When I sat down and started to write my Korean War novel War Remains in the fall of 2009, I based parts of the novel on some of the interviews I had with US Second Infantry Division veterans who were at such places as the Pusan Perimeter, Kunu-ri, Chipyong-ni, and Hoengseong.
Then, there was the LaSalle, Illinois link. I never intended to write a war novel; instead, I wanted the novel to be just as much about the war as the war experienced on the home front. Bobby Washkowiak could have been any service member from any small town in America who ended up in the Korean War. And as it turned out, I was a lot closer than I had ever imagined.
One of my friends, Doug Mayes, who lost an uncle at the same battle near Hoengseong, South Korea in February 1951, passed this link along to me. Although it doesn’t say which town in LaSalle County, most likely the soldier who was killed in action was killed at the same battle and the one that I describe in my novel.
Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. In this case, it hit very close to the heart and soul of this novel.