Review by Claudia Pemberton for the Military Writers Society of America
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It's not often that a reader is privy to the intimate writings of an individual's diary and/or personal letters, but on the rare occasion that they are, it can make for a reading experience like none other. Such is the case of Dear Sergeant Honey.
Unlike an autobiography, this compilation of diary entries and letters offers a glimpse into a past that is neither embellished nor retold by way of an imperfect memory. It is told in perfect recollection on a day by day basis.
Dear Sergeant Honey is an impressive and rare collection of a personal account of World War II as told by a woman who actually lived it. Staff Sergeant Hildegarde Molnar, a member of the Women's Army Corps during World War II brings us along on her distinguished and unique military (and personal) journey from basic training in February, 1943, to her return home in September of 1945, with stops everywhere in between.
While stationed in England, Hildegarde meets her husband to be, Staff Sergeant Grandon Scott. Grandon was also serving in the Air Force at the time. Since both of them were ranked as sergeants, they would begin their letters to one another with the greeting, "Dear Sergeant Honey." Their catchy salutation now serves as the perfect title for Hildegarde's memoir.
Hildegarde was one of an elite group of women soldiers who was permitted to wear combat ribbons for her involvement in the war. Also for her "Meritorious service in direct support of military operations," Staff Sergeant Hildegarde Molnar was awared the prestigious Bronze Star Medal. After her passing in 2001 at the age of 86, her daughter, Ceil Stetson, discovered the treasury of letters and diary entries and compiled them for publication.
The book, although serious in context, has some humorous moments intermingled with the touching and somber recounting of a world war with intricate details as told from a rare perspective at the time. . a female soldier's perspective. WW II buffs will find Dear Sergeant Honey fascinating; historians will find it enlightening; women will find it empowering; and soldiers will find it authentic.