Wednesday, July 25, 2007

General John A. Lejeune, USMC
One of the greatest of all Leathernecks

The man most responsible for initiating that doctrinal innovation and sustaining a measure of intellectual rigor in the service was General Lejeune, the 13th commandant of the Marine Corps.

Although Lejeune grew up poor in post–Civil War Louisiana, he retained happy childhood memories of gathering honey and hunting small game with his dad. In 1881 Lejeune became a military cadet at Louisiana State University. Three years later, he entered the US Naval Academy, Class of 1888. Following graduation, his mandatory cruise, and another set of rigorous exams, Lejeune found that he “nurtured a growing dislike for life at sea and the Navy in particular. So he fought hard, showing shrewd political skills that he would employ throughout his career, to secure a commission in the Marine Corps. This was a career decision newly opened to his year group, but it was highly unusual by Navy standards. Lejeune personally made his case to the Bureau of Navigation chief, who ultimately allowed Lejeune to transfer services but told the persistent cadet, “You have too many brains to be lost in the Marine Corps."

Early assignments took Lejeune to the western United States, the Caribbean and Cuba during the Spanish-American War, and Mexico at the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. Several years later, he impressed many by his performance at Army War College. At the time, he was one of the few marines to attend senior service school. From 1915 to 1917, Lejeune served as assistant to the commandant, where he learned the intricacies of Washington political life. Prior to US involvement in World War I, Lejeune commanded the Overseas Depot at Quantico.

Brigadier General Lejeune arrived in France in June 1918 and quickly made an impact. The American Expeditionary Force (AEF) commander, Gen John Pershing, resisted attempts by the Marine Corps leadership, including Lejeune, to employ the corps in an amphibious role in the Baltic or Adriatic Sea. Pershing argued that “our land forces must be homogeneous in every respect” and advised against their use as a separate division. Lejeune’s reputation among the AEF senior staff, many of whom he knew from Army War College, was impeccable. In Europe, Lejeune commanded the Army’s 64th Infantry Brigade and the 4th Marine Brigade before earning his second star and assuming command of the 2d Marine Infantry Division on 28 July 1918. Even though he would later serve nine years as Marine Corps commandant, Lejeune considered this the pinnacle of his military career. The 2d Division conducted sustained ground operations with distinction in France. Unlike Pershing’s style of intimidating subordinates, Lejeune chose to lead by gaining the “loyalty and devotion of his men.” From the Armistice to the middle of 1919, Lejeune’s division occupied an area around the bridgehead at Coblenz on the Rhine. He returned from Europe later that year. After meeting with President Woodrow Wilson and the man he would soon replace as Marine Corps commandant, Maj Gen George Barnett, Lejeune returned to Virginia and assumed command of the new Marine training center at Quantico.

It is said that successful military officers, in addition to being extremely capable, have mentors who help them along. In Lejeune’s case, his relationship to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels was key. Daniels had admired Lejeune’s straightforward and professional style when Lejeune served as assistant to the commandant from 1914–17. In addition, Lejeune had an impressive war record, a great mind, and the leadership skills necessary to run the corps. Daniels had never supported General Barnett as commandant. In fact, Barnett had gotten the job over Daniels’s objections. In the summer of 1920, when it appeared that a Republican would capture the White House, Daniels ousted Barnett and replaced him with Lejeune, whom the Democrats supported.

Lejeune’s change of command was as unceremonious as it was brief. Before noon on 30 June 1920, Lejeune reported to Barnett’s office. Barnett asked him why he failed to inform him of Daniels’s plot. Lejeune replied that his hands were tied. Barnett ordered Lejeune to stand at attention in front of his desk. The outgoing commandant charged his subordinate with disloyalty, unprofessional conduct, and being a false friend. At twelve o’clock, Barnett ordered an aide-de-camp to remove one star from his (Barnett’s shoulders) and marched out of the office without so much as a handshake with Lejeune.

After Warren Harding’s election in November, the Senate set aside Lejeune’s confirmation until the new president took office. On 4 March 1921, Lejeune, still unsure of his future, headed to the Capitol to attend Harding’s swearing-in ceremony. As the crowds gathered, Navy Secretary-designate Edwin Denby approached Lejeune. Denby came right to the point: “General Lejeune, would you serve as Commandant of the Marine Corps during my administration?” Meanwhile, across town at the Navy Department, Adm William Moffett was preparing to take over as head of the newly created Bureau of Aeronautics

In April 1941, construction was approved on an 11,000-acre tract in Onslow County, North Carolina. On May 1 of that year, Lt. Col. William P. T. Hill began construction on Marine Barracks New River, N.C. The first base headquarters was in a summer cottage on Montford Point, then shifted to Hadnot Point in 1942. Later that year it was renamed in honor of the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, John A. Lejeune.

One of the satellite facilities of Camp Lejeune served for a while as a third boot camp for the Marines, in addition to Parris Island and San Diego. That facility, Montford Point, was established after Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802. Between 1942 and 1949, a brief era of segregated training for black Marines, the camp at Montford Point trained 20,000 African-Americans. After the military was ordered to fully integrate, Montford Point was renamed Camp Gilbert H. Johnson and became the home of the Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Korean War
(Picture shows United States Marines landing at Inchon, Korea on Sept. 15, 1950.)

Many of us remember this Friday, July 27, 1953 (54 years ago) when cease fire was ordered in Korea. We had no winners in this war and it was the first time that the United States lost a major war. We still have not won a major war since World War II. As a proud US Marine, I was a member of the First Marine Division during World War II and the Korean War. The island of Okinawa was my last battle in World War II and the Korean War was the last battle before I retired from the Marine Corps.

What has happened in Korea since the Mexican standoff? South Korea became a propitious country with the force of 40,000 American troops to defend them from North Korea. The communist leaders in North Korea has led its people to starvation while using their resources in making nuclear bombs.

On June 25, 1950, eight divisions of the North Korean People's Army, equipped with Soviet tanks, mobile artillery and supporting aircraft, crossed the 38th parallel and invaded the Republic of Korea. On June 27, the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council proclaimed the North Korean attack a breach of world peace and requested member nations to assist the Republic of Korea.

On June 30, President Harry S. Truman ordered a naval blockade of the Korean coast and authorized the Commander in Chief Far East, General of the Army Douglas A. MacArthur, to send U.S. ground troops into Korea. On July 2, MacArthur recommended that a Marine Corps regimental combat team be deployed to the Far East. The Joint Chiefs of Staff approved his request the following day.

On July 7, the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was activated at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. The core of the ground element was the 5th Marines, while Marine Aircraft Group 33 made up the air element of the brigade. Just five days after its activation, the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, with a strength of over 6,500, sailed from San Diego en route to Pusan, Korea.

The first elements of the brigade came ashore at Pusan on Aug. 2. The next day, the first Marine aviation mission against North Korea was flown from the USS Sicily (CVE-118) by gull-winged Corsairs of Marine Corps Fighter Squadron 214 (VMF-214) in a raid against North Korean installations. They were subsequently joined by Marine Fighter Squadron 323 (VMF-323), flying from the USS Badoeng Strait (CVE-116). The two squadrons harassed enemy positions and installations near the city of Seoul and close to both the 38th parallel and North Korean Army supply lines. The 1st Marine Division spearheaded the assault. The attacking force had to navigate a narrow channel with swift currents and horrendous tidal changes, while dodging islands and potential coastal defense battery sites. Final approval for the operation, code named CHROMITE, was not given until Sept. 8. (See separate Fact Sheet on Operation CHROMITE.)

The Landing at Inchon
On Sept. 15, the 1st Marine Division, under the command of Major General Oliver P. Smith, led the first major U.N. force strike in North Korean-occupied territory, with a surprise amphibious assault at Inchon. In five days of textbook-style campaigning, the division closed on the approaches of Seoul, the South Korean capital. In house-to-house fighting, the Marines wrested the city from its communist captors by Sept. 27. On Oct. 7, 1950, with North Korean forces in full retreat, the Inchon-Seoul campaign was formally declared closed.

Marines at the Chosin (Changjin) Reservoir
In late October, the 1st Marine Division landed at Wonsan and spread out to secure the approaches to the port city. The division was then ordered to advance northwest of Hungnam along a mountain road to the Chosin (Changjin) Reservoir, the site of an important hydroelectric plant. The Marines would then advance to the Yalu River - the border between North Korea and the People's Republic of China.

Despite intelligence in early November that Chinese communist forces had massed on the Korean side of the Yalu, the 1st Marine Division was ordered to continue its progress northwest from Hungnam to the Chosin Reservoir. The brief autumn weather was almost over, and temperatures were turning bitterly cold. On Nov. 27, elements of the Chinese Communist People's Liberation Army struck Marine positions in force. In a carefully-planned counterstroke, eight Chinese divisions charged down from surrounding mountains with the sole mission of destroying the 1st Marine Division.

Over the next four weeks, the Chinese and Marine Corps forces engaged in some of the fiercest fighting of the Korean War. In an epic movement, the 1st Marine Division completed a successful fighting withdrawal through 78 miles of mountain road in northeast Korea. The fighting withdrawal ended in mid-December with the amphibious evacuation of the Marines from the port of Hungnam, Korea. Although suffering more than 4,000 battle casualties and uncounted incidents of frostbite, Marine Corps air and ground units killed nearly 25,000 Chinese communist troops.

After Chosin (Changjin)
During the first three months of 1951, the 1st Marine Division participated in several U.N. offensive operations, first against North Korean guerrillas and later participating in an advance through the mountains of east-central Korea. From late April to early July, the division took part in the U.N. defense against a Chinese communist spring offensive, in which U.N. forces faced nearly 500,000 enemy soldiers. The Chinese offensive ended in mid-May with heavy enemy losses.

The 1st Marine Division then participated in the U.S. Eighth Army drive northward past the eastern tip of the Hwachon Reservoir. By June 20, 1951, the division had taken its objective ? a ridgeline overlooking a deep circular valley in the Korean mountains nicknamed the "Punchbowl." Truce negotiations soon began, and the U.N. forces settled down into a defensive line.

The winter of 1951?52 found the 1st Marine Division deployed along an 11-mile front just north of the Punchbowl. In mid-March, the division was reassigned from the X Corps' eastern position in Korea, to the I Corps area at the far western end of the U.N. line. On March 24, the division assumed responsibility for approximately 35 miles of the front, which overlooked Panmunjom and included the defense of the Pyongyang?Seoul corridor. The pace of the war now slowed, with small, localized actions replacing the earlier, large-scale offensives.

The relative quiet on the front was rudely shattered in late March 1953 when Chinese forces mounted a massive offensive across the U.N. front line that hit 1st Marine Division outposts in the right sector. On March 26, enemy forces attacked outposts "Reno," "Vegas" and "Carson" ? the so-called Nevada Cities Campaign. All outposts were manned by the 5th Marines. In particularly bitter fighting, Outpost Reno fell to the enemy, but the stubborn 5th Marines maintained control of Vegas and Carson. Marine Corps casualties totaled more than 1,000, with communist losses at least twice as high.

During the first week of July, combat outposts Berlin and East Berlin in the 7th Marines right regimental sector came under attack during the Marines' relief of the U.S. Army 25th Infantry Division. The Marines did not concede any key terrain, and at 10 p.m. on July 27, 1953, the lengthy truce negotiated at Panmunjom finally went into effect, ending three years of fighting in Korea.
The price of liberty in human costs is always high, and the Korean War was no exception. Marine casualties totaled roughly 28,000; more than 4,200 Marines gave their lives in Korea. Forty-two Marines were awarded the Medal of Honor; 27 of these awards were posthumous. Additionally, 221 Navy Crosses and more than 1,500 Silver Stars were awarded to Marines.

Marine Corps Aviation
During the Korean War, units of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing flew more than 118,000 sorties in support of U.N. forces. Almost 40,000 of these sorties were close-air support missions. Marine helicopter squadrons evacuated more than 10,000 wounded personnel and greatly increased the survival rate for wounded Marines.

In 1950, the Korean War saw the Marine Corps expand from 75,000 regulars to a peak strength of 261,000 Marines, most of whom were reservists. Complete mobilization of the organized ground Reserve had been accomplished in just 53 days, from July 20 to Sept. 11, 1950. Of the Marines participating in the Inchon invasion, 17 percent were reservists. By June 1951, the proportion of reservists in Marine Corps units in Korea had increased to nearly 50 percent, and during the war, 48 percent of all 1st Marine Aircraft Wing combat sorties were flown by Marine reservists. Between July 1950 and June 1953, about 122,000 reservists, both recruits and veterans, saw active duty with the Marine Corps.

Growth of the Marine Corps During the Korean War
The Marine Corps emerged from the Korean War with the highest sustained peacetime strength in its history. The suddenness of the war, and MacArthur's immediate request for Marines, had emphasized the importance of maintaining the Corps as a ready striking force. The fiscal end strengths of the Marine Corps during the Korean War and immediate post-Armistice period were as follows:

The war in Korea was costly. The total U.S. casualties during the war numbered approximately 140,000 killed, missing in action and wounded. Marine Corps casualties from August 1950 to July 1953, were as follows:
Dead: 4,267
Wounded: 23,744
Total: 28,011

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Steve McQueen,
Actor and U.S.
Steve McQueen was the prototypical example of a new sort of movie star which emerged in the 1950s and would come to dominate the screen in the 1960s and '70s -- a cool, remote loner who knew how to use his fists without seeming like a run-of-the-mill tough guy, a thoughtful man in no way an effete intellectual, a rebel who played by his own rules and lived by his own moral code, while often succeeding on his own terms. While McQueen was one of the first notable examples of this new breed of antihero (along with James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Paul Newman), he was also among the most successful, and was able to succeed as an iconoclast and one of Hollywood's biggest box-office draws at the same time.

Terrence Steven McQueen was born in Indianapolis, IN, on March 24, 1930. In many ways, McQueen's childhood was not a happy one; his father and mother split up before his first birthday, and he was sent to live with his great uncle on a farm in Missouri. After he turned nine, McQueen's mother had married again, and he was sent to California to join her. By his teens, McQueen had developed a rebellious streak, and he began spending time with a group of juvenile delinquents; McQueen's misdeeds led his mother to send him to Boys' Republic, a California reform school.

After ninth grade, McQueen left formal education behind, and after a spell wandering the country, he joined the Marine Corps in 1947. McQueen's hitch with the Leathernecks did little to change his anti-authoritarian attitude; he spent 41 days in the brig after going Absent With Out Leave for two weeks.

After leaving the Marines in 1950, McQueen moved to New York City, where he held down a number of short-term jobs while trying to decide what he wanted to do with his life. At the suggestion of a friend, McQueen began to look into acting, and developed an enthusiasm for the theater. In 1952, he began studying acting at Sanford Meisner's Neighborhood Playhouse. After making an impression in a number of small off-Broadway productions, McQueen was accepted into Lee Strasberg's prestigious Actor's Studio, where he further honed his skills. In 1956, McQueen made his Broadway debut and won rave reviews when he replaced Ben Gazzara in the lead of the acclaimed drama A Hatful of Rain. The same year, McQueen made his film debut, playing a bit part in Somebody Up There Likes Me alongside Paul Newman, and he married dancer Neile Adams. In 1958, after two years of stage work and television appearances, McQueen scored his first leading role in a film as Steve, a noble and rather intense teenager in the sci-fi cult item The Blob, while later that same year he scored another lead, in the television series Wanted: Dead or Alive. McQueen's moody performances as bounty hunter Josh Randall elevated him to stardom, and in 1960, he appeared in the big-budget Western The Magnificent Seven (an Americanized remake of The Seven Samurai), confirming that his new stardom shone just as brightly on the big screen. In 1961, McQueen completed his run on Wanted: Dead or Alive and concentrated on film roles, appearing in comedies (The Honeymoon Machine, Love With a Proper Stranger) as well as action roles (Hell Is for Heroes, The War Lover). In 1963, McQueen starred in The Great Escape, an action-packed World War II drama whose blockbuster success confirmed his status as one of Hollywood's most bankable leading men; McQueen also did his own daredevil motorcycle stunts in the film, reflecting his offscreen passion for motorcycle and auto racing. (McQueen would also display his enthusiasm for bikes as narrator of a documentary on dirt-bike racing, On Any Sunday).

Through the end of the 1960s, McQueen starred in a long string of box-office successes, but in the early '70s, he appeared in two unexpected disappointments -- 1971's Le Mans, a racing film that failed to capture the excitement of the famed 24-hour race, and 1972's Junior Bonner, an atypically good-natured Sam Peckinpah movie that earned enthusiastic reviews but failed at the box office. Later that year, McQueen would team up again with Peckinpah for a more typical (and much more successful) action film, The Getaway, which co-starred Ali MacGraw. McQueen had divorced Neile Adams in 1971, and while shooting The Getaway, he and MacGraw (who was then married to producer Robert Evans) became romantically involved. In 1973, after MacGraw divorced Evans, she married McQueen; the marriage would last until 1977.

After two more big-budget blockbusters, Papillon and The Towering Inferno, McQueen disappeared from screens for several years. In 1977, he served as both leading man and executive producer for a screen adaptation of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, which fared poorly with both critics and audiences when it was finally released a year and a half after it was completed. In 1980, it seemed that McQueen was poised for a comeback when he appeared in two films -- an ambitious Western drama, Tom Horn, which McQueen co-directed without credit, and The Hunter, an action picture in which he played a modern-day bounty hunter -- and he wed for a third time, marrying model Barbara Minty in January of that year. However, McQueen's burst of activity hid the fact that he had been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a highly virulent form of lung cancer brought on by exposure to asbestos. After conventional treatment failed to stem the spread of the disease, McQueen traveled to Juarez, Mexico, where he underwent therapy at an experimental cancer clinic. Despite the efforts of McQueen and his doctors, the actor died on November 7, 1980. He left behind two children, Chad McQueen, who went on to his own career as an actor, and daughter Terry McQueen, who died of cancer in 1998.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Glenn Ford,
Actor and U.S. Marine
Gwyllyn Samuel Newton "Glenn" Ford (May 1, 1916 – August 30, 2006) was an acclaimed Canadian-born actor from Hollywood's Golden Era with a career that spanned seven decades. He was born to Anglo-Quebecer parents at Jeffrey Hale Hospital in Quebec City, Quebec and was a grand-nephew of Canada's first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald. Ford moved to Santa Monica, California with his family at the age of eight, and became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1939.

Ford is best known for his film roles playing either cowboys or ordinary men in unusual circumstances. His acting career began on stage, and his first major movie part was in the 1939 film Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence.

Military service
In 1942, Ford's film career was interrupted when he volunteered for duty in World War II with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on 13 December as a photographic specialist at the rank of sergeant. He was assigned in March 1943 to active duty at the Marine Corps Base in San Diego. He was sent to Marine Corps Schools Detachment (Photographic Section) in Quantico, Virginia, that June, with orders as a motion-picture production technician. Sergeant Ford returned to the San Diego base in February 1944 and was assigned next to the radio section of the Public Relations Office, Headquarters Company, Base Headquarters Battalion. There he staged and broadcast the radio program Halls of Montezuma. Glenn Ford was honorably discharged from the Marines on 7 December 1944.

In 1958, he joined the U.S. Naval Reserve and was commissioned as a lieutenant commander with a 1655 designator (public affairs officer). During his annual training tours, he promoted the Navy through radio and television broadcasts, personal appearances, and documentary films. He was promoted to commander in 1963 and captain in 1968.

Ford went to Vietnam in 1967 for a month's tour of duty as a location scout for combat scenes in a training film entitled Global Marine. He traveled with a combat camera crew from the demilitarized zone south to the Mekong Delta. For his service in Vietnam, the Navy awarded him a Navy Commendation Medal. His World War II decorations are as follows: American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Rifle Marksman Badge, and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Medal. He retired from the Naval Reserve in the 1970s at the rank of captain.

Postwar career
Following military service, Ford's breakthrough role was in 1946, starring alongside Rita Hayworth in Gilda . He went on to be a leading man opposite her in a total of five films. While the movie is mostly remembered as the vehicle for Hayworth's "provocative rendition of a song called Put the Blame on Mame," The New York Times movie reviewer Bosley Crowther praised Ford's "stamina and pose in a thankless role" despite the movie's poor direction.

Ford's acting career flourished in the 1950s and into the '60s, and continued into the early 1990s, with an increasing number of television roles. His major roles in thrillers, dramas and action films include A Stolen Life with Bette Davis , The Secret of Convict Lake with Gene Tierney, The Big Heat, Framed, Blackboard Jungle, Interrupted Melody with Eleanor Parker, Experiment in Terror with Lee Remick, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Ransom!, Superman and westerns such as The Fastest Gun Alive, 3:10 to Yuma and Cimarron.

Ford's versatility also allowed him to star in a number of popular comedies, including Teahouse of the August Moon, Don't Go Near the Water, The Gazebo, Cry For Happy, and The Courtship of Eddie's Father.

Ford starred for one season in the television series Cade's County (1971-1972), in which he played Southwestern Sheriff Cade in a mix of western drama and police mystery. In The Family Holvak (1975-1976), Ford portrayed a depression era preacher in a family drama, reprising the same character he had played in the TV film "The Greatest Gift". Julie Harris co-starred as his wife.

In 1978, Ford had a supporting role in Superman, as Clark Kent's adopted father, Jonathan Kent, a role that introduced Ford to a new generation of film audiences. Ford's final scene in the film begins with a direct reference to Blackboard Jungle - the earlier film's theme song "Rock Around the Clock" is heard on a car radio.

Personal life
After Ford graduated from High school, he began working on small theatre groups. Ford later commented that his father had no objection to his son's growing interest in acting but told him: "Its all right for you to try to act, if you learn something else first. Be able to take a car apart and put it together. Be able to build a house, every bit of it. Then you'll always have something." Ford listened to his father's advice and during the 1950s, when he was one of Hollywood's most popular actors, he regularly worked on plumbing, wiring and air conditioning at home. At times, he worked as a roofer and installer of plate-glass windows. Ford was married four times: to actress Eleanor Powell (1943-1959, one son); Kathryn Hays (1966-1969); Cynthia Hayward (1977-1984); and Jeanne Baus (1993-1994). All four marriages ended in divorce. Ford appeared on screen with Powell only once, in a short subject produced in the 1950s entitled The Faith of Our Children.
Ford suffered a series of minor strokes which left him in frail health in the years leading up to his death. For the first half of his life, Glenn Ford supported the US Democratic Party - in the 1950s he supported Adlai Stevenson for President - and in later years became a supporter of the Republican Party, campaigning for his friend Ronald Reagan in the 1980 and 1984 presidential elections.

Ford's only child, Peter Ford (born 1945), also became an actor (as well as a singer and radio host) before giving up on his acting career around 1975; he later became a successful business contractor. Ford was reportedly furious when he learned that Peter had briefly taken control of his estate in 1992, when he was seriously ill and had gone into a coma while in the hospital. Ford became estranged from his son and stated that he would leave his estate to Pauli Kiernan, his 39-year-old nurse and companion. While Peter contended Ms. Kiernan was manipulating his father, the elder Ford refused to accept his explanation and said "What Peter has done to me is cruel and wicked. He just wants my money. I want my nurse Pauli to get the money. I know who's been good and kind to me in these last years of my life."

Several years later, however, Glenn Ford reconciled with his son Peter who subsequently moved into Ford's Beverly Hills mansion along with the latter's wife Lynda and their three children. However, unlike his son, Ford never reconciled with any of his wives. Glenn and Peter Ford then maintained a close relationship; Peter is currently writing a biography about his father.

After being nominated in 1957 and 1958, in 1962 Glenn Ford won a Golden Globe Award as Best Actor for his performance in Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles. He was listed in Quigley's Annual List of Top Ten Boxoffice Champions in 1956, 1958 and 1959, topping the list at number one in 1958. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Glenn Ford has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6933 Hollywood Blvd. In 1978, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In 1987 he received the Donostia Award in the San Sebastian International Film Festival, and in 1992 he was awarded the LŠ¹gion d'honneur medal for his actions in the Second World War.

Ford was scheduled to make his first public appearance in 15 years at a 90th birthday tribute gala in his honor hosted by the American Cinematheque at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on May 1, 2006, but at the last minute, he had to bow out. Anticipating that his health might prevent his attendance, Ford had the previous week recorded a special filmed message for the audience, which was screened after a series of in-person tributes from friends including Martin Landau, Shirley Jones, Jamie Farr, and Debbie Reynolds

Thursday, July 19, 2007

George C. Scott, Actor and United States Marine
George Campbell Scott (October 18, 1927 - September 22, 1999) was a stage and film actor, director, and producer. He was best known for his Academy Award winning portrayal of General George S. Patton,Jr. in the film Patton, as well as for his flamboyant performance as General Buck Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

Early life
Scott was born in Wise, Virginia to George Dewey Scott (1902-1987) and Helena Agnes Scott (1904-1935), the only son and younger of their two children. His mother died just before his eighth birthday, and he was raised by his father, an executive at the Buick Motor Company.

As a young man, Scott's original ambition was to be a writer like his idol, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and while in high school, he wrote many short stories, none of which were ever published. As an adult, he tried on many occasions to write a novel, but was never able to complete one to his satisfaction. When asked by an interviewer in later life which contemporary novelists he admired, he replied, "I stopped reading novels when I stopped trying to write them."

Scott joined the U.S. Marine Corps, serving from 1945 until 1949, and was assigned to the prestigious 8th and I Barracks in Washington, D.C. In that capacity, he served as a ceremonial guard at Arlington National Cemetery and taught English literature and radio speaking/writing at the Marine Corps Institute. Scott later said that his duties at Arlington led to his drinking. After his military service, Scott enrolled in the University of Missouri, where he majored in journalism and then became interested in drama; he left college after a year to pursue acting.

Broadway and film career
Scott began his acting career on Broadway, and achieved critical acclaim portraying the prosecutor in The Andersonville Trial by Saul Levitt. This was based on the military trial of the commandant of the infamous Civil War prison camp in Andersonville, Georgia. Scott's performance earned him a mention in Time magazine as a rising young actor of great intensity. In 1970 Scott directed a highly acclaimed television version of this same play. It starred William Shatner, Richard Basehart and Jack Cassidy who was nominated for an Emmy award for his performance as the defense lawyer in this production.

In 1963, Scott was top billed in the critically acclaimed CBS hour-long drama series East Side, West Side he and co-star Cicely Tyson played urban social workers. Perhaps too gritty and stark for 1963, the show lasted only one season.

Scott also won an Obie Award for his performance as Richard III for the New York Shakespeare Festival, a performance one critic said was the "angriest" Richard III of all time.

Scott won wide public recognition in the film, Anatomy of a Murder in which he played a wily prosecutor opposite Jimmy Stewart as the defense attorney. Scott was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor; when he was notified of the nomination, he called the Academy Awards a "meat parade" or "meat race". He said, "Actors are the world's oldest, underprivileged minority - looked upon as nothing but buffoons, one step above thieves and charlatans. These award ceremonies simply compound the image for me."

Scott's most famous early role was in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb where he played the part of General "Buck" Turgidson. It is revealed on the DVD documentary that after having shot many takes of any given scene, Stanley Kubrick would frequently asked Scott to redo it in an "over the top" fashion. Kubrick would then proceed to use this version in the final cut, which Scott supposedly resented. However, Kubrick did earn Scott's respect on this film, since by that time, Scott was an accomplished chess player. The cast and crew noted they would often play chess between takes, and Kubrick was the only person who could routinely beat Scott.

Scott's portrayal of the swaggering and controversial General Patton in the 1970 film Patton has become, to many, his most iconic performance. Scott had researched extensively for the role, studying films of the general and talking to those who knew him. Having declined an Academy Award nomination for his appearance in the 1961 film, The Hustler, Scott returned his Oscar for Patton, stating in a letter to the Academy that he didn't feel himself to be in competition with other actors. However, also regarding this second rejection of the Academy Award, Scott famously said elsewhere, "The whole thing is a goddam meat parade. I don't want any part of it." In the mid-80s, Scott reprised his role as Patton for a television movie. At the time that sequel was aired, Scott mentioned in a TV Guide interview that he had verbally told the Academy to donate his Oscar to the Patton Museum; since the instructions were never put in writing, it was never delivered.

In 1971, Scott gave two more critically acclaimed performances, as a de facto Sherlock Holmes in They Might Be Giants and as an alcoholic doctor in the black comedy The Hospital Despite his repeated snubbing of the Academy, Scott was again nominated for Best Actor for the latter role. Scott excelled on television that year as well, appearing in an adaptation of Arthur Miller's The Price, an installment of the Hallmark Hall of Fame anthology. Scott was nominated for, and won, an Emmy Award for his role, which he accepted. Scott's reasoning for keeping an Emmy after rejecting an Oscar was believed to be due to the fact that the Emmy Award winners were chosen by blue-ribbon panels of experts, while Academy Award winners were chosen by the entire Academy membership. The actor also starred in the popular 1980 horror film The Changeling with Melvyn Douglas. He received the Canadian Genie Award for Best Foreign Film Actor for his performance.

In 1984, Scott was cast in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in a television adaptation of A Christmas Carol Critics and the public alike praised his performance. Some have said his Scrooge ranks alongside Alastair Sim's portrayal. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for the role.

In 1990, he voiced the villain Smoke in the TV special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, where his character was alongside popular cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny. That same year, he voice acted the villain Percival McLeach in the Disney film, The Rescuers Down Under.

Scott had a reputation for being moody and mercurial while on the set. "There is no question you get pumped up by the recognition," he once said, "Then a self-loathing sets in when you realise you're enjoying it." He said he'd seen a psychiatrist four times, "I kept laughing. I couldn't get serious. If it helps you, it helps you. If standing on your head on the roof helps you, it helps you - if you think so." There is a famous anecdote that one of his stage co-stars, Maureen Stapleton, told the director of Neil Simon's Plaza Suite "I don't know what to do, I am scared of him." The director, Mike Nichols, replied, "My dear, everyone is scared of George C. Scott!"

Scott's favorite film actress was Bette Davis, whom he called "my bloody idol."

Private life
Scott was married five times:
Carolyn Hughes (1951?1955) (two daughters, Michelle and Victoria)
Patricia Reed (1955?1960) (two children, Mathew, and actress Devon Scott who was born on November 29, 1958).

The Canadian-born actress Colleen Dewhurst, by whom he had two sons, writer Alexander Scott, and actor Campbell Scott. Dewhurst nicknamed her husband "GS". (1960?1965)

He remarried Colleen Dewhurst on 4 July 1967, but divorced for a second time on 2 February 1972.

The American actress Trish Van Devere on September 4, 1972, with whom he starred in several films, including the supernatural thriller The Changeling (1980). They were estranged at the time of his death.

George C. Scott died on September 22, 1999 at the age of 71 from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. He was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, California. He is buried next to Walter Matthau, in an unmarked grave.

My Memories of
Marine Sergeant George C. Scott
By Major Bob Morrissey USMC (Ret)
September 24, 1999

The author of this memoir is Maj Bob Morrissey, USMC (Ret), who was a Marine Corps combat correspondent and Public Affairs Officer, who was Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen Wallace M. Greene, Jr.'s personal public affairs officer. I asked Mo if it would be OK to forward this to the WWII list because there have been a number of posts re/Scott in recent days. I hope you all approve. BMF

George C. "Patton" Scott, who died at age 71, and I were good friends and frequent liberty buddies while serving together as three-stripers at the Washington Marine Barracks from 1946--1948.

George and I were both instructors at the Marine Corps Institute, then an accredited academic correspondence school for Marines. I instructed first-year college journalism, English grammar, and authored a new MCI course in photo journalism. George instructed English literature and Radio Speaking and Writing.

Because he marched with the grace of a gazelle, he was designated guidon bearer for the elite Barracks ceremonial company. I marched immediately behind him as company right guide , ever-failing to emulate his awesome ballbearing strides. We marched in rain, snow, and Washington heat in many military funerals at Arlington cemetery--sometimes two or three a day--as well as in presidential inaugural parades and other special ceremonial occasions in DC. This was in addition to our regular MCI duties. George found funeral details distasteful to him. He became very depressed when witnessing families and relatives mourning the deaths of their Marines.

George was quoted several times in his life-after the Corps as saying that the Marine Corps made him an alcoholic. One late night when I was standing barracks duty, I was summoned to Brinkley's, the Marines' watering hole across from the gate, by a fellow sergeant moonlighting as a bouncer. "Get him out of here before he tears up the joint and gets in trouble." I proceeded to wrestle a very intoxicated George back across the street to the barracks. On such occasions, he was always beligerent, if not sometimes mean.

As I was half carrying, half dragging his six foot frame down the barracks arcade enrote to his squad bay, he suddenly paused, looked me straight in the eye, and declared in very slurred , but insistent voice: "You know, Mo, someday I'm gonna be a goddamned great actor."

"Yeah, right George," I responded, humoring him, "you'll be that." However, he didn't hear me. He had unceremoniously passed out cold on the arcade bricks.

I believe George was falling off the wagon before reporting to DC. It got worse with time, caused by his deep disappointment that he had not seen combat as a Marine in WWII. He had enlisted in the Corps as WWII was coming to an end, specifically choosing to be a Marine because he sincerely believed the Corps would get him into combat before the war ended, something fiercely important to him. Didn't happen. He cried on my shoulder about this.

He liked being a Marine, and was a good one, but he was never destined to make a career of it., returning to civilian life in 1949 upon expiration of his enlistment. He never considered his duties at 8th &I very exciting. He had other fish to fry. For a time he wanted to be a journalist, but becoming an actor eventually consumed him.

He was known to be irascible (as a Marine and his life thereafter). He did not suffer fools (of any rank) lightly, nor did he make friends easily, but he was very loyal to those to befriend. I don't recall him ever dating while on duty at the barracks. When we pulled liberty together (before I became married to Mary Jane), we usually went off post to a deli to enjoy our favorite sandwiches with Coke or coffee and a lot of enjoyable conversation, a blend of serious and humorous. Because I did not imbibe(at the time), he spared me from joining him when he set out to hang one on at Brinkley's. (He did, however, count on me to rescue you him on occasion.)

After watching Marine Sergeant George Scott become Gen. George Patton on the screen, I sought George's address and/or phone number through the studio. I was told to send my communication through the studio and they would ensure he would receive it. My short note read: "Dear George, you were right. You are a goddamned great actor! Semper Fi, Mo."

No reply. He was never big on maintaining friendships. His ambitions were elsewhere. Could be he may not have remembered his declaration that night in the barracks arcade so my message may not have made sense to him. I did have witnesses, however. Two noncom buddies coming off liberty were moving to help me get George to bed and heard his remark.

Here is an additional chapter to Bob Morrissey's recollection of his time and service with George C. Scott. BMF

I'm motivated to write this, in part, because I'm venting. I'm much disturbed to read/hear the extensive news mediacoverage of the death of Sergeant George C. Scott, USMC, almost consistently reporting that Scott spent his four years in the Corps "doing nothing but burial details," which alegedly caused him to become an alcoholic. Not!

During the period we served together ('46--'48)--remember this was more than 50 years ago when we were just escaping from our teens--there existed two major entities at the Washington Marine Barracks: an MCI detachment, composed mostly of enlisted Marine instructors (some with one or more degrees) responsible for the operation of the "school," and a Barracks detachment, responsible for maintenance and security of the Barracks. Marines assigned to one or other detachment did not get along well--ever!

For instance. The barracks detachment had absolute control of the barracks main gate. Marines were required to be spit-and-polish, as they are today, when departing the compound (no civilian clothes authorized in those days). Enter a nasty little (5'6") Barracks corporal named Holmes who actually volunteered for Barracks gate sentry duty from 1600 to midnight EVERYDAY!

When MCI Marines sought to exit the barracks, Holmes subjected us to detailed personnel inspections, including haircuts and fingernails. If Holmes could not see his reflection mirrored in your shoes, you were denied exit. Dull brass belt buckles, wrinkled uniforms, etc. were unacceptable. (Holmes was really disappointed when we were issued Eisenhower jackets --sans belts.)

When MCI types eventually got fed up with Holmes antics, we addressed our grievances to our MCI detachment officers, who insisted that Holmes was just doing his duty in a military manner at all times, then snickered among themselves. The Barracks CO, A pastured colonel, avoided any involvement.

One evening when George and I were heading out on liberty, Holmes made an extra effort to find reason to deny us exit, at which time George drew himself up to his 6-foot tallness, glowering down at the arrogant little corporal, and bellowed in his familiar raspy voice: "I thought we were all Marines, one for all, corporal. Someday soon we're going to meet outside the gate and have a very serious discussion about your biased, chicken-shit antics." Holmes read George loud and clear, paled, and waved us through the gate. (As reported in the media, quick-tempered George suffered five broken noses in his lifetime, never shying from a physical confrontation whether under the influence or not. (I never witnessed a broken Scott nose on my watch.)

George was hardly alone in his dislike for Holmes and very seriously intended he would meet him outside the barracks some night and "straighten out the son-of-a-bitch." A number of MCI Marines, including me, intended to share in the "discusssion." Holmes knew it and never again left the barracks while he was serving as a gate sentry. Never! He also became aware that he was under constant surveillance within the barracks by MCI Marines just waiting for him to go out the gate.

It was for the Barracks detachment to provide personnel for "burial details" --pallbearers, firing squads, buglers, etc. Not a piece of cake, especially for pallbearers, who were required to carry coffins in a military manner from the caisson on a nearby road to the grave site, often up and down formidable hills. Occasionally, they had a helluva time avoiding dropping the coffin and having to frantically chase it down a hill. More so in rain or snow.

In addition to serving as correspondence school instructors--on which we spent more of our time than marching--MCI Marines were responsible for what was usually referred to as "funeral" details (as distinguished from "burial" details), as well as many other cewremonial events requiring marching Marines. We did considerable early am. marching and close order drilling on the barracks parade ground while the Commandant of the Marine Corps was consuming his breakfast in the Home of the Commandants facing the parade ground. Afterwards, stowing our rifles, we were expeditously bussed from southeast Washington to an old, dilapidated (some swore it was condemned) once-upon-a-time school house. Barracks mess personnel would show about noon each workday with "gourmet" field rations to ensure us a hearty "catered" hot lunch.

We were crammed into large departmental classrooms with dangerously worn wooden floors and furnished with ancient WWI-vintage wooden desks butted up against each other. George and I wrer "butted. " allowing us to communicate with each other "very quietly" when so inclined. Our department was supervised by two civilian PhDs, both of whom had once been short-term Marines and were now final reviewers of our work. Their spacious office was in one end of the adjoing cloak room.

The school's furnace rarely functioned adequately, if at all, during cold weather, frequently requiring us to perform our duties wearing our lined field jackets--and gloves! We had no typewriters (nor computers, of course), so all our necessary comments on, and critiques of, written lessons received regularly from U. S. Marines all over the world were reviewed and graded by us in gloved longhand. If you wanted hot coffee, you brought your own thermos. Sometimes we got so cold that there were vailed threats of burning down the old schoolhouse just so we could get warm.

To set the record straight, neither George nor I were ever assigned to "burial" details, as is being reported. Just periodic "funeral" details--which none of us enjoyed. And none of us ever imbibed on duty. (the famous Washington Marine Barracks didn't even have a slopshute.)

So much for reminisces. RIP "goddamned great actor." Glad you chose to be a Marine and to have known you. You will not be forgotten.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tyrone Power, U. S. Marine and Actor
Tyrone Edmund Power, Jr. (May 5, 1914 - November 15, 1958), usually credited simply as Tyrone Power and known sometimes as "Ty Power", was an American film and stage actor who appeared in dozens of films from the 1930s to the 1950s, often as a swashbuckler or romantic lead, in such movies as The Mark of Zorro. The Black Swan, Prince of Foxes. The Black Rose and Captain from Castile. Though famous for his dark, classically handsome looks that made him a matinee idol from his first film appearance, Power was not just handsome but very versatile. He played a wide range of roles, from a protagonist with a darker side to light romantic comedy. In the 1950s, he began placing limits on the number of movies he would make in order to have time for the stage. He received his biggest accolades as a stage actor in John Brown's Body and Mister Roberts. He died of a heart attack at the age of 44.

Tyrone Power's career was interrupted in 1943 by military service. He reported to the U.S. Marines for training in late 1942, but he was sent back, at the request of 20th Century-Fox, to complete one more film, 1943's Crash Dive a patriotic war movie. He was credited in the movie as Tyrone Power, U.S.M.C.R., and the movie served as much as anything as a recruiting film.

In August 1942, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He attended boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and then attended Officer's Candidate School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, where he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on June 2, 1943. Because he had already logged 180 solo hours as a pilot prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps, Tyrone Power was able to go though a short, intense flight training program at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, where he earned his wings and was promoted to First Lieutenant. Power arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina in July, 1944 and was assigned to VMR-352 as an R5C copilot. The squadron moved to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in California in October 1944. Power was reassigned to VMR-353 and joined them on Kwajalein in February 1945. He flew cargo and wounded Marines during the Battle of Iwo Jima and the Battle of Okinawa. He returned to the United States in November 1945 and he was released from active duty in January 1946. He was promoted to Captain in the reserves on May 8, 1951 but was not recalled for service for the Korean War.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hugh O'Brian, former Marine
When we think of Hugh O'Brian, we think of him as a actor - that he was. We also think of him as a lawman, Wyatt Earp, that he portrayed on television for several years. However, we never think of him as a former United States Marine. O'Brian enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 17 in 1943. At age 18, he became the youngest (DI) drill instructor in the history of the United States Marine Corps.

Motion picture and television star Hugh O'Brian has mastered his craft across the entire spectrum of show business. But with all his success, he has never lost sight of his civic and philanthropic responsibilities that his chosen field offers to those who choose to use their popularity to motivate others for a worthy cause. He has reinvested his good fortune in many ways to help others, working tirelessly to develop projects to benefit young people.

He is the Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), organized by Hugh in 1958 "to seek out, recognize and develop leadership potential in high school sophomores". HOBY is endowed in perpetuity by Mr. O'Brian's will. In 1964, he also set up the Hugh O'Brian Acting Awards at UCLA, designed to bring recognition to the outstanding young actors and actresses at the University, which was held annually for 25 years.
Born in 1925 in Rochester, New York, Mr. O'Brian's introduction to diversification came early. He attended high school at New Trier in Winnetka, Illinois; Rossevelt Military Academy in Aledd, Ill. and Kemper Military School in Booneville, Missouri. In high school, his sports activities were diversified among football, basketball, wrestling and track, winning letters in all four sports. After a semester at the University of Cincinnati with studies charted toward a law career, Mr. O'Brian, at 17, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943. He became the youngest drill instructor in the Marine Corps' history at age 18, and during his four-year service won a coveted Marine Fleet appointment to The United States Naval Academy. After passing the entrance exams, he declined the appointment at the end of World War II, intending to enroll at Yale to study law.

After serving four years, and receiving his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps in 1947, Mr. O'Brian went to Los Angeles where he planned to earn money for his Yale tuition. He met Ruth Roman and Linda Christian, very successful actresses at the time, who introduced him to a "little theatre" group. When a leading man became ill, Mr. O'Brian agreed to substitute. Originally, he felt the experience might be helpful in his law career; however, he got such good reviews in Somerset Maugham's play "Home and Beauty," that he decided to enroll at UCLA, and continue his little theater appearances as an avocation while continuing his quest for a college education. About a year later in 1948, Ida Lupino saw one of his performances and signed him to portray his first starring role in the film "Young Lovers" which Ms. Lupino directed. This brought him a contract with Universal Studios. During his first year under contract he enrolled at Los Angeles City College and managed to amass 17 college credits in addition to making five pictures at Universal.

Mr. O'Brian left Universal after three years to star in three films for 20th Century Fox, "There's No Business Like Show Business", "Broken Lance" and "White Feather", along with numerous television shows. The "big break" in his career came in 1954, when he was chosen to portray the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp on TV. Shortly after the series debuted in September, 1955 as the "first adult western", it became the top-rated show on TV and Mr. O'Brian became a much-discussed talent. During its seven-year run, "Wyatt Earp" always placed in the top five T.V. shows in the nation. In 1972-73 he starred in another TV series "Search".

Mr. O'Brian has also had an illustrious career in the theatre. He starred on Broadway in "Destry Rides Again," "First Love," and in the first Broadway revival of "Guys and Dolls." He also starred in the national company of "The Music Man", "Mr. Roberts", "Cactus Flower," "The Odd Couple," "The Tender Trap," "A Thousand Clowns," and "Plaza Suite." He has guest-starred on numerous television shows including the Today Show, the Larry King and Jim Bohannan Shows, Charlie Rose's Nightwatch and The Pat Sajak Show.

More recent TV/film credits include "The Shootist" (John Wayne's last film), "Killer Force," "Game of Death," "Twins" (with Arnold Schwartzenegger), and numerous appearances on TV's "Fantasy Island," "Love Boat," "Paradise," "Gunsmoke II", "Murder, She Wrote", "L.A. Law", and a Kenny Rogers Gambler IV movie "The Luck of the Draw: The Gambler Returns", a 1994 return to the famous Wyatt Earp role, "Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone", received great reviews and the honor of being the highest rated TV show of the week.

In 1958, Mr. O'Brian was privileged to spend nine inspirational days with Nobel Laureate and great humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer, at his clinic in Africa. Dr. Schweitzer's strong belief that "the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves" impressed O'Brian. Two weeks after his return to the United States, he put Schweitzer's words into action by forming The Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY). Its format for motivation is simple: bring a select group of high school sophomores with demonstrated leadership abilities together with a group of distinguished leaders in business, education, government and the professions, and let the two interact. Using a question-and-answer format, the young people selected annually by over 14,500 public and private high school to attend a HOBY Leadership Development Seminar held each spring in their state get a realistic look at what makes America's Incentive System work, thus better enabling them "to think for themselves."

HOBY Leadership Development Seminars take place in all 50 states (38 states hold two to five seminars per state, because of the large number of schools in that state), as well as in Canada, China, Israel and Mexico. All public and private high schools in the United States receive HOBY's nomination materials by the end of September each year. All lOth-graders are eligible, and encouraged to apply. More than 14,500 "outstanding" high school sophomores, selected to represent as many schools, will attend these three to four day educational seminars annually. All HOBY programs are coordinated by volunteers. Service organizations such as the Kiwanis, General Foundation of Women's Clubs, the National Management Association, Optimists, Lion's Club and Jaycees are the backbone of this volunteer effort. Mr. O'Brian himself sets a positive example by donating 70 hours a week or more to HOBY.

One boy and girl is selected from each of the local 90 HOBY Leadership Seminar sites held each spring to represent their state at HOBY's "Superbowl", the eight-day, all-expense paid World Leadership Congress (WLC), which is held annually in a major U.S. city, and is coordinated by a prestigious university. In addition, outstanding 10th graders from 45 countries are selected to represent their part of the world committee to attend the annual HOBY WLC program. The cultural differences that exist between countries of the world are explored in friendship by the American sophomores and their international counterparts. The HOBY experience is truly an inspirational event of a lifetime for these young future leaders.

HOBY is a non-profit organization and is funded solely through the private sector. It does not seek support from any government source. HOBY is one of America's best examples of a "private sector" initiative.
HOBY's goal is not to teach these future leaders "what to think, not how to think", and what the thinking process is. In essence, HOBY is a dream, which through Mr. 0'Brian's dedication and vision, along with the steadfast efforts of his army of 4,000 dedicated volunteer supporters, has become a reality to benefit mankind. Following is Hugh O'Brian's credo:

The Freedom to Choose:
"I do NOT believe we are all born equal. Created equal in the eyes of God, yes, but physical and emotional differences, parental guidelines, varying environments, being in the right place at the right time, all play a role in enhancing or limiting an individual's development. But I DO believe every man and woman, if given the opportunity and encouragement to recognize their potential, regardless of background, has the freedom to choose in our world. Will an individual be a taker or a giver in life? Will that person be satisfied merely to exist or seek a meaningful purpose? Will he or she dare to dream the impossible dream?

I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose, to share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love."

In 1972, Mr. 0'Brian was awarded one of the nation's highest honors, the Freedom Through Knowledge Award, sponsored by the National Space Club in association with NASA.

In 1973, he was honored by the American Academy of Achievement.

In 1974, he was awarded the George Washington Honor Medal, highest award of the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge, as well as the coveted Globe and Anchor Award from the Marine Corps.

In 1976, the Veterans of Foreign Wars honored him with an award. He is the recipient of the AMVETS Silver Helmet Award, and in 1983, the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE) honored him with their premier award for overall philanthropic excellence as a volunteer, fundraiser and philanthropist. This is the only time one individual has received the award in all three categories. Notre Dame honored him with the first "Pat 0'Brian Memorial Award" in 1984. That same year, The Family Counseling Service honored Mr. O'Brian with its first National Family of Man Award.

In 1989, he received the 60th Annual American Education Award presented by the American Association of School Administrators. This award is the oldest and most prestigious award that the education profession bestows.

On June 2, 1990, the Los Angeles Business Council awarded Mr. O'Brian its sixth Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of outstanding achievement working within the framework of the American Free Enterprise System.

In 1992, Mr. O'Brian was inducted into the Great Western Performers Hall of Fame, and in 1993, Mr. O'Brian was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Franklin Mint.

In 1994, Mr. O'Brian was awarded the Freedoms Foundation's Private Enterprise Exemplar medal, in 1995 the American Celtic Globe Humanitarian Award from the Ireland Chamber of Commerce, in 1995 the Epsilon Sigma Alpha (ESA, Int.) Vision Award, and in 1997 the KNX Newsradio Man of the Year Award and the Central City Association of Los Angeles' Treasures of Los Angeles Award.

In 1998, Mr. O'Brian was given the highest civilian honor from the United States Department of the Navy, the Meritorious Public Service Citation. He was also one of the year 2000 recipients of the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations Foundation (NECO) Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award. In March, 2002, he will receive the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award given by NAASP/teh National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Mr. 0'Brian has been awarded honorary degrees by seven prestigious institutions of higher learning. He has received honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from Saint Mary of the Plains College in Kansas,Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania and Green Mountain College, Poultney, Vermont, as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Saint John's University in New York. In the summer of 1987, Mr. O'Brian was presented with an honorary Doctor of Public Services degree from the University of Denver, and in the summer of 2000, her was presented with an honorary Doctor of Public Service from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.. Each university honored Mr. 0'Brian for the outstanding work he has undertaken on behalf of youth throughout the United States and the world.

Mr. O'Brian lives in a hilltop home overlooking Beverly Hills. Diverse as ever, his sporting activities include sailing, scuba diving and swimming.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lou Diamond, USMC Hero
Master Gunnery Sergeant Leland "Lou" Diamond USMC (May 30, 1890 - September 20, 1951) is famous within the US Marine Corps as the classic example of the "Old Breed" - tough, hard-fighting career Marines who served in the Corps in the years between World War I and World War II.

Early years
Diamond was born May 30, 1890, at Bedford, Ohio. He enlisted at age 27, and though older than most recruits, the difference never was noticeable. Diamond enlisted in the Marine Corps at Detroit, Michigan, 25 July 1917, listing as his former occupation "railroad switchman."

Because of the incredible voice, which matched his 5-foot, 11-inch, 200-pound frame, Diamond was once dubbed "The Honker". Many of his comrades at Guadalcanal considered him "a human air-raid warning system."

Diamond lived informally, going hatless and wearing dungarees practically everywhere. He even accepted one of his decorations in dungarees. Self-confidence, even cockiness, was one of his outstanding characteristics. He considered anybody with less than ten years in the Corps a "boot". While he bawled out recruits who sometimes instinctively saluted him, he frequently failed, himself, to salute less than a field grade officer.
Diamond rejected opportunities to apply for a commission — that is, become an officer — saying "nobody can make a gentleman out of me."

World War I
As a corporal in January 1918, he shipped out from Philadelphia aboard the USS Von Steuben bound for Brest, France. He saw action with the famous 6th Marines in the battles at Chateau Thierry, Belleau Wood, the Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne. Promoted to the grade of sergeant, he marched to the
Rhine with the Army of Occupation. At war's end, "Mr. Leatherneck" returned to America, and received an honorable discharge.

Inter-war period
Railroading, and civilian life in general, did not suit him, and on 23 September 1921, Diamond re-enlisted.
"Mr. Marine" itched for more action and he soon got it in Shanghai, with Company M, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. But the Sino-Japanese controversy, in Diamond's opinion, was "not much of a war," and on 10 June 1933, he returned to the United States, disembarking from the USS Henderson (AP-1) at Mare Island, California. By then he was a Gunnery Sergeant.
Diamond returned to Shanghai with his old outfit, the 4th Marines, ten months later; was transferred to the 2nd Marines in December, 1934; and returned to the States in February, 1937. Two years after his promotion to Master Gunnery Sergeant on 10 July 1939, he was assigned to the Depot of Supplies at Philadelphia to help design a new infantry pack.

World War II
Following the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, Diamond shipped out to Guadalcanal with Company H, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, arriving at the beaches 7 August 1942. He was then 52 years old.

Though not a "spit-and-polish" Marine, Diamond prove himself an expert with both 60- and 81mm mortars, his accurate fire being credited as the turning point of many an engagement in the Pacific during World War II. Among the many fables concerning his Guadalcanal service is the tale that he lobbed a mortar shell down the smoke stack of an off-shore Japanese cruiser. It is considered a fact, however, that he drove the cruiser from the bay with his harassing "near-misses".

General A.A. Vandegrift, Commander of the 1st Marine Division, and later Commandant of the Marine Corps, wrote a letter of commendation that states in part:

To every man in your company you were a counselor, an arbiter ofdisputes, and an ideal Marine. Your matchless loyalty and love of the Marine Corps and all it stands for, are known to hundreds of officers and men of this Division, and will serve as an inspiration to them on all the battlefields on which this Division may in the future be engaged.

After two months on Guadalcanal, physical disabilities dictated his evacuation by air against his wishes. He was moved to the New Hebrides and later to a hospital in New Zealand, where he somehow acquired orders to board a supply ship for New Caledonia. There a friend ordered him back to Guadalcanal — the supposed location of his old outfit. Upon his arrival, however, Diamond discovered that the 1st Marine Division had shipped out to Australia, a distance of over 1,500 miles. Diamond made the trip, without orders, by bumming rides on planes, ships and trains.

But Diamond was destined to see no more combat. On 1 July 1943, he disembarked from the USS Hermitage (AP-54) at San Pedro, California, and twelve days later was made an instructor at the Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. He was transferred to Camp Lejeune on 15 June 1945, and joined the 5th Training Battalion with the same duties.

Diamond retired on 23 November 1945, and returned to his home in Toledo, Ohio. His death at the Great Lakes, Illinois, Naval Training Center Hospital, September 20, 1951, was followed by a funeral, with full military honors, at Sylvania, Ohio.

The Philippine-American actor Lou Diamond Phillips was named after him by his father, a Marine.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Once an English drinking song
It was once true that all people who were born in the United States of America, spoke English, after they were old enough. That is no longer correct. It has been estimated that 15 million citizens of Mexico, illegally immigrated into our county. Many have been here for years and still did not learn to speak English, our nation language. Lots of them have raised big families and most of their children have not learned to speak and understand English.

"I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English." Here's why . . .

When Francis Scott Key penned "The Star-Spangled Banner," he lifted the melody from an old English drinking song. When the tune was accepted as our national anthem, that must have provided ample barroom fodder across the pond. A couple of centuries later, Jimi Hendrix rocked Woodstock?”and the country?? with his stunning and brilliant guitar riff take on it. Roseanne Barr Arnold got booed out of the ballpark with her tongue-in-cheek off-key belted-out version. Over the years, various recording artists have created their versions of "The Star-Spangled Banner." With such a mottled background, why shouldn't our national anthem have a Spanish-language version? Why is that scary and threatening to so many Americans?

The melody of our national anthem is stirring, though dreadful to sing. And then there are the lyrics, which were a nationalistic inspiration from the last ravages of a war. If I could re-write history, I'd rather our national anthem be "America, the Beautiful".

Quote Theodore Roosevelt, 1907:
In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith, becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Monday, July 9, 2007

Matthew C. Perry
Matthew Calbraith Perry (April 10, 1794 - March 4, 1858) was the Commodore of the U.S. Navy who compelled the opening of Japan to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854.

Early life and naval career
Born in Rocky Brook, Rhode Island, he was the son of Captain Christopher R. Perry and the younger brother of Oliver Hazard Perry. Matthew Perry got a midshipman's commission in the Navy in 1809, and was initially assigned to Revenge under the command of his elder brother.

Commodore Perry's early career saw him assigned to several ships, including the President where he was aide to Commodore John Rodgers, which was in a victorious engagement over a British vessel, HMS Little Belt shortly before the War of 1812 was officially declared. During that war Perry was transferred to USS United States and as a result saw little fighting in that war afterward, since the ship was trapped at New London, Connecticut. After that war he served on various vessels in the Mediterranean and Africa (notably aboard USS Cyane during its patrol off Liberia in 1819-1820), sent to suppress piracy and the slave trade in the West Indies. Later during this period, while in port in Russia, Perry was offered a commission in the Russian navy, which he declined.

Command assignments, 1820s-1840s
Opening of Key West
Perry commanded the Shark from 1821-1825. When Britain possessed Florida in 1763, the Spanish contended that the Florida Keys were part of Cuba and North Havana. The United States felt that Key West (which was then named Cayo Hueso, which means "Bone Island") could potentially be the "Gibraltar of the West" because it guarded the northern edge of the 90 mile wide Straits of Florida -- the deep water route between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.
1815 the Spanish governor in Havana, Cuba deeded the island of Key West, Florida to Juan Pablo Salas of Saint Augustine, Florida. After Florida was transferred to the United States, Salas sold Key West to U.S. businessman John W. Simonton for $2,000 in 1821. Simonton lobbied the U.S. Government to establish a naval base on Key West, both to take advantage of its strategic location and to bring law and order to Key West town.

On March 25, 1822, Perry sailed the schooner Shark to Key West and planted the U.S. flag, physically claiming the Keys as United States property.
Perry renamed Cayo Hueso "Thompson's Island" for the Secretary of the Navy Smith Thompson and the harbor "Port Rodgers" for the president of the Board of Navy Commissioners. Neither name stuck.

From 1826-1827 Perry acted as fleet captain for Commodore Rodgers. Perry returned for shore duty to Charleston, South Carolina in 1828, and in 1830 took command of USS Concord He spent the years of 1833-1837 as second officer of the New York Navy Yard (later the Brooklyn Navy Yard), gaining promotion to captain at the end of this tour.

Father of the Steam Navy
Perry had a considerable interest in naval education, supporting an apprentice system to train new seamen, and helped establish the curriculum for the United States Naval Academy. He was also a vocal proponent of modernizing the Navy. Once promoted to captain, he oversaw construction of the Navy's second steam frigate, USS Fulton which he commanded after its completion. He was called "The Father of the Steam Navy", and he organized America's first corps of naval engineers, and conducted the first U.S. naval gunnery school while commanding Fulton in 1839-1840 off Sandy Hook on the coast of New Jersey.

Promotion to commodore
Perry acquired the courtesy title of Commodore in 1841, and was made chief of the New York Navy Yard in the same year. In 1843 he took command of the African Squadron, whose duty was to interdict the slave trade under the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, and continued in this endeavor through 1844.

The Mexican-American War
In 1845 Commodore David Connor's length of service in command of the Home Squadron had come to an end. However, the coming of the Mexican-American War persuaded the authorities not to change commanders in the face of the war. Perry, who would eventually succeed Connor, was made second-in-command and captained the USS Mississippi . Perry captured the Mexican city of Fronter, demonstrated against Tabasco and took part in the Tampico Expedition. He had to return to Norfolk, Virginia to make repairs and was still there when the amphibious landings at Vera Cruz took place. His return to the U.S. gave his superiors the chance to finally give him orders to succeed Commodore Connor in command of the Home Squadron. Perry returned to the fleet during the siege of Veracruz and his ship supported the siege from the sea. After the fall of Veracruz Winfield Scott moved inland and Perry moved against the remaining Mexican port cities. Perry assembled the Mosquito Fleet and captured Tuxpan in April, 1847. In July 1847 he attacked Tabasco personally, leading a 1173-man landing force ashore and attacked the city from land.

The Opening of Japan: 1852-1854
Perry's expedition to Japan was preceded by several naval expeditions by American ships:

* From 1797 to 1809, several American ships traded in Nagasaki under the Dutch flag, upon the request of the Dutch, who were not able to send their own ships because of their conflict against Britain during the Napoleonic Wars. Trade was limited to the Dutch and Chinese at that time (sakoku).

* In 1837, an American businessman in Canton, named Charles W. King, saw an opportunity to open trade by trying to return to Japan three Japanese sailors (among them, Otokichi) who had been shipwrecked a few years before on the coast of Washington. He went to Uraga Channel with Morrison, an unarmed American merchant ship. The ship was attacked several times, and sailed back without completing its mission.

* In 1846, Commander James Biddle, sent by the United States Government to open trade, anchored in Tokyo Bay with two ships, including one warship armed with 72 cannons, but his requests for a trade agreement remained unsuccessful.

* In 1848, Captain James Glynn sailed to Nagasaki, leading at last to the first successful negotiation by an American with "Closed Country" Japan. James Glynn recommended to the United States Congress that negotiations to open Japan should be backed up by a demonstration of force, thus paving the way to Perry's expedition.

First visit, 1852-1853
In 1852, Perry embarked from Norfolk, Virginia for Japan, in command of a squadron in search of a Japanese trade treaty. Aboard a black-hulled steam frigate, he ported Mississippi Plymouth Saratoga and Susquehanna at Uraga Harbor near Edo (modern Tokyo) on July 8, 1853, and was met by representatives of the Tokugawa Shogunate who told him to proceed to Nagasaki, where there was limited trade with the Netherlands and which was the only Japanese port open to foreigners at that time (see Sakoku). Perry refused to leave and demanded permission to present a letter from President Millard Fillmore, threatening force if he was denied. The Japanese military forces could not resist Perry's modern weaponry; the "Black Ships" would then become, in Japan, a threatening symbol of Western technology.

The Japanese government let Perry come ashore to avoid a naval bombardment. Perry landed at Kurihama (in modern-day Yokosuka) on July 14, presented the letter to delegates present, and left for the Chinese coast, promising to return for a reply.

Second visit, 1854
Perry returned in February 1854 with twice as many ships, finding that the delegates had prepared a treaty embodying virtually all the demands in Fillmore's letter. Perry signed the Convention of Kanagawa on March 31, 1854 and departed, mistakenly believing the agreement had been made with imperia representatives.

On his way to Japan, Perry anchored off of Keelung in Formosa, known today as Taiwan, for ten days. Perry and crew members landed on Formosa and investigated the potential of mining the coal deposits in that area. He emphasized in his reports that Formosa provided a convenient mid-way trade location. Formosa was also very defensible. It could serve as a base for exploration like Cuba had done for the Spanish in the Americas. Occupying Formosa could help the US to counter European monopolization of the major trade routes. The United States government did not respond to Perry's proposal to claim sovereignty over Formosa.

Return to the United States, 1855
When Perry returned to the United States in 1855, Congress voted to grant him a reward of $20,000 in appreciation of his work in Japan. Perry used part of this money to prepare and publish a report on the expedition in three volumes, titled Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas,and Japan. He was also advanced to the grade of rear-admiral on the retired list (when his health began to fail) as a reward for his services in the Far East.

Last years
Perry died on March 4, 1858 in New York City, of liver cirrhosis due to alcoholism. His remains were moved to the Island Cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island on March 21, 1866, along with those of his daughter, Anna, who died in 1839.