Too Young for a Forgettable War (Second Edition) is a coming-of-age story, in the most dangerous of environments. The author takes readers on a vivid journey to a war – and back. You will follow admittedly naive and immature 18-year-old Bill Alli, as he is forced out of his peaceful civilian life in Michigan, in 1950. Eventually he is taken westward, across the Pacific Ocean, to a war-stricken country known as “Land of the Morning Calm.” His own father, also at 18, had sailed thousands of miles westward across the sea. But his dad was coming to America, leaving the dying Ottoman Empire – and its doomed army – to avoid a looming war. Bill’s fate would be different; he would experience war and maybe die a bloody death.
He writes about the dangers, his stupid mistakes, and his physical shortcomings. The dangers turn out to be not only from the enemy’s weapons, but even from those of a United Nations ally (the Republic of Turkiye), whose soldiers are of the same nationality as was his father! They mistakenly arrest Bill as an “enemy agent.” That is clearly a justification for his execution. Bill Alli doubts that he will survive the war and is astonished, and grateful, that he does. But in civilian life he is mortally endangered twice, soon after his return to America.
In middle age, the author seeks his “roots,” but they are not those of lineage; they are those of memory. He even visits Korea and Turkey to search for fellow veterans and compare his recollections to theirs. He realizes that his story is clearly and tightly interwoven with that of his comrades, but there is a conflict between their desire to be helpful and their instincts to avoid bad memories. He knows that old veterans do not want, or maybe aren’t able, to relive the past but he forges ahead, though not without tears. We find him exploring deep recesses of his own mind as he puts words to paper. He convinces himself that there are no lurking dangers from any PTSD working in his subconscious, but gradually loses much of his certainty. Not satisfied with the First Edition of his memoir, he decides three years later to self-publish a larger and more detailed Second Edition. He hopes that this book will now enable him to bring a finale to that long journey that began when he was too young a warrior caught up too far away in a forgettable war. He describes how war lays bare human evil, making nobler those actions that counter it through bravery, compassion, and endurance. He hopes his book will incline readers to believe that life’s dreams are not canceled out by its nightmares, nor its beauty by its ugliness, nor its worth by its tragedies.
This Second Edition of Too Young for a Forgettable War is appearing during the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Cease-Fire. The U.S. and North Korea have not yet reached a peace agreement. Readers may wonder whether Bill Alli has reached a peace agreement with his war experiences. Or is he really writing about an “unforgettable war?”
About the Author
William Edward Alli was born in Detroit Michigan in 1932. He served on the east-central front in Korea in a machine-gun unit of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1951-52. His military reserve assignments include: Air Intelligence NCO, USMCR Sgt., Grosse Ile Naval Air Station, Michigan 1953-55; and Air Intelligence NCO/Air Intelligence Officer, USAFR SSgt./2ndLt., Selfridge Air Force Base, Michigan 1955-58. The author graduated from Wayne State University with a BA and MA in economics. In 1958 he joined the U.S. Department of Labor as an economist. He was an Adjunct Professor of Economics at George Washington University, 1962-63. From 1963 to 1965 he worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a Foreign Service Officer in Pakistan. From 1966 to 1970 he served in the War on Poverty as a manpower development planner in the Dept. of Labor. From 1970 to 1996 he worked for USAID as a project officer, a budget and program planning analyst and finally a management analyst. Alli has authored a bilingual dictionary (Basic Urdu and English Wordbook) for USAID personnel working in Pakistan and India. Bill Alli received the 1995 Public Service Award of the Government Employees’ Insurance Company, for his efforts in the field of substance abuse prevention and treatment. During the Department of Defense’s 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program for the Korean War (2000-2003) he was a co-founder and Activity Director of the American and Turkish Veterans Association. In 2002 he organized and led a group of American veterans on a friendship tour of the Republic of Turkiye. Bill is a member of the Korean War Veterans Assn., Marine Corps Assn., First Marine Division Assn., Marine Corps League, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. In 1974 Alli was made an honorary member of the War Veterans Association of Turkiye. He is married and has four offspring. Two sons are former Marines, a Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret.) and a Corporal. His eldest daughter is a supervisory physician at the Veterans’ Administration, and his youngest daughter is a management consultant. He lives in Bowie Maryland.