Six Writers Who Served

With Memorial weekend coming to an end, we’d like to pay tribute to the writers who served. Of course, this list isn’t a complete compilation of all who have seen war, but if you’re curious, you can see one here.


Earnest Hemmingway


Hemmingway drove ambulances with the Red Cross during World War I until injured by mortar fire. He would later write for NANA (North American New Alliance) during the Spanish Civil War, and while staying in Europe, covered actions in World War II, being  awarded the Bronze Star for bravery.

Hemmingway’s feelings about war were no secret, and can be seen in his works, Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls, among others.

Kurt Vonnegut


Vonnegut served as an infantry  officer in World War II. He survived both being captured at the Battle of the Bulge and the bombing of Dresden.

Although Vonnegut is well known for his anti-war sentiments in works such as Slaughterhouse Five, his service shouldn’t be forgotten.

Tim O’Brien


After being drafted in 1968, O’Brien served a 13-month tour in the Vietnam War.

O’Brien’s work, the Things They Carried would be a product of this experience, being applauded for its honest approach to retelling war.

Gertrude Stein


After moving to Paris and creating what is known as the “Stein salon” for friends like Hemmingway, Fitzgerald, and Picasso, Stein and her partner, Alice, volunteered for the American Fund for the French Wounded during World War I.

She writes about this, and her experiences avoiding the Nazi party during World War II in her book, Wars I Have Seen.

Joseph Heller


Heller enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 at age 19. He flew 60 combat missions in World War II and was awarded both an Air Medal and a Presidential Unit Citation.

In 1961 he would publish his novel, Catch 22.


J.D. Salinger 


After being drafted in 1942, Salinger served five campaigns in World War II, earning the rank of Staff Sergeant.

During his time of duty, he worked on what would become Catcher in the Rye.

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