When did you first start writing?
World War II had just ended and I was an 18-year-old PFC in Company K of the 357th Infantry bivouacked in an SS barracks. “I see in your file,” Captain Ingraham said, “that you’ve had two years of college. The Krauts left a mimeograph machine here when they took off. Write us a newspaper.” A half-dozen interviews and days later, the first copies of “The Rifleman” came hot off the mimeograph and I thought, “I’m a writer. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
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Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I was a bazooka-toting18-year-old PFC with Company K of the 357th Infantry when WW2 ended for us at a former SS barracks in Germany. Our captain thought a company newspaper would be a good idea, noticed in our files that I’d had two years of college, and ordered, “Write me a newspaper.” There was an abandoned mimeo machine there, so I did, and The Co. K Rifleman was born. So was the thrill of seeing my words in print. I thought, “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”