The 2013 Stars and Flags Book Award Program announced that local author Steve Johnson was recently awarded a gold medal for his autobiography, "Cammie Up!"
The book begins about two months before his tour in Vietnam, continues through the following 13 months in the country in 1967 and 1968, and concludes a couple of months later. Johnson tried to convey less "blood and gore," and more of the day-to-day events in a war zone. He was in a Marine Corps reconnaissance unit whose mission was to penetrate deep into enemy territory and report on enemy activity, or sometimes the lack of it.
Often humorous, but not avoiding the grimmer aspects of combat, he describes how mostly high school and college-aged Marines handled their responsibilities as honorably as their forefathers did in Korea and World War II.
The book goes into detail about tactics, equipment, geography and, also fellow Marines.
Johnson enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1964 and served a little more than 17 years on active duty and in the reserves (including a call-up for active duty in Desert Storm. He then served for 20 years with the Jamestown Police Department and six years with the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office.
"Cammie Up!" is available for purchase at the Fenton Museum Shop.
A national contest, the Stars and Flags Book Awards program, was established six years ago with the purpose of promoting books which have a content connection to the military. Many of the judges are veterans themselves, and others include historians, teachers and avid readers.
The program is facilitated by Nancy Smith of Reeds Spring, Mo., owner of starsandflags.com, whose main goal is to support and promote our veterans.
Smith is also an active member of the Military Writers Society of America, a graphic designer, and is soon to start writing her first book about veterans.
The next Stars and Flags program runs from February through Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2015. Anyone interested in the program can find more information at www.starsandflags.com or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.