Monticello Military Journal
Monticello Military Journal by Fay Muhlestein
Reviewed by L. Bennett
The Monticello Military Journal, compiled and self-published by local historian Fay Muhlestein, started out to be just a few stories from men and women who served in America's armed forces. But like many of Fay's research projects, this one took on a life of its own. Rather than collect only a few stories from veterans, Fay expanded her horizons and produced this amazing catalog of service by men and women from Monticello or who moved to Monticello. Even though she recognizes that her list is incomplete, Fay nonetheless managed to list, and in most cases document, more than 700 individuals. From the skirmishes of Utah Territory to present day actions across the world, the book contains over 140 years of military service by local veterans.
The book is organized by conflict, and includes a few entries prior to World War I (WW I), WW II, Korea, Viet Nam, and the current War on Terror. The volume of material, which for many entries includes battles fought, decorations, rank, and interesting stories, imparts a density of text that some might find off-putting, but don't give up. Within each conflict, the veterans are arranged alphabetically so finding a specific person is not difficult. The absence of a table of contents and a name index, therefore, is less critical than you might imagine.
About 40 percent of the veterans included in the book served during WW II, and 65 percent of the individuals were in the regular Army, Army Reserve, or National Guard. The Navy was a popular second (20 percent) for locals. Three percent of the people included in the book are women veterans.
Fay has created a valuable resource for historians, genealogists, and those interested in military memorials. The stories are personal, often humorous, and sometimes poignant. The service records reflect the complexity of the American military and the breadth of its operations. And for the 4 percent of the entries for whom very little could be learned, Fay has kept their names alive.