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VIRTUAL AUTHOR READING: 40 Thieves on Saipan with Joseph Tachovsky and Cynthia Kraack

September 27, 2020 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

In honor of Gold Star Mother’s Day


and sharing the stories of Gold Star Mothers and Families


Write On, Door County will recognize National Gold Star Mother’s Day with the authors of 40 Thieves on Saipan, Joseph Tachovsky and Cynthia Kraack. Please join us as we discuss the book and hear from parents who have lost a child in service to the United States. To deepen appreciation for those who didn’t come home, Write On invites Gold Star Mothers and Fathers to send us a story about their child to be shared during the Zoom program. Please email up to four paragraphs you are willing to share to Write On’s Artistic Director Jerod Santek. You may send your story in the body of the email or as a word document attachment. Please use the Subject Line Gold Star Mothers.


An elite platoon of Marine Scout-Snipers, Lieutenant Frank Tachovsky’s “40 Thieves” were chosen for their willingness to defy rules and beat all-comers. When two Marines got into a fight, the loser ended up in the infirmary, the winner in the brig. Tachovsky wanted the winner on his team—a brush with military law was a recommendation.

These full-blooded men were trained in a ruthless array of hand-to-hand killing techniques and then thrown into the battle for Saipan—Emperor Hirohito’s “Treasure” and the bulwark of the Japanese Empire in the Pacific—where they would wreak havoc in and around, but mostly behind, enemy lines. They witnessed inhuman atrocities; walked into an ambush after the Japanese used wounded Marines as bait; endured body-punishing extremes of heat, hunger, and thirst; fought a relentless enemy who would not surrender; and watched best friends die.

Now Tachovsky’s son, Joseph, tells their remarkable story—a story he didn’t even know until after his father’s death—reported from an extensive documentary record, including priceless mementos his father kept, and from exhaustive interviews with survivors who served under Lieutenant “Ski.”


This reading is presented on a give-what-you-can basis. Donations will be shared evenly between Write On and Gold Star Mothers of Wisconsin. To register online for this program, please click here. You will be sent a link to join the discussion by Zoom 2 to 3 days prior to the event. For other registration options, please call 920.868.1457.


Joseph Tachovsky is an author and son of WWII Lieutenant Frank Tachovsky (“Ski”), whose new book 40 Thieves on Saipan: The Elite Marine Scout-Snipers in One of WWII’s Bloodiest Battles documents many stories, photographs, letters and memories of the 40 brave men in his father’s undercover platoon. Known as the “40 Thieves” for their covert Special Operations, these American war heroes took great risks and contributed to VJ Day (Victory over Japan Day). After his father passed away in 2011 at age 96, Joseph opened the “off limits” footlocker in the family garage and has dedicated the past decade to uncovering the stories of these American Heroes. As a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Joseph is a successful Minneapolis-based restaurant consultant (Chez Bananas).


Cynthia Kraack is an award-winning fiction writer, who partnered with co-author Joseph Tachovsky to write the story of his father’s WWII War Hero Platoon. Kraack holds a B.A. in Journalism and History from Marquette University, a Master’s degree from the University of Minnesota and an M.F.A. from the University of Southern Maine. She is the author of several novels, including The High Cost of Flowers and Minnesota Cold. Find out more about Cynthia on her website.


September 27, 2020
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
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