Editor’s note: Welcome to Chapter One of  Kevin Wilson’s book, Sully’s Squad, a WWII epic and moving coming-of-age tale, told through the eyes of a 15-year-old Arty, who lies about his age to enlist. The story is poignant and sensitive while describing battlefield deaths and the emotions that surround them along with the impact on the families back home.

***

In the dark of midnight, massive guns fire simultaneously on the Sicilian shore. For a  split second after each explosion, yellow and orange light reveals the deck of our boat, flashing glimpses of hundreds of soldiers as we wait in anticipation.  

The next blast is closer, louder. It doesn’t just light up the deck. It flings me on my side like I’m one of the tin soldiers I used to play with as a kid. As I roll, I can see Coney on his knees, searching for his helmet.