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13 Nov 23. ’Tis the Season to Honor Veterans By Sharing Their Stories and Keeping Their Memories Alive. In author Walt Larimore’s life, there is no greater hero than his father, World War II Second Lt. Philip Larimore. To honor his father’s military service and to keep his memory alive, Walt Larimore spent almost 16 years researching his father’s accomplishments before, during and just after World War II, and he shares his astonishing discoveries in the book, At First Light: A True World War II Story of a Hero, His Bravery, and an Amazing Horse.
“The purpose of this book is to resurrect and revive the forgotten memory of the Southern Front of Europe — Northern Africa, Sicily, Italy, Southern France. Everyone knows of D-Day up in Northern France, but they don’t know there were five D-Days in the southern areas,” Walt Larimore explained in a recent interview. “Everyone knows about the Battle of the Bulge, but they don’t know about the Colmar Pocket, which was arguably much worse.”
Walt Larimore’s father Philip Larimore was the youngest-ever graduate of the Army’s Officer Candidate School and one of the most decorated front-line junior officers in the war. He commanded a front-line platoon, shot snipers out of trees from 100 yards away, flew behind enemy lines into Czechoslovakia late in the war, completed a clandestine mission to save the Lipizzaner horses from Hitler’s clutches and became one of the youngest Company Commanders in the war. After VE-Day, he developed a friendship with President Truman and played bridge with General Eisenhower — among many other Forrest Gump-like exploits.
In At First Light, Walt Larimore and co-author Mike Yorkey recount Philip Larimore’s mischievous early years, his banishment to the Gulf Coast Military Academy during adolescence and his astonishing acts of bravery during World War II. Philip Larimore saw 413 days of front-line combat and received every valor award of the Army except the Medal of Honor, including three Purple Hearts, the final one for losing his right leg in a desperate battle in the last month of the war.
“He never talked about those medals; he never talked about those battles,” Walt Larimore said. “And a lot of the men were like that. They fought for freedom; they fought for liberty. But when they came home, they wanted to live life.”
At First Light recounts Philip Larimore’s heroic post-war battle with the U.S. War Department over its policy of not allowing amputee officers to continue in the Army. The final courtroom testimony, uncovered in the U.S. National Archives, reads like the chilling trial scene between the characters played by Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in the movie, A Few Good Men.
At First Light concludes with Philip Larimore’s heart-warming relationship with a war horse that he saved — and saved him.
The details of Philip Larimore’s exceptional military career, including interactions with Winston Churchill, General George Patton and General Lucian Truscott, and his role in a top-secret mission that led to saving the world-famous Lipizzaners, all remained uncovered until the research and publication of At First Light. The book has been praised as being “a riveting story that rivals Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken,” and “a combination of Band of Brothers and War Horse.”
Since the book’s publication, At First Light has been awarded a Silver Medal by the Military Writers Society of America, was named a finalist by the International Page Turner Awards, was featured in the Louisiana Book Festival, and led to the 2023 induction of Philip Larimore into the 3rd Infantry Division’s Hall of Fame and his nomination for the Army’s Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.
Gen. David H. Petraeus, U.S. Army (Ret.) four-star general, former Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, and former Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan wrote: “This story is extraordinary: an almost forgotten hero, tough combat, tragic sacrifice, gripping aftermath, a marvelous horse, and an astonishing ending. Don’t miss reading this remarkable book.”
About the Author
Walt Larimore is an internationally recognized family physician, an award-winning medical journalist, and a bestselling author of 41 books and over 1,200 articles in professional and lay magazines and journals. He spent almost 16 years traveling to over a dozen archives and military installations in eight U.S. states, England, France and Italy, as well as interviewing many soldiers (and their families) to research, document and write this epic narrative about his father and the countless men and women who fought on “the forgotten front” in southern Europe in World War II.
For more information, visit https://www.drwalt.com (click on the “At First Light” tab), or follow him on Facebook (Walt.Larimore), Twitter (@WaltLarimore), Instagram (WaltLarimoreMD) and LinkedIn (walt-larimore-8415105).
At First Light: A True World War II Story of a Hero, His Bravery, and an Amazing Horse
Publisher: Knox Press
Available from Amazon.com and other online retailers
11 Nov 23. Why Veterans are Failing in Industry Careers and How Companies Can Help. Retired Navy Captain William Toti, the Voice of Authority on Military Transition to Industry, Shares His Insights. Capt. William Toti, U.S. Navy (retired), spent 15 years in industry, culminating in a job as CEO, and he witnessed far too many transitioning veterans struggling to adapt to their industry positions.
“Here’s a real statistic for you: 200,000 people leave the military every year, and of those, greater than 50 percent quit their first job or are fired from their first job within two years of leaving the military,” Toti said. “Most transitioning veterans struggle, and it increases their stress level. And for those with PTSD, failure to transition just adds to that.”
On the other side of the equation are companies that don’t understand the veteran mindset and don’t know how to help their veterans succeed, and this disconnect costs companies ms of dollars in lost recruiting costs and compensation.
In an effort to “reboot things for transitioning veterans,” Toti started writing down lessons he had learned in his post-military career. The result is his book, From CO to CEO: A Practical Guide for Transitioning from Military to Industry Leadership.
“For industry leaders, reading this book will be like listening to one veteran who has succeeded in industry teach other veterans who are trying to learn how to be successful,” Toti said.
From CO to CEO can help recruiters, hiring managers and veterans understand:
- Why veterans decide to leave the service.
- Why some veterans fail to succeed in their civilian careers.
- Which military skills are (and are not) directly translatable to industry.
- How to assist veterans in understanding their new, corporate missions.
- How companies can help ameliorate skill gaps for their new veteran employees.
- Behavioral changes that veterans need to exemplify.
- And much more.
“The book is intended to correct the defects the military injects into its transitioning veterans before they leave service; it’s intended to help companies head off problems in assimilating new veteran employees; and it’s intended to serve as a guide for transitioning veterans to help them understand the business environment and learn new skills necessary for them to succeed,” Toti added.
About the Author
William Toti served for more than 26 years on active duty, culminating as commodore of Submarine Squadron 3, then 15 years as a corporate executive and eventually a CEO. He has been featured in several documentaries, including The Lost Ships of World War II (Fox), USS Indianapolis: The Final Chapter (PBS), USS Indianapolis: Live from the Deep (PBS), USS Indianapolis: The Legacy, 9/11: One Day in America (National Geographic), 9/11: The Pentagon (The History Channel) and 9/11: Inside the Pentagon (PBS).
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/CO-CEO-Practical-Transitioning-Leadership/dp/1637630638/
From CO to CEO: A Practical Guide for Transitioning from Military to Industry Leadership
Publisher: Forefront Books
Available on Amazon.com
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885. In 2020, our teams of volunteers and employees helped more than 79,000 people in need, the currently serving (both regulars and reserves), veterans from the Second World War and those who have served in more recent conflicts, as well as their families. SSAFA understands that behind every uniform is a person. And we are here for that person – any time they need us, in any way they need us, for as long as they need us.