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Here are some comments from Readers’Favorite about my bookA Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham

Before reading this book, I only knew about Major General Howard L. Peckham in passing. I am, however, happy and even feel honoured that I read this book. . . .The reader is given what I feel is an intimate look into the life of a man who gave his entire life to serving his country. . . .The book is written well with a good eye to detail and flow. It is also edited well, making it an enjoyable read. I would recommend any military or patriotic historian give this one a try.

Kathryn Bennett, Readers’ Favorite

A Salute to Patriotism is the story of Major General Howard L. Peckham. What makes the book special is that it is penned by his daughter, who showcases the legacy of her father and captures the love he had for his country. She is articulate when it comes to sharing her father’s life with readers and gives insight into people who lived during and after WWII. She also discusses her father’s personal life in this well-written biography, showing readers that, apart form being an amazing man, he was also a good husband and father.

Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite

Major General Howard Peckham definitely led an interesting life, as depicted throughout this book. But this isn’t just a book of the professional work. . . . It’s also about his personal life. . . . I found it very interesting learning about history in this way. . . .There is also plenty of information from the author’s point of view to go along with what is being said. . . . excellently written and also very descriptive. I was intrigued by everything I read and would definitely do better with history if it was all written this way.

Samantha Rivera for Readers’ Favorite

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Hello Everyone,

Big news! The Kindle version of the biography I wrote about my dad, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham, is selling for only $1.99 through November 30, 2014, in honor of Veterans Day.

One of Amazon’s top reviewers had this to say about the book:

“The daughter of Major General Howard L. Peckham, Jean Kavale was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She had more than fifteen years of experience as an editor in Silicon Valley, including Senior Editor with PDR Information Services. She was also a Contract Editor for Fortune 500 companies, including IBM, for which she edited the entire library of CallPath books. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maryland, a teaching credential from San Jose State University, and a master’s degree in pastoral theology from the University of San Francisco. She has authored two other books – FROM THE POTOMAC TO THE SEINE: THE PERSONAL STORY OF AN ARMY FAMILY and FAITH AND PHILOSOPHY. It is Jean’s wish that the world be more aware of the work of her father, the head of the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) in Europe (1947-1950) and so this memoir, touching and informative, comes at a time when so many of us are deeply concerned about the ongoing loss of lives in the seemingly endless wars in the Middle East. Hence this current book – A SALUTE TO PATRIOTISM.

Well researched and written with the voice of one who not only knows the principle character well but also has the gift to write and report as a fine journalist and historian, Jean comments, `When my father was ordered to head the AGRC in 1947, the fallen Americans of the European Theater were resting in 37 temporary cemeteries scattered throughout Europe. Under his command, they were either returned home for reburial or reinterred in one of the ten permanent American cemeteries in Europe, depending on the wishes of the next of kin. The AGRC did the grading, constructing, and reinterring at the permanent resting places, including the formerly temporary one overlooking Omaha Beach. The civilian agency that took over the cemeteries in 1951 replaced the Army’s simple wooden crosses and stars with those of marble: the agency also added structures, such as beautiful statues.’

A book of this magnitude is difficult to summarize and the author’s summary states it best: `A descendant of Revolutionary War heroes, Howard Louis Peckham’s love for his country started early. After his dream of graduating from West Point came true, he served for twenty years in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 1942 he transferred to the Quartermaster Corps and went to Washington, where he headed the Fuels and Lubricants Division of the Quartermaster General’s office. While serving concurrently as a member of the Army-Navy Petroleum Board, he testified before Congress about army petroleum needs. For his meritorious work of procuring fuels and allocating them to our armed forces worldwide, he was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal. In postwar Paris, Howard Peckham headed the American Graves Registration Command and returned more than 80,000 American war dead to the United States. Approximately 60,000 others were interred in ten permanent American cemeteries in Europe, graded and constructed under his command. After his return to the United States, he served in highly responsible positions until his army retirement in 1956. As a civilian, his patriotic service continued when he worked for the Free Europe Committee and traveled abroad to meet with Western European diplomats. His goal was to get them more involved in the Committee’s work. Nations behind the Iron Curtain peacefully freed from Communist domination, Howard Peckham believed, would ensure more security for the United States. Duty, country, and patriotism would continue to dominate his life to the end.’

Rich in detail yet never lacking in forward momentum, this memoir to a man whose life was directed by his patriotism is an inspiration to read. The writing is accompanied by photographs and drawings and has the warmth and respect of a family scrapbook as well as a significant document about the military history of this country.”

You can read other reviews at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B6EIUNI

Happy Reading!

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The entrance to the site of the former American cemetery at Lisnabreeny

The entrance to the site of the former American cemetery at Lisnabreeny

For years, many people in Northern Ireland felt that a proper memorial should be built on the site of the former temporary cemetery at Lisnabreeny. In 2012, the Castlereagh Borough Council decided that the time had finally come to do just that. At the dedication ceremony in the fall of 2013, a crowd of people–including dignitaries from Ireland and the United States–prayed together and watched as wreaths were laid at the memorial. The ceremony concluded with the singing of the British and U.S. national anthems and a flyover by a restored B-17 plane.

Also in 2013, a pretty memorial garden was completed at the entrance of Lisnabreeny. The garden contains a granite monument, on three sides of which are etched the names of all the American personnel temporarily buried in the cemetery.  A flagpole also stands prominently in the garden. On certain days, the Stars and Stripes proudly waves over this lovely piece of land, which is so much a part of World War II history–and an important reminder of ultimate sacrifices made during that war.

It’s good to know that the Americans who came to help the British in Northern Ireland will be forever remembered.

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Swedish soldiers at ease prior to the religious ceremony

Swedish soldiers at ease prior to the religious ceremony

In May 1948, my father was scheduled to attend an AGRC meeting and a religious service at the temporary American Cemetery at Malmo, Sweden. Several AGRC people flew with him in a C-47 from Paris to Copenhagen, and then to Stockholm–including my mother and me. He explained to me that the American military attaché in Sweden was responsible for overseeing the search and recovery of American airmen and was being assisted by ordinary Swedish citizens. The following quotes are from my book A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham:

“An example of this aid occurred in 1943, when a fisherman in Sweden’s waters found the body of an American. The airman was later identified as Vincent A. White of New Jersey, who was killed in action in October 1943, along with other members of his crew. He was buried in the American cemetery in Malmo, Sweden. The respectful fisherman later made a personal visit to the fallen airman’s grieving family in the United States.”

When we left Stockholm early on the morning of Tuesday, May 11, we motored south to Malmo, arriving at about noon. After driving past the historic buildings of the city’s old streets, we arrived at a cemetery where a large area had been set aside for the burial of American airmen.

“Here we watched helmeted Swedish soldiers stand quietly at attention before bowing our heads while Chaplain Pfeiffer, an AGRC colonel, led us in prayer. Howard Peckham then delivered a speech describing the heroism of the airmen buried here, whose planes had crash-landed either on Swedish soil or in Swedish waters during World War II. On each grave was a marker, in front of which was a petite bouquet of simple and colorful wildflowers. The decorations mirrored the Scandinavian disdain for ostentatiousness, but the tribute seemed very impressive nevertheless.That ceremony concluded our trip, and we returned to Paris.”

In a future post, I’ll provide information about some of the other airmen buried at Malmo. I’ll also explain what the former temporary site looks like today.

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The following is an overview of my book, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham. As my valentine to you, from February 10 through February 17,2014, it will be selling on Amazon at the reduced price of $3.99:

After transferring from the Corps of Engineers to the Quartermaster Corps in 1942 and receiving a promotion to brigadier general, my father went to Washington, where he directed the Fuels and Lubricants Division of the Quartermaster General’s Office. During those years, he served concurrently on the Army-Navy Petroleum Board (ANPB) and occasionally testified before Congress about the U.S. Army’s petroleum needs. He worked diligently to procure oil and gasoline and then allocate them to American troops worldwide.

His hard work paid off well. For meritoriously procuring fuels and lubricants and then allocating them to the military forces of the United States during the period October 1943 to September 1945, he was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal. His division had efficiently allocated petrol, oil, and lubricants (POL) to all the theaters of operation, thus helping them to secure victory.

A descendant of Revolutionary War heroes and a graduate of West Point, Dad felt a sense of patriotism early in life. My book traces his idyllic childhood in Norwich, Connecticut, to his retirement years in Washington, DC. One chapter describes his engineering assignments during the Great Depression, such as serving as Deputy Administrator of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in New York City, and three chapters about his postwar work as head of the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) in Paris. The responsible service he performed in command positions after receiving his second star in 1952 is also described, as is his post-retirement job (1957-1958) as a consultant for the Free Europe Committee (FEC).

For my research, I examined government documents, my father’s diaries and letters, and numerous other sources. The book’s many photographs help to back up the veracity of its historical content.

One image in the book will undoubtedly linger in the reader’s mind longer than the others, in view of America’s ongoing search for energy resources. It shows military vehicles arriving on boats and rolling onto shore the day after D-Day. As noted in Fuels for Global Conflict by Erna Risch, before any vehicle was transported to Omaha and Utah Beaches in Normandy, it was filled with a full tank of gas and carried an extra supply of gas in five-gallon cans. For that foresightedness, and for other expert planning, America can thank the Fuels and Lubricants Division and its commander, Howard Louis Peckham.

 

 

 

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The temporary American Cemetery at Lisnabreeny, Northern Ireland

The temporary American Cemetery at Lisnabreeny, Northern Ireland

Lisnabreeny Temporary American Military Cemetery of World War II (1943-1948)

The following is a quote from my book, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham: 

Graves registration activities of the Quartermaster Corps in the European Theater began in December 1941, when the United States asked the British War Office about burial facilities for our military personnel expected to arrive in 1942 in Northern Ireland, where they would aid the British in their defense of that part of Ireland. Sadly, as was expected, American lives were lost after the men arrived. These burials had been in swampy ground in local cemeteries, but the U.S. Army negotiated with the British and secured a plot of land at Lisnabreeny, a suburb of Belfast, where the Americans were reinterred.

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By the end of World War II, 148 American servicemen had been buried in the temporary American cemetery in Lisnabreeny, Northern Ireland. The deceased included U.S. Army Air Force, U.S. Army, and U.S. Navy personnel. When the war ended, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) maintained the cemetery. To enter the site, visitors walked through a red brick entrance. A white gravel driveway lined with cherry trees led to a flagpole, where the American flag was hoisted every day.

The graves were laid out in rows with twenty-five gravesites in each row. Each grave was marked by a wooden cross or Star of David, depending on the religious affiliation of the deceased. Like the other 36 temporary American WWII cemeteries in Europe, the AGRC ensured that the Lisnabreeny cemetery was beautifully maintained: its more than ten acres of grass were regularly cut, and shrubs and trees were kept neatly pruned.

During the period 1947-1950, the AGRC was headed by my father, then-Brigadier General Howard L. Peckham. He was responsible for closing the cemetery in 1948 and for gradually closing the other 36 temporary cemeteries. This was occurring because of documentation signed by President Harry S. Truman stating that the deceased should either be sent home for reburial or reinterred in one of the ten permanent American WWII cemeteries in Europe, which were being constructed under the supervision of the AGRC.

Before they were closed, U.S. Army chaplains were appointed to preside over solemn benediction ceremonies at all of the 37 cemeteries, including Lisnabreeny.

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Here’s an announcement I’m sending out to people who have shown an interest in my book, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham. The book has been on Amazon’s Kindle since the end of January, 2013, and I am now in the midst of an exciting  promotion. For three days, March 18 through midnight March 20 (Pacific Time) you can download the Kindle e-book FREE. The details are as follows:
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Jean Peckham Kavale, the author of A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham, has a special surprise for you.  Her book is completely FREE on Kindle, for three days only.  This promotion begins on Monday, March 18, and ends at midnight on Wednesday, March 20 (Pacific Time).

A Salute to Patriotism is more than the biography of a dedicated army officer. It’s also the story of his remarkable family, starting with his ancestors who sailed from England to America in the seventeenth century and their descendants, who bravely served in the Revolutionary War and future wars. It also tells how they dealt with obstacles, tragedy, and success along the highway of life.

Additionally, the author brings well-documented insights into her father’s career and its significant contribution to the military history of the United States.

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Please spread the word about the promotion.

Also, if you enjoyed the book, I would greatly appreciate your adding a short customer review on Amazon. Here’s the link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B6EIUNI/

Many thanks in advance.

Jean

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