HOMEBioFilm rights, Screenplays, Representation2021 Commentaries2020 CommentariesOLYMPIC AFFAIR: HITLER'S SIREN AND AMERICA'S HEROTHE WITCH'S SEASONThird Down and a War to GoHORNS, HOGS, AND NIXON COMING'77: DENVER, THE BRONCOS, AND A COMING OF AGEMarch 1939: Before the MadnessPLAYING PIANO IN A BROTHELSave By RoyThey Call Me "Mr. De": The Story of Columbine's Heart, Resilience and RecoveryA Selection of Terry Frei's writing about World War II heroesOlympic Affair Excerpt: Chapter 1, Leni's VisitOlympic Affair Excerpt: Chapter 15, Aren't You Thomas Wolfe?The Witch's Season: Screenplay opening pagesThe Witch's Season Excerpt:Air Force Game, Bitter Protest, a Single ShotThird Down and a War to Go: Screenplay opening pagesThird Down and a War to Go Excerpt: Ohio State vs. WisconsinThird Down and a War to Go genesis: Grateful for the Guard, Jerry FreiThird Down and a War to Go: A Marines' game on GuadalcanalDave Schreiner, Badger and MarineBob Baumann, Badger and MarineLt. Col. John Mosley, Aggie and Tuskegee AirmanHorns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming: Prologue and screenplay opening pagesHorns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming Excerpt: James Street: Wishbone WizardHorns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming Subplot: The day they stopped playing Dixie'77 Excerpt: AFC Title GameMarch 1939 Excerpt: First NCAA Title GameMarch 1939, Excerpt: The StartersPlaying Piano Excerpt: S.F. EarthquakeA Year with Nick Saban before he was Nick SabanTommy Lasorda and the Summer of '70Press CredentialsThe Sporting NewsDenver PostESPN.comThe OregonianGreeley TribuneKids' sports books: The ClassicsJon Hassler, Terry Kay and other favorite novelistsBig Bill Ficke's Big HeartBob Bell's Food For Thought

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Third Down and a War to Go

is a 2007 paperback 

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Third Down and a War to Go: The All-American 1942 Wisconsin Badgers is a 2004 hardback. It is sold out new and considered a collectable.    

 

 

 

 

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14 years after publication, Third Down and a War to Go still is in print and plugging along. 

 

Direct from publisher: WHS Press paperback

 

Amazon paperback and Kindle

 

Barnes and Noble paperback and Nook

 

 

 Screenplay opening pages

 For screen rights and screenplay inquiries, click here. 

 

 

 

"Terry Frei set out to learn more about his father. He wound up bringing to life a team, a cause and an era. Likewise, all that the young men of the 1942 Wisconsin Badgers set out to be was college students and football players. But circumstances called most of them to do something greater: Save the world. Impressively researched and reported and powerfully written, Third Down and a War To Go will put you in the huddle, in the front lines and in a state of profound gratitude -- not only to the Badgers and the hundreds of thousands of men like them, but to Terry Frei.”

--Neal Rubin, Detroit News and author of Gil Thorp

 

 

  From the book jacket/cover:

 

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When longtime University of Oregon coach Jerry Frei died in 2001, many of his former Ducks players attending his memorial services were astounded to learn that he had been a decorated P-38 fighter reconaissance pilot in World War II. He hadn't brought that up with his players, nor with those he worked with in his subsequent 30-year stint as an NFL assistant coach, scout and administrator. Like so many other veterans, he hadn’t talked much about the war with his children, either.

 

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Late in Jerry Frei’s life, his son, Terry, belatedly began asking more questions about the young pilot’s experiences. As the father and son talked, a frame of reference was the Wisconsin Badgers’ 1942 team picture plaque on Jerry Frei’s den wall. 

 

Sophomore backup guard Jerry Frei, then only 18, was in the fourth row, behind All-American end Dave Schreiner, bedrock tackle Bob Baumann, and star halfback Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch; and just in front of renowned fullback Pat "Hit 'em Again" Harder.

 

The elder Frei spoke of how the players on one of the greatest college football teams of all time went off to serve their country after their glorious season – and about how not all of them made it back.

 

After his father’s death, Terry Frei set out to learn more about the team and the men in that picture. What he learned left him forever changed.

 

On December 11, 1941, Schreiner wrote to his parents, “I’m not going to sit here snug as a bug, playing football, when others are giving their lives for their country. . . . If everyone tried to stay out of it, what a fine country we’d have!” Schreiner didn’t stay out of it. Neither did his teammates. 

 

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Mark Hoskins, Dave Schreiner, coach Harry Stuhldreher, Pat Harder and Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch after the Badgers' 17-7 victory over Ohio State that should have decided the national championship. It didn't.   

 

In the final-fling atmosphere common on college campuses as the first year of U.S. involvement in the war was winding down, Wisconsin climbed up the national rankings under the guidance of coach Harry Stuhldreher, the quarterback of Notre Dame’s famed “Four Horsemen.” Most Badgers had enlisted in various branches, were awaiting their callups, and knew that each game brought them closer to military service. 

 

Schreiner and the Badgers’ other co-captain, halfback Mark Hoskins, both came from tiny Lancaster, Wisconsin, and the long-time buddies and teammates both planned to become pilots. But Schreiner’s color blindness ruled him out as a pilot, and after he renounced a pre-medicine student deferment, the two-time All-American end became a Marine officer in the same company as teammate Bob Baumann. Hoskins became a B-17 bomber co-pilot. 

 

As the war raged on, the Badgers sailed through Harm’s Way, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, pushed the envelope as pilots, led units in the fierce island battles...and more. Through exhaustive research and interviews in 2002-03 with the remaining Badgers, their families, and combat comrades, Terry Frei told the story of this band of brothers. It is not a tale focusing only on a few stars. It is a saga of teammates answering the call and heroism throughout the roster. Stars and scrubs did what they were asked to do -- what had to be done -- in various services in both Europe and the Pacific. In particular, the climactic material about the "Great Escape" prison camp, plus the Battle of Okinawa and the role of several Badgers in it, has tugged at readers’ hearts.

 

Readers and reviewers agree: It's an All-American story.    

 

 

"Terry Frei has captured the spirit of a different time in this country, a time of faith in school and in country, a time of intense loyalty to teammate and fellow soldier. Third Down and a War to Go tells the story of one University of Wisconsin football team during World War II. But to limit the tale to that is like saying Angela's Ashes is about Ireland. This book brings to life, in shades of black and blue and blood red, the idea that certain things are worth fighting for."

-- Rick Morrissey, Chicago Tribune 

 

 

 

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Crazylegs Hirsch (40) about to break a 59-yard run against Ohio State, behind an imminent block from Pat Harder (34).

     

"Mythology is nice. Truth is better. The '42 Badgers were boys being boys. Good for them. Good for Terry Frei, who chose to write their story truly in his book, Third Down and a War to Go: The All-American 1942 Wisconsin Badgers.What a powerful piece of work the book is, a telling detail in the great portrait of America at war, young men and women who saw their duty and did it no matter how much it scared them." 

-- Dave Kindred, The Sporting News and author of Sound and Fury

 

 


 

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The Lancaster Boys: Dave Schreiner and Mark Hoskins were the '42 Badgers' co-captains.  

 


 "...a book that not only makes you keep reading, but makes you care...The last chapter in Frei's book, 'Lives and Deaths,' details what happened to everyone from that squad, and by the time you get there, you really want to know about them. It's that kind of book, relatively modest in intent but rich in fabric and execution."

--Dwight Chapin, San Francisco Chronicle  

 

 

 

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Top: Bob Baumann (74) and Dave Schreiner (80) in the team picture, taken on the first day of pre-season practices. Then Baumann is at left, Schreiner at right, as Marine lieutenants in the same company heading into the Battle of Okinawa.

 

 

 “Tirelessly researched and relentlessly touching. The true allegory of football and war, minus the cliches.”

--Jay Greenberg, New York Post 

 

 

 

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From the Pacific, Bob Baumann sent this picture to fiancee Arlene Bahr, with his handwritten

"caption" on the back. Dave Schreiner is at left, Baumann at right.  

 

 

 

“Many times you hear athletes called heroes, their deeds and accomplishments on the field or court are characterized as courageous. After reading Third Down and a War to Go, I am embarrassed to have ever been thought of as brave or courageous. Enjoy this adventure in history, life, and in courage and take it from a so-called ‘tough guy’...keep the hanky close by.”

--Dan Fouts, Hall of Fame quarterback and sportscaster 

 

 

 

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Left: Pulling back a bit in the later team color photo, clumped together are Jerry Frei (65), Crazylegs Hirsch (40), Bob Baumann (74), Dave Schreiner (80) and Mark Hoskins (11).

Right: With Harry Stuhldreher watching, Schreiner accepts the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as Big Ten's 1942 MVP.

 

 

 

"David Nathan Schreiner was far more distinguished off the field, a reality brought to life in the must-read book Third Down and a War to Go, by Terry Frei"

 -- Andy Baggot, Wisconsin State Journal  

 

 

 

Book excerpt: David Nathan Schreiner 

 

 

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Photos are of the Phi Delta Theta picture wallet Dave Schreiner was carrying on Okinawa. This was from Thanksgiving 1943 at the Schreiner home in Lancaster. Schreiner is with Odette Hendrickson, his fiancee; and with his family. His parents, Anne and Bert, are at right. The Schreiner family gave the wallet to Terry Frei. 

 

 

"Here’s a book written with love and passion . . . What began as a sports book comes to resemble something akin to 'Band of Brothers,' by the late Stephen Ambrose (who played for the Badgers more than a decade later). . . This is an inspiring book, full of fun and pathos and heroism."

 --Dave Wood, past vice-president of the National Book Critics Circle and former book review editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  

 

 

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Lancaster Boys and Badger co-captains: Marine Lt. Dave Schreiner and B-17 co-pilot Mark Hoskins. Hoskins was shot down on June 27, 1944.

 

 

"The drama, heroism and pathos of this book would make a great movie that would star two Grant County men -- Lancaster's Dave Schreiner and Mark Hoskins."

--Jon Angeli, Grant County Herald-Independent

  

 

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Bob Baumann sent this picture from the Pacific to Arlene Bahr. In return, she sent him a copy of the picture at right, showing her visiting the firehouse where Bob lived and received a free room. When they were at the firehouse, they were  tasked with or shutting the big doors after the engines departed and opening them again when appropriate. Other Badgers had the same deal at other Madison firehouses -- including Jerry Frei.         

 

 

Book excerpt: Bob Baumann

 

  

"With its members serving on all fronts, the 1942 Wisconsin Badgers become a microcosm of the American war effort, representatives of a remarkable generation of self-sacrificing Americans. . . . Through Hoskins and Schreiner, the cocaptains of the 1942 team, the author makes his most important point. Frei portrays the young men who played football at the University of Wisconsin in 1942 and later fought for their country as truly 'All-American' boys. Having embraced the opportunity to serve his country and risk the ultimate sacrifice, Dave Schreiner -- as both a star athlete and all-American on the football field as well as a man of impeccable character off it -- was the definitive symbol of this. Written with the passion of an inspired student, Third Down and a War to Go is fulfilling and powerful. It adds athletic perspective to our understanding of the 'Greatest Generation' as well as a window into their rural, midwestern lives and their roots as athletes, students, and friends."
-- Shane Butterfield, Michigan Historical Review 
 
 

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That's Jerry Frei in his P-38 on the last of his 67 missions. The F-5 version of the P-38 Lightning was unarmed, with cameras replacing the guns. The job was to fly in alone over enemy targets, or with one other plane, to take pictures in advance of the bombing runs. His unit, 20 pilots at full strength, lost eight men during his tour.

           

 

Grateful for the Guard: The story that started it all

 

“Terry Frei has done a superb job of researching and writing to bring us the true spirit and similarity of our military services, particularly the U.S. Marines, and college football. He vividly follows the nation’s number three ranked 1942 Wisconsin Badgers who so soon after their gridiron exploits lost life and limb fighting in the Pacific. Events of over sixty years ago seem to have been frozen in time by Frei—taking us back to the glory days of so many young Americans.”

—Bob Rennebohm, Wisconsin end (1942, 1946–47), Marine lieutenant (1943–45), and longtime head of the University of Wisconsin Foundation 

 

 

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Book excerpt: Massillon

(Paul Brown's Buckeyes vs. Harry Stuhldreher's Badgers.) 

 

 

"Of all the traits of the World War II generation, perhaps the most impressive some 60 years later is the ability to make do, no matter the circumstances, and with little ceremony at that. That theme echoes throughout author Terry Frei's thoroughly researched and ardently objective book, a chronicle of the 1942 Badgers' rapid transition from carefree college clashes against Notre Dame and Minnesota to battling Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. . . The first half of the book establishes the principal characters and the 'swell' atmosphere of the day, to borrow some period terminology, while detailing an 8-1-1 season in which the Badgers were deemed mythical national champions by the Helms Foundation. With the war heightening, the majority of the players were sent overseas to fight on the front lines, and Frei follows them relentlessly in the book's second half, focusing mainly on (Dave) Schreiner and (Mark) Hoskins. It's a logical choice, given their long friendship, their disparate assignments and Schreiner's status as an All-American . . . Either half of the book would have stood alone, but together they do supreme justice to a group all too soon gone, all too easily forgotten." 
--Adam Mertz, The Capital Times, Madison
 
 

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Badgers Dave Schreiner, Bob Baumann and Bud Seelinger were among the Marines, many of them former college stars and even pros, who played in the 4th Regiment vs. 29th Regiment "touch" Football Classic on Guadalcanal on Christmas Eve, 1944. Above, Schreiner shakes hands with former Illinois and Purdue star Tony Butkovich before the game. At center, tentmates and Football Classic players George Murphy of Notre Dame, Dave Mears of Boston University, and Walter "Bus" Bergman of Denver North High and Colorado A&M (State). Terry Frei utilized his research on the game -- which also came to be called the "Mosquito Bowl" -- and the men in it for several pieces, including for The Denver Post (Nov. 2, 2003) and ESPN.com, plus Third Down and a War to Go.  


Here's Frei's web site version, with more background: 

Marines' Football Classic

 

 "While Schreiner's is among the most compelling, the stories of these young men and their efforts and the battlefield recall a different era. . . These Badgers did their job as teammates on the gridiron, and they headed off together to fight the Germans and Japanese, united in their purpose and with a grateful nation behind them."

-- Scott Angus, editor, Janesville Gazette, son of team manager Robert Angus 
 
 

  

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Terry Frei's writing on additional Badgers and World War II heroes

 

 

 "I’ve already mapped out one of the first trips I intend to make when I get back to Wisconsin. I’m going to drive the highways winding through the beautiful rolling hills southwest of Madison to pay my respects to Had Hoskins and Dave Schreiner, the Touchdown Twins, who are buried at Lancaster’s Hillside Cemetery, side by side." 
                                                 -- From the foreword by David Maraniss

"Great job. So good that I was brought to tears. So good that I almost need to visit the cemetery in Lancaster, Wis., and say 'thanks' to Dave Schreiner and Mark Hoskins."
--Randy Jesick, journalism professor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
 

 

“This is a story of the highest degree, one that will leave the reader at various times laughing, mournful, amazed, and inspired. Third Down and a War to Go is much more than just a football story. It is much more than just a war story. It is a story about us.”
—Doug Warren, Badgernation.com 
 

Below: A random selection of photos related to Third Down and a Go 




 

       
 

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Bob Baumann's Bronze Star  

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Elroy became "Crazylegs" Hirsch during the '42 season 

 
 

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Little-known fact: Here's Crazylgs Hirsch running in 1943 ... for Michigan. A handful of '42 Badgers played for the Wolverines while in Marine V12 training on the Ann Arbor campus. 

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'42 Badger Otto Breitenbach became a pilot, then later was a renowned high school coach in Madison, UW's assistant athletic director and commissioner of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.   

 
 

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In the Camp Randall Stadium plaza. 

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Terry Frei holding the '40s sign among as few '42 Badgers at a Camp Randall Legacy game. The three man at right are '42 Badgers Otto Breitenbach, Erv Kissling and John Gallagher. Kissling fought and was wounded in the battle for a bridge at Remagen. 

 
 

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Judy Corfield, Dave Schreiner's niece, at a 2006 Badgers game. She's with AD Barry Alvarez and wearing Schreiner's letter sweater, watching... 

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.. Dave's name and number unvelied on the Camp Randall upper-deck facade. 

 
 

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Borders Books in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Terry Frei is at right, joining '42 Badgers and Eau Claire residents Don Litchfield (B-17 pilot), Dave Donnellan (Bronze Star, Battle of the Bulge), and John Gallagher (Marine).  At this presentation, Donnellan's granddaughter asked him if he ever was scared, and he answered, "Every single day."

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Dave Donnellan before his heroics in the Battle of the Bulge. 

 
 

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The Badgers closed out the season with a 20-6 win over rival Minnesota. The $2.75 cost is roughly $45 in 2021 dollars.  

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Where many of the '42 Badgers worked -- Toby and Moon on State Street.

 
 

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The '42 Badgers beat Henry "Hank" Stram and the Purdue Boilermakers 13-0 in Lafayette.

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How far we've come: Note the policy on women in the press box.   

 
 

 

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Next three photos: One of Terrry Frei's promotional tours on behalf of the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. To Green Bay, Milwaukee and Madison.

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A presentation and visit by Terry Frei in Lancaster, Dave Schreiner and Mark Hoskins' hometown.

 
 

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At Legacy Game: '42 Badgers Dick Thornally (Marine), Erv Kissling and John Roberts (pilot).  

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Book kickoff reception, Madison 2004. Terry Frei (second from left) with '42 Badgers Fred Negus, Otto Breitenbach and Bob Rennebohm.  

 
 

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1, Terry Frei at the former firehouse near Camp Randall Stadium where Jerry Frei and fellow sophomore Badger guard Ken Currier lived in the 1942 season. It is designated a historical site and has been converted to funky condominiums.   

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2, Ken Currier, a pilot instructor during the war, also returned to the Badgers. Here, he's on the practice field in '46 or '47 with his young son, Charles -- who played for the Badgers in the late 1960s.

 
 

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3, Post-war, Jerry Frei and Ken Currier -- known to their teammates as "Toughie" and "Roughie," respectively -- looked a decade older than they had during that 1942 season.  

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4, When Terry Frei was a keynote speaker at the World War II Glider Conference in Madison, he was joined by Beloit resident Charles Currier, Ken Currier's son. After meeting in Madison, the fathers were lifelong friends.   

 
 

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In Madison: Terry Frei with Third Down and a War to Go's editor, Kate Thompson of the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.  

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Speaking at the Wisconsin Historical Society 

 
 

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Terry Frei made many booksigning appearances around Wisconsin for Third Down and a War to Go. This one is in Beloit.  

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At book kickoff in Madison: Charles Currier, Terry Frei, former Wisconsin star and athletic director Pat Richter, Wisconsin Historical Society director Ellsworth Brown.   

 
 

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Before an appearance in Madison, Terry Frei with '42 Badgers' widows: Mary Alice Negus, Ruth Hirsch and Jean Ronnebohm. Three of their four husbands are ...  

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... shown here, at Marine basic training at Parris Island. '42 Badgers Hank Olshanski, Bob Rennebohm, Fred Negus and Elroy Hirsch were in the V12 training program. In their case, that included training and study on the Michigan campus, and they were among those held back to be deployed in later waves. . . most notably, if an invasion of Japan was necessary.   

 
 

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Marine Pat Harder went on to the NFL, both as a fullback and an umpire on Jim Tunney's crew.  
 

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Dave Schreiner is saluted at a 1955 Badgers' game. Mark Hoskins, left, is with Anne Schreiner, who is looking at the plaque honoring Dave for his selection in the College Football Hall of Fame. UW Chancellor Edwin Fred is at right.     

 
 

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'42 Badgers tackle Paul Hirsbrunner pretends to fire a rifle -- something he knew he wouldn't have to do again in combat due to the shrapnel wounds he suffered on Saipan. Note the bandages and missing finger on his right hand.  

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In the summer of '42, the rivals worked together as counselors at a summer camp. That's Dave Schreiner with two Minnesota Gophers stars -- Bill Daley, center, and Dick Wildung.