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Former bank VP writes volumes about World War II

September 13, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • Don Corbett, author of three volumes of "Hancock Home of the Brave," signs books and shares stories of World War II Sunday at the Williamsport Town Museum.
By Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT -- War can lead to haunting moments, as Don Corbett shows in his new book about local World War II veterans.

Corbett, who has now written three books about World War II veterans, talks about a cousin -- Melvin Corbett -- in his latest release.

Melvin Corbett was a medic in World War II, and besides caring for Americans during the war, Don Corbett said his cousin treated a German.

After treating the German, Melvin Corbett discovered the man had a gun, Corbett said during a book signing for his new book at the Williamsport Town Museum Sunday afternoon.

Because the German was about to shoot an American, Melvin Corbett pulled his trigger and shot the German to death.

"To the day he died, it just haunted him," Don Corbett said, referring to his cousin.

Don Corbett estimates he has relied on the experiences of about 60 World War II veterans to write his three books. Among the people who inspired him to write them was his father, who was a World War II veteran.

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Corbett talked about World War II experiences with about 10 people during the book signing. With the exception of the volume number on each of the books, the title of the books is the same: "Hancock Home of the Brave."

Most of the veterans Corbett has used in his books are from the Hancock area or Fulton County, Pa., he said.

Corbett said his interest in World War II started while he was working as vice president of First National Bank of Maryland in Hancock.

People would bring information about the war to him at the bank, and he started writing about the conflict 15 years ago.

Corbett, who retired from his banking job 10 years ago, discovered that veterans would not talk to everyone about their war experiences.

"They wouldn't open up to family members, but they would open up to me. So I thought it would be a good idea to jot this stuff down," Corbett said.

Corbett and others at Sunday's book signing talked about tragic moments in the war, like how some Americans drowned while disembarking from water vessels. The vessels did not get close enough to shore and soldiers drowned with equipment weighing about 100 pounds, Corbett said.

"Some of these guys really had stories to tell," Corbett said.

Copies of Corbett's book can be purchased at two town museums in Hancock -- one at 126 W. High St. and the other at 42 W. Main St. The books can also be purchased at Petals 'N Bows Flower Shop at 83 W. Main St. in Hancock.

Volumes two and three of the series cost $15 each and volume one costs $12.

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