An Inspiring Memoir – A Journey of Faith, Family, and Career
“The Road to Catoctin Mountain.” is a memoir of the life of Retired Col. Robert J. Gerard. The book tells of an intriguing journey from his childhood days in New York and New Jersey during the depression of the early 1930s throughout a successful career covering over forty-five years. He shares in detail memories of his junior high and high school experiences during World War II.
Robert had a twofold purpose in writing this memoir: to leave a story of his life and experiences for his eight children and his grandchildren. He wanted them to see him as a man with both strengths and flaws. He was also encouraged by friends to write his entertaining stories which impart information and inspiration. It his hope that by putting them into print others will gain the benefit of his experience.
After graduating from high school Robert took a job at one of the Edison factories in West Orange, New Jersey. He was impressed by the heroic war stories told by two co-workers, veterans of WWII, and enlisted in the army in 1951 eager to service in Korea. During his basic training he applied and was accepted for Officer Candidate School prior to being sent to active duty in the Korean War.
Gerard records detailed accounts of his army career assignments and his observations into the leadership styles of many of his superiors and fellow officers. I personally enjoyed Robert’s the subtle way he injected humor in telling of his diverse experiences, relationships and events. I found his forthright observations on business management and philosophies of classroom strategies and educational goals to be noteworthy and vital.
Gerard’s career journey includes 31 years of service in the U. S. Army, several post-retirement jobs with the state, the federal government, a civilian corporation, and as a professor at Mount Saint Mary’s College on Catoctin Mountain. In this final career adventure Robert found fulfillment as teacher, mentor, and advisor to his students.
A quiet sincere tribute to his wife and family characterize the narrative as Robert writes of the importance of his wife Mary Lee to his success. His children, his marriage, and his career all have a part in this journey. The pride he has for the individual members of his family bear evidence of their love and respect. The careers they chose and an ongoing pursuit of their parent’s faith are testimonies that justify this family pride.
I highly recommend “The Road to Catoctin Mountain” to retired and career servicemen in any branch of the United States Military and their families, to World War II, Korean and Viet Nam veterans, and to all patriotic American citizens. This was an enjoyable reading experience.
As Reviewed for Midwest Book Review