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War buddies inspired book written by World War II vet Joe Windha - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

War buddies inspired book by World War II vet Joe Windham

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BLANCHARD, La -

Joe Windham of Blanchard says he had a knot in his stomach during the World War II -- fear, as he battled through Europe. He came away a survivor. But what really stuck with him was friendship.

Building trust and friendship among fellow riflemen amid the brutality of war. That's what inspired Windham to write a book.

"Battlefield buddies," he reminisced, as he thumbed through the pages. "Unbelieveable."

His book is titled 'Fragmentation.' It includes pictures of himself and his war buddies.

"You don't forget old friends, you know," Windham says.

Especially Ellsworth Cunningham. He assumed leadership of Windham's platoon after they lost their officer early on.

"He led us all the way through the war. And I was the runner for him," Windham explained. "So we were real close."

Almost six decades after the war, Windham heard Cunningham's voice again.

"He called me. The hair just raised up on the back of my head. I will never forget it," Windham says.

That led to a reunion of the troops in Biloxi, Mississippi. Windham says Cunningham died more than a decade ago. In fact, he says, all his old friends are gone. Of course, there were those who never made it home from Europe.

"I've got a lot of friends that are still 18 years old." Windham says, looking sadly at a picture of his fellow troops as they prepared to ship out from New York.

"All of these people are gone. I'm still here. That's all I can say. I don't know why. But I am," Windham says, shaking his head with a chuckle.

He also survived a major health scare last year. Windham was given just a five percent chance of living after suffering septic shock -- a condition he believes was brought on 70 years after freezing his feet by trudging through the snow in Europe.

His book "Fragmentation" is available on paperback or Kindle on Amazon.

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