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March 2, 2021

Veteran author recalls Gonzales soldier in new book

'The Gunner and the Grunt' remembers Robert Warner

GONZALES — Among the new books that have come into the library system this year was a copy of “The Gunner and the Grunt” by Michael Kelley and Peter Burbank, which arrived at the Gonzales Library in October.

The book tells the story of two Boston boys who served in the Vietnam War, but it has a direct tie to someone from Gonzales.

Kelley made mention of his friend in the Army, Robert “Tommy” Warner of Elko Street, in the book. Warner returned to Gonzales after his time in Vietnam, but he died soon after in a crop duster crash offshore of Pebble Beach in 1967, at the age of 21.

The book reflects on wartime memories while in the airmobile cavalry, part of which Kelley said was alongside his comrade, Warner, after they met at Fort Rucker, Ala.

Of the book’s 15 chapters, Warner is mentioned in the third and fourth chapters.

Kelley referred to Warner as a “highly decorated combat veteran” who was a “helicopter gunship door gunner crew chief.”

Gonzales Librarian Christopher Gallegos said the book was immediately checked out by a person from Marina who heard about it.

When not checked out to a reader, Gallegos said the book should be available for Gonzales readers on the shelf. He said if the book turns out to be popular, he is considering ordering an additional copy.

Kelley, who now lives in Tewksbury, Mass., donated the library’s copy in memory of Warner.

Those who wish to obtain a copy of the book can contact Kelley at [email protected] or by calling 978-851-3792.

Sean Roney
Sean Roney
Sean Roney is the reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers education, government and general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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