One of my quirks, if you will, in writing historical fiction is using names of real people in my books. In the midst of preparing for a presentation called Semper Fido (happened yesterday at the Washington State History Museum, btw), I had the dog handlers of the Marines’ War Dog Unit on my mind. Especially Pfc. Marvin Corff. I never met Mr. Corff — he was only a name to me, a name that sounded true and real and so I “borrowed” it for Duke’s handler in my novel by the same name.
Stories spin marvelous webs and this particular story caught the eye of Mr. Corff’s daughter who emailed me about her dad after it was published. We had hoped to chat further but that was not to be. However, she shared enough to let me know that, because of his wartime experience with dogs, when he got out of the service, Marvin Corff used his GI Bill money to study to be a veterinarian. I thought that was a lovely and hopeful coda to the sad events that comprised the Battle of Guam.