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Oxford war veteran releases seventh book

When local author and veteran Gene Hays started doing research for a freelance article in the Medal of Honor Magazine, he quickly realized there was too much history to cram into a 3,000-word article and decided his seventh book would be one to honor those veterans who gave so much so the United States could have so much.

Hays, a retired Marine Corps Master Sergeant is a longtime Oxford resident and Vietnam War veteran. He is the author of seven books — two about his Vietnam experience, an autobiography, two short historical fiction stories, co-author of a biography of his former pastor in West Texas and his newest book, Medals of Honor.

Hays was hired to do the article for PMG Publishing’s, “Medal of Honor Magazine,” by Donna Lyons, who currently runs the blog talk show, “Love, Liberty & Lipstick.”

“She suggested that I write my own book about the Medal of Honor,” Hays said.

Earlier this month, Hays was reunited with Lyons for an hour-long interview on her blog radio talk show where he spoke about his new book and his own experiences while in the Vietnam War.

The book showcases more than 50 recipients of the military’s highest honor from the Civil War through the Afghanistan Wars, including Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, from the Civil War and the first and only woman to awarded the Medal of Honor. She was captured and imprisoned by the Confederate Army for several months, and Civil War Union Sgt. William H. Carney, the first African-American to be given the medal. A movie, “Glory” was made in 1989 about Carney’s bravery. He was portrayed by Denzel Washington.

Other recipients in the book include Desmond Doss, a U.S. Army Corporal who served as a combat medic in World War II. He was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor. Last year, Mel Gibson directed the feature film, “Hacksaw Ridge,” based on Doss’ heroic acts of saving more than 70 U.S. Soldiers without ever yielding a weapon.

Hays also includes the story he wrote about World War I Aviation Ace Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker for the “Medal of Honor Magazine.”

Also included in the book are several recipients of the second highest awards for each branch of the military.

During Hays’ own military service and defense contracting, he has traveled throughout Southeast Asia, Western Europe and the Middle East.

“Medals of Honor.” was released in July. All of his books are self-published through Amazon’s CreateSpace self-publishing assistance program.

He is currently working on another freelance article for PMG’s “History of the Navy Seabees,” which he says will eventually become his eighth book on the full history of the Seabees.

“I may also do a second addition to the “Medals of Honor,” he said.

“Medals of Honor,” and all of Hays’ books are available on Amazon in hard copy for $15 and on Kindle for $12; however, those who would like an autographed copy can email Hays at GeneHaysAuthor.com.

“I’ll sign the book and personally mail it out,” he said.