Hierholzer's last day chronicled by author

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A book has been published telling about the last day of Sgt. David Hierholzer, the Marshall County man who died in Afghanistan.

The book, "Shudergay," pronounced Shoe-duh-gay and named for the town where Hierholzer died, presents "an example of heroism that lives up admirably to the courageous standards of the 10th Mountain Division," according to Internet publicity for the book by James F. Christ.

Hierholzer, a 1998 graduate of Marshall County High School, was out front among other soldiers on patrol on July 24, 2006, when he was killed in combat. His unit was ambushed and he returned fire until he was mortally wounded.

He was 27.

His mother, Christine, lives at Belfast. His father, David, lives in Murfreesboro. The fallen soldier's sister, Dawn Ford, lives on Midway Drive.

The book is printed by a publisher readily found on the Web at lulu.com where the story line is described thusly: "A small element of U.S. Soldiers (C/1/32 10th Mountain Division) is ambushed by fighters of the most wanted insurgent commander in the Pech Valley. Badly outnumbered, vastly outgunned, taking fire from multiple angles and enemy positions, the soldiers are saved by the heroism of Sergeant David Michael Hierholzer, who, alone and separated, single handedly holds off the enemy and gives his life to save his pinned down element from being overrun."

The author called Christine Hierholzer asking if she'd heard about it. She called back and he sent her a copy.

"I didn't know anything about it," she said recently. "It's been out for about a year."

Reading the book "is hard," Christine Hierholzer said. "It's bittersweet for me to read it. To me, it was very emotional, as a mother. There were some stories in there that I laughed at; stories that they told on him.

When she spoke with the author, "We talked about the book; what it was about. We didn't really have an in-depth conversation."

Her son never left Lewisburg until he joined the Army. He served a tour in Iraq before volunteering for a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

His father found out about the book early last week.

"I know a lot of David's friends and know they'd like to know about him," the soldier's father said.

"He's got other books," the Murfreesboro resident said of the author, James F. Christ, whose last name is pronounces as if it were the first name Chris.

"I think he's spoken with all of the people who were there" when Sgt. Hierholzer died. "The story starts with the morning they left the base. He spoke with a captain who was then a lieutenant."

Christ lives in Phoenix, Ariz., where he's a boxing instructor. He names his Afghanistan combat books after the towns where the battle was fought.