Just Published: The Book About the 111th

Posted: April 14, 2014 in Men of the 111th Ordnance Company

This blog has been a wonderful way to find and connect the families of the men of the 111th Ordnance Company, as well as to share everyone’s stories and photos and information. But I began to think we needed to tell the story chronologically, and perhaps more permanently.

So I have rewritten and reproduced much of the blog content (including 250 photos, the roster, and the itinerary) as a book (138 pages), adding four maps showing some of the European towns and villages the men passed through. I have quoted heavily from the wartime memoirs of Roland Unangst and Perry Witt–they are truly the co-authors. It is available from Amazon.com: Only the Best: The WWII Story of the 111th Ordnance Company, U.S. Army  (It is also available on Amazon’s five European websites.)

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000425_00009]

The price is $6 (it may sometimes be less when Amazon decides to discount it). Since I figured the primary audience for this book would be the families of the men, I wanted to keep the price as low as possible, just to cover printing costs and Amazon’s cut.

By the way, the title comes from the 111th’s official motto from 1937, which we happened to find in a program my dad had saved from the unit’s 1941 Organization Day in Camp Bowie, Texas. The full motto was “Only the best shall be acceptable.” We thought it was a perfect description for the men–our fathers and grandfathers.

In case you’re interested, I used an Amazon company called CreateSpace to produce the book. It is a wonderful online self-publishing tool that allows paper-bound books to be published at  no cost to the writer, so long as the writer can slog through the production process. It has its drawbacks–for example, I had to use MS Word and Adobe PhotoShop as my “publishing” software–but I think it still came out okay.

The other catch is that Amazon becomes the publisher and the only place online the book can be sold is on Amazon. Of course, I can sell copies as well, so if anyone would like this book but would rather not order online, I can mail a copy or copies to you. Just send a note to me via the comment section of the blog, which won’t be published, and I will get back to you.

Of course, the blog will continue, with upcoming postings about the 70th anniversary of D-Day in St. Dogmaels, Wales, where the men were in the months before leaving for Omaha Beach. We are still finding new family members, and several have promised to send us new photos and stories.


  1. Linda (Unangst) Campbell says:

    Andrea and Ed,

    What a wonderful job you did on this book. I, for one, am very thankful for your hard efforts. It’s a joy to read and informative. I have ordered my copies for family members and tracking told me they are due to arrive Wednesday the 16th of April.

    I also am sending a copy to the only survivor of the Baggen family my dad mentions in his memoirs. I know Vicky will be thrilled.

    Enjoy your trip and I am looking forward to your future blogs.

    Linda (Unangst) Campbell

  2. Vickie Unangst Gratton says:

    Dearest Andrea,
    I talked with my sister Linda Unangst Campbell this afternoon and she told me that your book had been published. You have honored our father, Roland C. Unangst and the others of the 111th more than I have words to describe. I attended a Historical Fiction Writer’s Workshop this past weekend and told them about my Dad’s memoirs “Hanover to Berlin” and back and shared also what a story teller he is. I found out this weekend, that (per classmates and teacher) that I, too have the gift of storytelling. I told my sister today that it is our job to write the “More of the Story” for we, like you, know that if we do not that they will remain lost. I want to write about how it felt to be held in my father’s arms as he danced and sang to me, later dancing on his shoes until I got too big…and of so many other things. We must also write about our dearest Momma and her ancestors. She has one living sibling left in this world. My 86 year old Aunt. I’m feeling a strong longing to fly to Grant’s Pass Oregon and to sit beside her and record her memories. As an artist, I will crudely illustrate them also in addition to actual photographs. Linda said “Yes” (I think) but we both know it will be a gift that brings us together and that is what it is about. I will send your link to my teacher this weekend and the new friends I met at the workshop. Also need to purchase copies of this for our four children and their total of 8 great grandchildren they contributed to this wonderful legacy. Bless you for this work of love and honor.

    Vickie Unangst Gratton
    Second child of Roland C. and Betty M. Unangst
    First child born to this union after my Dad returned home from oversees

  3. Theresa says:

    Thank you so much, for your hard work! I have ordered 7 copies on my first order, and will order more when family members want them I cant wait to see all of this info in print all together! Thanks again Theresa dalton

  4. Phyllis Sossi says:

    This is quite a book! I’ve looked it over and am sure that Frank will love it. You have given so many people quite a gift. I know Frank’s going to wish he could have one more hour with his dad, after reading the book… to talk about some of the things the company did and things he may have experienced.

    Frank gets home tomorrow, and will go through his dad’s records and pictures this weekend.

    Safe travels. We look forward to more updates.

    • Vickie Unangst Gratton says:

      Dear Phyllis,
      You will most likely find many treasures in that box. Around the 50th Anniversary of D-Day my father Roland C. Unangst, started talking about his war experiences. I know now that he was haunted by PTSD…which manifested themselves in anxiety attacks and dreams. He also took many untold stories to his grave with him and I’m sure he wasn’t alone in that. God Bless that Greatest Generation. The WW II Memorial and Holocaust Museum almost took me to my knees. Our father’s fought for a cause – a huge cause. My Dad would always say, “If we had not joined in the efforts to end that War, we would have all been doing the “goose step” (Nazi March). Sitting in the silence that penetrated the Hall of Honor at the Holocaust Museum, I wept and said out loud, “Now I know Daddy, now I know”. Oh how I miss him. Oh what I would give to hear those stories again in real time. Oh how grateful I and our families are for him putting pen to paper and capturing those moments for his children, great and great great Grandchildren. The onus is now on us to see that these stories are told “lest we forget”.

      Blessings to you,

      Vickie Unangst Gratton

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