From staff reports
As incoming artillery screamed closer, the three soldiers dove for a shallow ditch: Robert Maynard first, with two comrades piling on top. The earth trembled from an exploding shell. Dirt and leaves covered the men. When quiet returned, only Maynard was alive, shielded by the bodies of his companions.
The year was 1945, in the closing months of World War II, not long before Maynard, a captain in a U.S. Army Tank Destroyer battalion, would enter Adolf Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest hideaway. There would be other brushes with death before Maynard returned home to his wife and daughter, born while he was away. Like many in his generation, he would try to set aside his war experiences and get on with raising his family in Michigan. He would also write his “war diary,” completed 53 years after the end of WWII, to help his children understand what happened to America—and to him—in the journey from Pearl Harbor to “Victory in Europe.”
Now, 78 years after the war’s conclusion and nearly two years since Maynard’s death in Traverse City at the age of 101, Maynard’s oldest daughter, Mollie Moody, has led the charge of getting her father’s diary published, along with the support of her three sisters. “My sisters are my cheerleading team and have also contributed monetarily,” said Moody. “It has been immensely important on so many levels to be a part of this project of a lifetime. Nothing has been more meaningful to me!”
In honor of Veteran’s Day, join Leelanau County resident Mollie Moody on Friday, Nov. 10, at 5 pm at Bay Books in Suttons Bay as she discusses her father’s recently published WWII diary, A Father’s Arms: Close to Death, Across Hitler’s Path and Home at Last (Mission Point Press). The event will begin with a live interview, followed by Q&A, and book sales. All proceeds from book sales will benefit the VFW of Michigan. Please RSVP by calling 231-944-6809 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early reviews of the book have garnered high praise. According to Derek Blumke—co-founder and past president of Student Veterans of America and the 2020-2023 state quartermaster of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Michigan—”Captain Maynard’s sharing of his diary, A Father’s Arms, may have been intended for his family, but his openness and candor allow for a unique lens into the life of soldiering in World War II.” Adds Rob Haldeman, founder of TankDestroyer.net, “While some similar narratives focus on the individual or the Army unit, A Father’s Arms carefully balances both and provides a delightful and captivating read for the military buff and casual reader alike.”
The purpose of releasing Maynard’s autobiography is two-fold.
“The ultimate purpose is to share his story with many other people and also to donate 100% of the proceeds to the VFW of Michigan,” Moody said. “Our father was a huge supporter of the VFW and would be honored to have that organization receive the proceeds to help other veterans. The VFW supports veterans in so many ways, both legally and with support in getting the veterans the compensation they deserve.”