Today is Veteran’s Day, and Crickhollow Books is honored to release a new title by a Milwaukee veteran of World War II.
Patton’s Lucky Scout: The Adventures of a Forward Observer for General Patton and the Third Army in Europe is written by Frank Wayne Martin, with his daughter-in-law Nancy Martin.
It’s a truly fascinating memoir of World War II by a remarkable soldier, a scout who worked behind enemy lines for Patton’s famed Third Army on the move.
The Backstory of the Writing of Patton’s Lucky Scout
Frank Wayne Martin is a WWII veteran who lives at Laurel Oaks retirement community in Glendale. He was General Patton’s personal forward observer during the war. He was a young man who had just turned 21 on August 2, 1944, when he was picked by General Patton to be part of an elite group of scouts to guide the Third Army on its remarkable advance across Europe.
The army considered his job classification so hazardous it carried a two-day life expectancy.
Most of his work for General Patton was to scout potential routes for the Third Army, suitable for infantry and for tanks. This meant he mostly operated 12 to 23 miles behind enemy lines (this was the distance that infantry and tank, respectively, could advance in a day).
He also worked closely with the French Underground, and later the German Underground after the Third Army crossed the Rhine.
He also was involved in many special operations, such as Patton’s decision to save the Lipizzan horses, the famous performing white horses of Austrian/Slovenia. You can see some photos of that at the Patton’s Lucky Scout blog.
Over the years Frank would send brief written stories about his amazing experiences to his children. When he faced some recent health issues, his daughter-in-law Nancy spent time with him, and discovered that he’d kept copies of all those “snippets” – totaling a long manuscript of almost 600 pages.
Diligently, Nancy worked closely with him to organize and edit that down to about 300 pages: now available as a paperback book titled Patton’s Lucky Scout.
It’s a great example of how valuable it is for families to help document the memories of American servicemen and women – written stories, oral recollections, and photographs – and to find ways to share them with families, friends, and sometimes with the public, to honor that service and sacrifice.
The book is available locally at Next Chapter Books in Mequon.
The title, by the way, is a play on words, as the Third Army was code-named Lucky (with Patton’s mobile advance headquarters being called Lucky Forward).
Patton’s Lucky Scout
$18.95 • paperback • 308 pages • 6″ x 9″ • October 2009
History / World War II / Memoir