The Bookends is the first start of the EIB storyline with Sgt. Joe "Red" Hartsock and S.L.A. Marshall.
Newly promoted Sergeant Hartsock sits down for a cup of coffee with Col. SLA Marshall to recount his trip through Normandy.
It takes place 15 days after D-Day and the Allies have captured the Cotentin Peninsula. At the outskirts of liberated Cherbourg, Red went to Colonel Marshall who is conducting an interviews with soldiers experienced the time of the D-Day. Red recalls his first day of the invasion and talks about Muzza's death before he talks about the night when he landed on Normandy and his experience.
In the rain, Sergeant Joe Hartsock walks over to Col. S.L.A. Marshall's tent
Marshall: At ease, Sergeant. Have a seat. You want some coffee son? It's fresh. Well, as fresh as it gets around here.
Hartsock: Yes, sir. Haven't had a good cup o' coffee in three or four days now.
Red takes a big sniff of the coffee.
Hartsock: Smells great. Thank you, sir.
Marshall: Name and rank?
Hartsock: Sgt. Joe Hartsock, sir. Uh, well everyone calls me Red. So how long is this gonna take? Sir. I'd just like to get back to my men.
Marshall: You and your men are in 2nd squad, correct?
Hartsock: Oh! Yes, sir. 2nd took heavy losses in Carentan. I was with 3rd at the time-
Marshall: Under Sgt. Matthew Baker?
Hartsock: Sort of, yes sir.
Marshall raises an eyebrow.
Marshall: Sort of?
Hartsock: We were promoted less than twenty days apart. Carentan seemed so minor next to what happened in St. Sauveur.
Marshall: And you're first objective as a Sergeant was taking St. Sauveur?
Hartsock: Yes, sir.
Marshall: How did the drop go?
Hartsock drops his head, closing his eyes, remembering.
It is now Red's perspective of how the C-47 ride to Normandy went. An Flak 88 burst hits the right wing of the plane causing he and the other paratroopers in the plane to shake and wobble. Hartsock is standing behind Allen and Garnett and eleven others. He can see Mac and Baker in the front of the doorway.
Garnett: Let's get the hell out of here!
Allen: We gotta jump Sarge!
Mac: We wait for the green light!
Allen: We wait any longer, there won't be a fucking green light!
Mac: Baker! Stand in the door!
Mac shoves Baker in the doorway. Hartsock sees Baker looking on the ground below. Before long, another Flak burst hits the left wing of the plane, causing Baker to jump off.
Mac: Everybody out! Go go go!
One by one, the first three soldiers jump out of the C-47.
Back to the present, Hartsock has his head down.
Hartsock lifts his head.
Hartsock: There was so much smoke and fire we didn't even see Muzza.
Back in the plane, Muzza is lying on the floor.
Hartsock: He was the last in the stick. Took a piece of flak in the chest. He was dead before we even noticed he was on the floor.
Back to present.
Hartsock: We just left him in the plane. Can we talk about something else, sir?
Marshall: Alright, tell me what happened after you landed in Normandy.
- Colonel S.L.A. Marshall
- Staff Sergeant Gregory Hassay
- Sergeant Matthew Baker (does not speak)
- Corporal/Sergeant Joseph Hartsock
- Corporal Samuel Corrion (does not speak)
- Private First Class Jack Courtland (does not speak)
- Private First Class Kevin Leggett (does not speak)
- Private First Class Stephan Obrieski (does not speak)
- Private First Class Thomas Zanovich (does not speak)
- Private Larry Allen
- Private Michael Desola (does not speak)
- Private Michael Garnett
- Private Dale McCreary (does not speak)
- Private David Muzza (Flashback,KIA)
- Private Johnny Rivas (does not speak)
S.L.A. Marshall Biography - Any Difficulty EditSamuel Lyman Atwood Marshall was a soldier, war correspondent, historian and military theorist. He observed, studied and recorded the actions of combat in some of the most dramatic conflicts of the 20th Century.
S.L.A. Marshall, or SLAM as he was called by his close friends, live a lifetime that spanned four of America's wartime period: World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
This book belongs to:
Lieut Col. S.L.A. Marshall, Inf. History Branch, G-2, WD6S Washington, D.C.
and should be returned to:
Lieut. Col. S.L.A. Marshall, Inf. H.Q.ETOUSA, United States Army.
This narrative was begun on 11 July 1944 and the last work was done on 29 July, at which time the HO began work on 82nd's operation. The narrative is not complete. As much was done as was possible in the time available, the HO getting no assistance in the work. The notes do cover, in main, the principal operations of the parachute regiments, including the drop and assembly details of most of the chief elements. Other groups were passed up. So too was the work in detail of the glider units, engineers, artillery, medical corps, and others. There is nothing here about planning and preparation. The reasons are obvious. Some of this material may be recovered later on.
With the support of General Taylor and with the unreserved help, and even the enthusiasm of his unit commanders, we undertook these researches principally to find out what happens to parachute battalions in the course of collecting for battle. The Battalion Commanders themselves wanted to know.
At the conclusion of two weeks of this work, it seemed perfectly clear that there is more to be learned in small unit action from the study of a parachute battalion during any 72 hrs than from an average line battalion in a month of fighting.
Marshall wrote extensively about the 101st Airborne Division during World War II and interviewed many of the paratroopers and soldiers on both sides of the battles for Normandy, Holland, the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle for Germany.
S.L.A. Marshall as he was (left), and S.L.A. Marshall as he is recreated in Brothers in Arms Earned in Blood (right).