Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Phantom Warrior

Phantom Warrior
The Heroic True Story of Pvt. John Mc Kinney’s One-Man Stand against the Japanese in World War II
By: Forrest Bryant Johnson

My favorite books are biographies about people who make a difference with their lives. I lucked onto this book at the Public Library. Everyone has heard about Sergeant York and his exploits in World War I. Gary Cooper played the role in a movie about him. The similarity between these two men is striking. They were both simple, hard working, quiet types who were poor farmers eking out a living in the South. Their pastimes were hunting and fishing. Actually pastime is a misnomer as the food from animals and fish caught provided needed food for their families. The skills developed hunting made them both dead shots.
Pvt. McKinney won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his exploits during a battle at a place called Dingaling Bay on the East coast of Luzon May 11, 1945. He and about 70 other soldiers were attacked before sunrise from two sides. About 148 attacked the main group from the North and an equal number from a sand bar to the South. The account pieced together from eye witnesses and a count of dead after the battle confirmed that those attacking from the South were all killed by this one soldier with the exception of 6 shot by a soldier that came to his aid as the battle was winding down. The total battle lasted about 36 minutes. You have to read it to comprehend how it was possible. It took a long time to get the approval for the Medal of Honor because it was so unbelievable. In the citation it mentions 40 as the number of Japanese dead.
The book is 304 pages long. It details his early life and events leading up to this battle. The war began for him in New Guinea and ended with this battle. He was removed from the fighting so that he would survive the war and be a symbol for Americans of the heroic exploits of our fighting men.
He returned home and returned to the life he had lived before joining the Army. He is described as a man of sorrow. From time to time he would say to a relative or close friend, “Why did they have to die.” Find it and read it. You will inspired by this unbelievable story.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
September 28, 2007

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