WILLIAMSBURG — Williamsburg resident and retired U.S. Air Force pilot Charles Ullestad published a book in May sharing the story of his life in a family of service members.
“The reason I started this was because I always thought my grandfather’s and father’s stories were worth telling,” Ullestad said. “I wrote this as a family legacy.”
Ullestad’s story begins with his grandfather Elmer’s diary of his time during World War I. A young man from Iowa serving as a soldier in the trenches and forests of France in 1918, he fought at Belleau Wood and the Argonne Forrest, surviving while others around him fell.
The family story continues with Ullestad’s father, Harold, who served in the Navy during World War II. His diary are his accounts of what it was like for a young man going off to war in 1942 after Pearl Harbor.
This leads to Ullestad himself, who spent 24 years in the Air Force during the Cold War and in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.
“I just thought I would put all three first-hand accounts into one family story,” Ullestad explained. “My wife and kids always said things like ‘you’re a war hero, you should write a book’ and I thought well my grandfather’s and father’s stories are just as important. So I wrote them down so people could see them.”
“I want people who aren’t familiar with the military to get a look at what families go through,” Ullestad added.
Currently, the book is available for purchase on Amazon only, but Ullestad is hopeful to increase distribution and availability of the book in the future.