“I was on an aircraft carrier, the USS Sicily and we had the famous Black Sheep Squadron aboard with us. ... I went over there three times, so a total of 17 months in the Korean War,” said Dalton, who served as a radar man in the U.S. Navy, traveling 429,616 miles over the course of 23,664 hours onboard the USS Sicily. “We were the first ship to leave the United States when the North Koreans came into South Korea. We left the states July 4, 1950. ... Then of course, [the book is] not just about my experience in the Navy. I’ve [also] got stories [about] some ... people here in Cartersville.
“Percy Bray was a good friend of mine. He was an attorney and he was the chairman of the Democratic Committee. So we had long discussions and we used to meet at Champion’s Drug Store and that’s where all of the, I guess, influential people of this time would congregate. There were lawyers, judges.”
During his stint with the Bartow Herald, Dalton wrote a feature story on the Etowah Indian Mounds, which led to him becoming friends with its curator, Henry Tumlin.
In his book, Dalton writes, “Because of my interest in the historic village and my friendship with Mr. Tumlin I was given the honor of escorting world-renown anthropologist Margaret Mead through the famous site. ... She was awed by the wide vista that stretched out beneath us and commented, ‘You wonder if they built this mound for the fabulous view.’ She went on to boast of the Cherokee’s intellect. She bragged about their farming skills: raising corn and beans, making fish hooks from animal bones, fashioning weapons and pottery skills.
“Challenging the claims made by one of the foremost authorities on the history of man, I irreverently asked, ‘If they were so smart why didn’t they come up with the wheel?’ She was more than ready to answer a brash young man’s juvenile question and proclaimed immediately, ‘They had no domesticated beast of burden, so there was no connection to the need for a wheel.’”
Along with the Bartow Herald, Dalton edited five other Georgia newspapers, winning the Georgia Press Association’s General Excellence Award for best weekly newspaper for the Douglas County Sentinel in the late 1960s.
For Dalton’s son, Clay Dalton, who is a native of Cartersville, reading “Excitement!! In War and Peace” has been a delight.
“It was fantastic because it’s a number of stories that I’ve heard over the years that he’s now compiled into this memoir, if you will,” Clay Dalton said. “It’s hard to put down once you get started with it and there’s so many fascinating stories about the war and his travels ... in addition to some other funnies that are in there.
“... Since he’s from south Georgia, he tells the [story] about how his car wouldn’t crank one time and Jimmy Carter happened to pull into the parking lot and drove him and his date home. That was back when he made the comment that Jimmy didn’t know he would be president and my dad didn’t know he would be an award winning-journalist.”
Currently residing in Waleska, Dalton, 85, will be signing copies of his book Monday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at Yawn’s Books, 198 North St., Canton.
Recently published by Yawn’s Publishing, the 210-page book retails for $16.99. “Excitement!! In War and Peace” can be purchased at www.yawnspublishing.com and www.amazon.com.