“Profound stories and a real eye-opener. Lots of heroism, grit, and ingenuity demonstrated by the prairie boys.

—Major General (ret) Michael J. Haugen, former Adjutant General of North Dakota


“Count me in as one who will buy the Prairie Boy books. Helm is doing the work of angels to capture this history, and it is a great tribute to the legacy of each man and generations of their descendants. It is important work to document the history of America’s heroes, and Helm tells these powerful stories with compelling insight. Each profile seems to expose the endurance and bravery forged on the plains. The soul of the prairie is, indeed, in the spirit of the men who fought to defend their love of their homeland.”

—Lt. Col. (ret) Shirley J. Olgeirson


Prairie Boys at War kept bringing a lump to my throat. The U.S. had only a few military “advisors” in Korea when the North invaded the South in June 1950, and the U.S. rushed ill-trained and ill-equipped American units from Japan to help the South keep a toehold on the peninsula. In this riveting narrative, Merry Helm sought out the fast-disappearing Midwest veterans of those frenetic days to record their words, to reconstruct their countless acts of sacrifice and heroism, their almost unbelievable suffering, and the horror of captivity experienced by many. Her vivid narrative of the first four months of America’s “Forgotten War,” supported by official citations, contemporary reporting, maps, photos, correspondence, and unit reports, is a remarkable achievement. Prairie Boys at War is both sad and uplifting, and I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s tribute to the Royal Air Force during the darkest days of World War II: ‘Never have so many owed so much to so few.’ Thanks to Helm, we can say the same about her prairie boys.”

—John Durand, author of The Boys: The 1st North Dakota Volunteers in the Philippines


“I very much enjoyed this book. It was an excellent recap of the first four months of the Korean War, and I especially enjoyed reading the different perspectives our Midwestern soldiers and airman had on this war. Very entertaining and enlightening.”

—Maj. Gen. (ret) Steve Doohen, former Adjutant General of South Dakota


“From Bunker Hill to Baghdad, the valor of America’s fighting forces has often been shrouded by the prolific prose of hyperbolic historians.  In Prairie Boys at War, however, author Merry Helm takes the compelling tack of subtly mitigating the treatment of the tactical in favor of underscoring the humanity and selflessness of young Midwesterners called to duty to often do the unthinkable, and in the process reminds readers—lest they should ever forget—that every battle helmet represents a beating heart.”

—Steve Stepanek, PhD, Georgia Southern University


“In a time when all most people know of Korea comes from “MASH” reruns, and when we pay lip service to honoring our soldiers, Merry Helm has done them the highest honor – she gives them a chance to tell their stories. And they are fascinating stories, told in vivid, propulsive prose that hooked me from the first page. Very well done. I’m green with envy.”

—Tom Pantera, Northwestern Oklahoma State University