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Book talk by local author to explore unique military stories

Local author and 30-year military veteran Paul Mitura is pictured standing in front of a tank.

Did you know Jimmy Carter was awarded a World War II Victory Medal even though he never participated in the war? Did you know that during the Second World War, men up to the age of 65 were required to enlist? Did you know Clark Gable, the biggest name in Hollywood during the 1940s, gave up his acting career to become an Army officer?

These are the nuggets of history that often get lost in the larger narrative that usually focuses on dates, events and names, particularly in the case of military history.

“But that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to it,” says Paul Mitura, local author from Utica who now resides in Liverpool, and an Army officer with over 30 years of service experience including a stint in South Korea. “Army officers are people. And just like people, they have stories. For that matter, even objects have stories—particularly when you look at wartime history.”

The title of his book, The Best Worst Tank and The Ship That Wasn’t, reflects this. There is a reason why that particular chapter is called the “Best Worst Tank,” instead of the more mundane “Worst Tank.”

“That’s explained in the book,” he says. “But I will elaborate upon it in my talk. I can tell you this though that the qualifier ‘best’ refers to the backstory of the tank while the ‘worst’ bit has to do with what it ultimately ended up being.”

To get the scoop on this story and other unique military tidbits, come to Mitura’s book talk on The Best Worst Tank and The Ship That Wasn’t. It will be held on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 1 p.m. at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse, 5655 Thompson Rd., DeWitt. Light refreshments will be served and copies of the book will be available to purchase. For more information, contact the JCC at 315-445-2360 or