BETHANY, Oklahoma - An Oklahoma author pays tribute to the greatest generation through his new book.  

Turns out the lessons of World War II described in the fictional novel “Mustang” are being taught by modern day military members. Author John Dwyer describes the pain of war through a young Oklahoma pilot who would become one of the country’s greatest flying aces.

Dwyer also dives deeper than glorious battle victories.

“What war and losing friends and terror and fear does to the human soul,” says Dwyer about his latest novel, which was released at the end of May.

The history professor sees the pain of war in some of his students at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany.

More than 20% of the student population are active or retired military members. Three years ago, SNU was one of 13 schools nationwide to open a Veterans Center through a federal grant.

“A veteran can walk in off the streets and have no idea how to use their benefits,” says Professor Bart Ermeling.

Ermeling served several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s now the assistant director of the SNU Veterans Center and helps guide students academically and emotionally.

“If they have issues or they are dealing with something, they know they can sit with me and just talk and peel back the onion and figure out what’s going on,” says Ermeling.

Dwyer says interactions with current and newly retired military members influenced “Mustang” and helped him learn about soldiers from seven decades ago.

“It was a shocking eye opener, that goes beyond the magazine headlines of what these guys went through,” says Dwyer.