MIRAMAR BEACH — “The Great War Through a Doughboy’s Eyes” was released on March 23 and chronicles the service of Cpl. Howard P. Claypoole as told through the lens of his grandson and Miramar Beach resident Gregory S. Valloch.
Claypoole served in the U.S. Army during World War I and was awarded a Purple Heart posthumously. Like his grandfather, Col. Gregory S. Valloch is an Army veteran who honorably served during the Gulf War.
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Since then, Valloch has owned the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop at The Market Shops at Sandestin since 2016 and has been named as the Best Dessert by the readers of VIP Destin Magazine in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022. He is a member of the Destin and Walton Area Chambers of Commerce as well as the American Legion Post 96.
Valloch credits his grandfather’s bravery and conviction as the source of his motivation to earn a commission in the Army. When Valloch came across his grandfather’s wartime diaries, correspondence and artifacts, he saw that it was only fitting he share his grandfather’s legacy with the world.
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In “The Great War Through a Doughboy’s Eyes,” Valloch offers a unique account of his grandfather’s service during WWI, illustrating the hardships of soldiers at war. Using his grandfather’s diary entries, postcards, letters, wound order, newspaper clippings, military history and discharge papers, Valloch tells the story of a man with an unwavering allegiance to his country and a will to survive.
Cpl. Claypoole’s journey is brought to life through photographs of wartime memorabilia, including playing cards, pictures, dice, dog tags, medals, bayonets, coins, his rifle sling covered with unit crests, his Purple Heart and his WWI Victory Medal and campaign clasps.
“This is the story of one man who fought in the Great War, came home, got married and had a successful life,” Valloch said. “But he also found friendship and life lessons forged in battle that stayed with him until the very end. And that is what I want to relate.”
“The Great War Through a Doughboy’s Eyes” is available for purchase online at Amazon.com.
Valloch was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army and as an armor officer upon graduating from Norwich University as a Distinguished Military Graduate. He served in the Tiger Brigade (1st Brigade, Second Armored Division) during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He left active duty and joined the Army Reserve, where he served as an operations officer, plans officer, and then spent a year deployed to Al Udeid Airbase in Qatar as the plans division chief in the 2nd Battlefield Coordination Detachment.
He commanded the 1st Battalion 411th Regiment Logistics Support Battalion. (LSB). He was selected for colonel and served until his retirement in 2013 as the deputy commander of the USAR Consequence Management Unit located in Abingdon, Maryland.
When he’s not scooping ice cream at Ben and Jerry's, his hobbies include golf, coin collecting and spending time with his golden retrievers Jeb and Shelby. He is married with two grown children.
This article originally appeared on Northwest Florida Daily News: Miramar Beach veteran Gregory Valloch honors grandpa in new book