In 1943, seventeen year old John Gorman joined in the Army Specialized Training Program, a pioneering recruiting program that offered enlistees an opportunity for a college education after completing basic training. In February 1944, while Gorman was still in boot camp, the Army converted all its "textbook commandos" into regular infantrymen. By April, Gorman was in England where he volunteered for the U.S. Army Rangers. Gorman landed in Normandy less than a week after D-Day, and for the next eighteen months served as an infantry scout in the 2nd Ranger Battalion, among the most celebrated units of the war. Compass is his story.
Gorman shares with the readers his memories of the rigors of Ranger training, combat in the French bocage, the terrible battle for the port of Brest, the "romp across Europe" after the Normandy breakout, the horrors of the fight in Huertgen Forest, challenges from pneumonia and frostbite and the heart-rending experience of seeing his friends die in battle. Gorman returned home after the war to college, career and family. Compass includes contributions from his children that reveal the many ways in which his wartime experiences shaped the rest of his life.