant through the Reserve Officer Commission Training Program and entered active duty in December 1964.

After attending the basic Air Defense Artillery officers’ course at Fort Bliss, Texas, Whitlock earned his jump wings at Airborne school at Fort Benning, Ga. He was then posted to a Nike Hercules battery in Baumholder, Germany. After two years in ADA, he received a branch transfer to the Quartermaster Corps and spent an additional year with the Supply and Maintenance Agency in Zweibruecken, Germany, where he was promoted to captain.

Then Flint was transferred to South Vietnam, arriving one day before the Tet Offensive in January 1968. He served for six months as a supply specialist at 1st Logistical Command Headquarters at Long Binh, northeast of Saigon, before being transferred to the 14th Inventory Control Center at the same post. He returned to the States in 1969 and spent a year with the 5th Infantry Division Supply and Maintenance Battalion at Fort Carson, Colo., before returning to civilian life.

To heighten his understanding of, and appreciation for, what the World War II combat soldier went through, he has been involved in World War II re-enactment groups for more than 20 years.

Whitlock lives in Denver with his wife, Dr. Mary Ann Watson, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at Metropolitan State College of Denver. They have three grown children.

 

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