By Betsy Thorpe
“I jumped on the first step and waved a clumsy goodbye as the bus driver squished the folding doors between me and my childhood.”
“The bus crested the hill and Mom, my younger brothers, and sisters and my childhood, disappeared below the hazy arch of blacktop. The summer of 1968 had just made the turn toward autumn and I was now a statistic in Uncle Sam’s register.”
So begins the story of Jeremy Schoff, a Vietnam War era, eighteen year old, Naval enlistee. How Can You Mend This Purple Heart, recalls the turbulent times and tragic moments of confusion and disorder experienced by United States military personnel during the final years of the conflict in Vietnam.
After completing boot camp at The Great Lakes Naval Training Center near Chicago and feeling lucky following his graduation with the 6th Naval radioman class of 1969 , Schoff learns how to “hurry up and wait” as he anticipates the launching of his first assignment, “a goodwill tour from Norfork Virginia to the British West Indies, over to the Ivory Coast, down around the Cape of Good Hope off South Africa, sail along the east coast of Africa and up through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea. Eight months on board a destroyer escort ship. It was every sailors dream, especially with a war going on half way around the world”.
Unfortunately for Jeremy Schoff a set of unusual circumstances occur before his ship deploys and he eventually finds himself in a hostile environment where he is ill-prepared for the battles he is expected to fight.
In this, his first novel Terry Gould tells a story that has haunted him for more than forty years. Gould, like Jeremy Schoff grew up in rural Missouri and joined the Navy in 1968. He wrote How Can You Mend This Purple Heart in memory of the valiant men he came to know and respect throughout his term of military service. He hopes his novel will inspire it’s readers “to recognize and honor the veterans of all wars; but especially the veterans of the Vietnam War. For they truly deserve recognition, an unconditional recognition so long overdue, for their love of country, their commitment to duty and their unselfish sacrifices at a time when it was shamefully unappreciated”.
Terry Gould now lives near Nashville with his wife Barb.
Published at the Nashville Tennessee publishing company, Published By Westview, How Can You Mend This Purple Heart, by Terry Gould is available for purchase at publishedbywestview.com