Arts & Entertainment
Kathleen Shelby Boyett: Author planned events for forgotten veterans.
My listing in Matthews Mint Hill Weekly's 100 Biggest Newsmakers of 2018.
The Sandusky Observer
Book tells story of Sandusky fighter pilot Richard Marshall
Tom Jackson, Staff Reporter
SANDUSKY — Outraged by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Sandusky High School student Richard Marshall decided to join the war effort as soon as possible. Marshall, 94, flew P-47 Thunderbolt fighter planes against the Germans during World War II, surviving anti-aircraft fire and attacks from German fighter planes.
Now a resident of the Ohio Veterans Home, Marshall’s war years are portrayed in a new book, “Our Heroes Are Not Forgotten 4” by Kathleen Shelby Boyett, a North Carolina writer who specializes in writing books that preserve the stories of veterans.
Marshall, a December 1942 graduate of Sandusky High School (he pleased his football coach by playing a final season at quarterback) survived the war unscathed and returned to Sandusky to work for Ohio Edison and serve in the Air Force Reserve. He married his high school girlfriend, the former Natalie Houk (Sandusky High School Class of 1944) and the couple had four children, all of whom still live in Sandusky.
One of Marshall’s daughters, Laurie Fogg of Sandusky, met Boyett by chance and told Boyett about Marshall, sparking the author’s interest.
Boyett worked with a several-page document that another of Marshall’s daughters, Sandusky resident Anne McGookey, put together after interviewing her dad about his war experiences. Boyett also did additional research.
Boyett’s book tells how Marshall left Sandusky on a train in February 1943, learning to fly at various bases in the South. Of the 350 men who began training to become pilots, 150 made it through; the others washed out or quit, and a few died in crashes during training.
Sent to Europe in early 1945, Marshall flew missions against German fighter planes and took part in ground attack missions, flying his P-47.
Fortunately for Marshall, the P-47 was famous for being able to take damage. On one mission, exploding shrapnel from a shell from an anti-aircraft gun put dozens of holes in his airplane, but he returned safely.
When he returned from one mission, someone behind Marshall reached over and yanked on his oxygen mask. Marshall turned around to scold the joker, and discovered it was Bob Hope, the famous comedian. Hope, who died in 2003, grew up in Cleveland and was even a part owner for many years of the Cleveland Indians.
Marshall, speaking to the Register at the Ohio Veterans Home, said he married his wife a couple of months after coming back to Sandusky. “She missed me and I missed her,” he said. Natalie Marshall died about 20 years ago.
Looking back at his service, Marshall said, “I went in with the idea I was going to do a job. It was a good life. I’m glad I lived that long,” he said.
It seems likely Boyett will sell quite a few copies of her book to Sandusky residents. McGookey, Fogg, daughter Betsy Poggiali and son Michael Marshall all live in Sandusky. They have been buying copies of the book so that Richard Marshall’s grandchildren will know more about his wartime story, McGookey said.
My husband has also written several books of World War II veterans' stories. Use the link below to visit his website.