Underage and Under Fire

Accounts of the Youngest Americans in Military Service


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SKU: 9780786474530 Category:

About the Book

This work tells the personal stories of boys and girls who left home and enlisted in the U.S. military at ages 11 to 16. Many had difficult home lives, some wanted adventure or a better future, but all wanted to serve their country. They missed high school proms, adolescent years with family and friends, homecoming parades, and graduation ceremonies. They served aboard ships and submarines, on airplanes, and at faraway bases and battlefields. Some became prisoners of war. Many performed above and beyond.
Jack Lucas earned the Medal of Honor at Iwo Jima six days past his 17th birthday. Calvin Graham enlisted at age 12 and was wounded at Guadalcanal aboard the USS South Dakota. His story was made into a movie starring Rick Schroder. A 13-year-old girl enlisted but was later discovered and sent home from Europe. General Eisenhower told her, “Go home and grow up, little girl, we need more soldiers like you.” One underage veteran became a senator, another, a governor, still another a Chief of Naval Operations. This book reveals why and how they got in, and what happened to them when they were there.

About the Author(s)

Allan C. Stover used a forged birth certificate to enlist in the U. S. Coast Guard at age 14 during the Korean War. After an honorable discharge at age 18, he served on a Great Lakes ore carrier. Despite never having earned a high school diploma, he earned two college degrees and is a registered professional engineer. He is the founder of the Veterans of Underage Military Service and is a member of American Legion Post 347 and Korean War Veterans Post 169. He lives in The Villages, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Allan C. Stover
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: 33 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7453-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1530-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments   ix
Foreword   1
Preface   3
1. What Do You Mean, Too Young to Serve?   5
2. Children at War   14
3. How Did We Pull It Off?   25
4. Why We Did It   43
5. Some Wouldn’t Give Up   51
6. In the Beginning: Surviving Boot Camp   55
7. Surviving the First Assignment   67
8. Young Prisoners of War   75
9. Those Who Were Caught   80
10. Brothers and Buddies   87
11. The Youngest of the Young   93
12. The Youngest Women   108
13. They Had It Tougher Than Most   124
14. A Few More Stories   155
Appendix. Veterans of Underage Military Service (VUMS) and the “Underage Veterans Handbook”   179
Notes   183
Bibliography   185
Index   187