WW II novel 'From Here to Eternity' is more than a war story for Grand Strand man

The book is based on Jones' time serving at Schofield Barracks. (Source: WMBF News)
The book is based on Jones' time serving at Schofield Barracks. (Source: WMBF News)

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - In 1951, author and World War II veteran James Jones wrote the novel, From Here to Eternity.

The book focuses on several members of the U.S. Army stationed in Hawaii, months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was later turned into an Academy Award-winning film starring Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr.

Today, the son of one soldier who served beside Jones lives in Surfside Beach.

Frank Marshall's father, Frank Marshall Sr., served alongside Jones at Schofield Barracks in 1941.

The book and movie is based on Jones' unit and their experiences. Most of the characters are real soldiers, including Marshall's father, nicknamed "Friday."

Marshall and a World War II historian are now going through his father's collection, bringing history back to life.

With nearly 70 years of history, which include World War II love letters and original pictures of the 27th Infantry at Schofield Barracks, these boxes are a treasure for historian Paul Maggioni.

Since 2000, Maggioni has traveled the country interviewing World War II veterans and their families for a book he plans to write.

His passion for history started as a kid after reading one of Jones' war novels.

"A lot of the things he wrote in The Thin Red Line were real things that happened," said Maggioni.

For Marshall, the characters were more than fiction; these were his father's fellow soldiers.

"I would hear it all the time," said Marshall.

Marshall and Maggioni now hope to keep these soldiers' legacies alive by sharing their story for years to come.

"He had a very interesting and fulfilled life; he enjoyed it," said Marshall.

"These people are not around anymore to share their stories, but in fact they are. You read their letters and look at the photographs; it's almost as good as talking to them," said Maggioni.

Franks Marshall Sr. passed away in 2008 after living most of his life in Philadelphia as a truck driver a musician.

His son hopes to preserve his father's collection through a museum.

Copyright 2018 WMBF News. All rights reserved.