Kerrville, TX – The Texas Center at Schreiner University and State House Press and are pleased to announce the publication of A Private in the Texas Army: At War in Italy, France, and Germany with the 111th Engineers, 36th Division, in World War 2 by Texas author, John A. Pearce.
This work is built around the edited letters and diary of Sulphur Springs native Frank Webster Pearce, a soldier in Texas’s own 36th Infantry Division and the 111th Engineer Combat Battalion. The division’s story has been told before, but never from start to finish by a combat engineer, whose footprints stirred the sands of three invasion beaches, wallowed through the mud and trudged in the snow of every battle.
“My dad kept this diary during the worst of times, and then entrusted me with its future,” Pearce wrote. “His love for his family, and his devotion to God and his country his entire life highlighted my family’s life and values as we grew up in the tranquil 1950s and turbulent 1960s. This is a debt I could never repay.”
From training in the United States to the war’s end in Austria, Pearce chronicled it all. With the combination of diary, numerous letters home and official division reports, this is the most complete look ever produced on the 111th Engineers and their war against Hitler’s Germany. This is a primary account written daily as the events unfolded. It was the war years. Here you find out how to properly bury a man in the waterlogged Italian soil, a fool proof way to smuggle liquor from the US to the soldiers overseas, the foul stench of death reeking across the battlefield and the beauty of exploding artillery shells in the night sky. These are his thoughts and letters as he wrote them—raw and unfiltered.
“This is a valuable World War Two story from the ground up,” said Dr. Donald S. Frazier, director of The Texas Center. “This body of letters and this diary were nearly doomed to obscurity before we brought them back into the public eye. It fills an important hole in the history of the 36th Division, Texas National Guard.”
State House Press publishes from The Texas Center at Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas.
A Private in the Texas Army: At War in Italy, France, and Germany with the 111th Engineers, 36th Division, in World War 2 by Texas author, John A. Pearce