New book remembers Toledo military honoreeWritten by Colleen Kennedy | | firstname.lastname@example.org
British author Benjamin Disraeli said, “the legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” But according to author Linda Swink, both can easily be forgotten. The goal of her new book, “In Their Honor: The Men Behind the Names of Our Military Installations,” is to ensure these heroes’ legacies won’t be lost.
“In Their Honor” is a collection of 524 biographies of men the military has honored by naming an installation after them. Installations include everything from barracks to airfields in all divisions of the military.
Swink, an Ohio native, said the idea emerged from personal curiosity. As an Air Force veteran of 15 years, she would often look up who the names of installations were honoring but it wasn’t until she learned more about the stories behind the names that she became inspired to write a book.
“So many of these men lived courageous lives,” Swink said. “I really got into it when I saw the stories of what these men went through and how they sacrificed their life to help protect the lives of the men around them.”
One of the examples in Swink’s book is native Toledoan 1st Lt. James E. Robinson, Jr. Born in 1918, Robinson fought in World War II and died in Germany of a throat wound in 1945. Robinson’s Medal of Honor citation, which details his acts of heroism, is included in the book. Named for him are the Robinson Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany, and two additional installations in California and Oklahoma.
Swink also cites Col. Gerald Johnson, a pilot who voluntarily went down with his aircraft after giving his parachute to a fellow passenger who didn’t have one.
Swink said she hopes to increase the ease with which information can be found on these individuals. Since Robinson’s installations are still active, information on him was easier to obtain. Others proved more frustrating, especially if their installation had already closed because, Swink said, information on the honoree disappears.
“It opened my eyes to the fact that so many of these men have been forgotten,” Swink said. “We have forgotten. We know that there were battles, that there were men who died in battle but we don’t know them individually. And I think that’s the important part — knowing really who these men were.”
Swink said it is rewarding knowing her book might make a difference in the history of military bases.
The 519-page paperback includes a foreword by Maj. Gen. Edward J. Mechenbier and is available in area bookstores and from the publisher, Little Miami Publishing Co., at www.littlemiamibook.com. A preview of the book can also be found at www.intheirhonor.info.