Leslie F. “Buzz” Harcus, author of China Marine: Tsingtao Treasure
The book harks back to a time when United States Marines were stationed in North China at the end of World War II. The battle tested Marines had been poised for the invasion of Japan in 1945, but with the surrender of Japan following the dropping of two atomic bombs, the Marines were re-directed to China in October, 1945, to accept the surrender of thousands of Japanese soldiers, and to repatriate them, along with 300,000 Japanese civilians, back to Japan. The Marines also acted as a buffer between the warring Chinese Nationalists forces and Chinese Communist forces.
Harcus embellished an incident that had happened in Tsingtao, where he was stationed during 1947-1948, and developed it into a novel. The premise of the novel is having a former Marine return to China to recover black market money hidden in the old barracks thirty years after the Marines were forced out of China by the new Chinese Communist regime The United States Marines, as well as all foreign nations, were forced out of China in 1949. The story line of the book begins in 1979 — 30 years after the Marines were kicked out of China, and co-incidentally, the United States government was making important inroads into opening trade between the United States and China at that time.
After service in the United States Marine Corps, Harcus went on to study at Michigan State University where he honed his writing skills while earning a BA and MA degree. He became a director and producer of educational television at MSU before moving into the field of public relations. He was responsible for creating, writing and editing several newsletters, as well as publishing a seniors newspaper. His career has been primarily in media relations and promotion. Lastly, before retirement, he worked as Director of Health Education for the Saginaw County Department of Public Health
Buzz met and married Barbara A. Blackford in 1950 while they were attending Michigan State University. They have two children, David and Renee, and three grand children.
In 1990 Buzz and Barb retired to northern Michigan where he enjoys writing, playing his banjo with the Happy Time Banjos of Traverse City, and currently serving as editor of the newsletter, Scuttlebutt, for the non-profit Maritime Heritage Alliance of Traverse City. He also serves as crew member aboard the 1845 replica Schooner, Madeline, sailing the Great Lakes during the summer.