Category Archives: Veterans Tales

Imprinting America on Kids

Vassar Bushmills

This short piece is for Teaching Vets (who would appreciate your support) and who someday will plant these seed as he/she looks into a room full of un-woke teenagers. This also applies to home-schooling parents (and many blessings on your House for your undertaking) and of course, regular citizens today who should be asking themselves why our public schools no longer teach children good things about America, and whose butts do we have to kick in order to change that back to the way it once was. How do we go about assimilating our own native-born children into “being American” again?

It’s one of those subjects almost no parent ever thinks about these days, or probably even thought about when I was a kid in the 1950s. Parents just naturally assumed their children were being taught about the basics of American History and Citizenship, and love of country. In those days, it was a complete package that followed them from First Grade to Graduation Night.

Parents rarely got down in the weeds to find out exactly what Bobby and Sally were taught, or when (4th, 5th, Soph or Senior) they just assumed it. To my knowledge curriculum was never a subject of PTA meetings, but still parents did have their say, as when my town’s most notorious foul-mouth, Earl Hodge, stormed the stage demanding to know “why in the g-d hell can’t you teach my boy not to say ‘ain’t’?” He had clear reasons.)

America was never spoken of disapprovingly in schools those days. Every state had its own history book, taught in middle school, 6-thru-8. Each state had its own heroes from pioneer days on. Kentucky had Daniel Boone and Boonesborough. Nebraska had early pioneers on their way to Oregon and whose wagons broke down while there. (Almost no one went to Nebraska on purpose before the Civil War.)

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When Hollywood Volunteered to go to War

Veterans Tales by Vassar Bushmills

March 29, 2019 is Vietnam Veterans Day.

Those veterans, called Baby Boomers, all recognize these Hollywood stars who served in the military during World War II. It’s called a handshake.

Obviously this is not the America of today that it was seventy years ago when “movie stars” just naturally put love of country above their own personal interests.

 


Sterling Hayden, US Marines and OSS.  Smuggled guns into Yugoslavia and parachuted into Croatia.

 

James Stewart, US Army Air Corps. Bomber pilot who rose to the rank of General. 

 

Ernest Borgnine, US Navy. Gunners Mate 1c, destroyer USS Lamberton. 

 

Ed McMahon, US Marines. Fighter Pilot. (Flew OE-1 Bird Dogs over Korea as well.) 

 

Walter Matthau, US Army Air Corps., B-24 Radioman/Gunner and cryptographer. 

 

Steve Forrest, US Army. Wounded, Battle of the Bulge. 

 

Jonathan Winters, USMC. Battleship USS Wisconsin and Carrier USS Bon Homme Richard. Anti-aircraft gunner, Battle of Okinawa[…]

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Tootsie Rolls and “The Chosin Few”

Veterans’ Tales by Vassar Bushmills

From our friend Mike Collins and his pals:

(Note: My wife’s uncle Phillip was one of those Marines. Her father was oder and served on a tin can in the Phillipine Sea but saw no real action. He always looked up to his baby brother as the real combat hero of the family.)

The 68th Anniversary of the Korean War “Chosin Few”…..The Tootsie Roll Marines

On November 26, 1950, 10,000 men of the First Marine Division, along with elements of two Army regimental combat teams, a detachment of British Royal Marine commandos and some South Korean policemen were completely surrounded by over ten divisions of Chinese troops in rugged mountains near the Chosin Reservoir. Chairman Mao himself had ordered the Marines annihilated, and Chinese General Song Shi-Lun gave it his best shot, throwing human waves of his 120,000 soldiers against the heavily outnumbered allied forces. A massive cold front blew in from Siberia, and with it, the coldest winter in recorded Korean history. For the encircled allies at the Chosin Reservoir, daytime temperatures averaged five degrees below zero, while nights plunged to minus 35 and lower.

Jeep batteries froze and split. C-rations ran dangerously low and the cans were frozen solid. Fuel could not be spared to thaw them. If truck engines stopped, their fuel lines froze. Automatic weapons wouldn’t cycle. Morphine syrettes had to be thawed in a medical corpsman’s mouth before they could be injected. Precious bottles of blood plasma were frozen and useless. Resupply could only come by air, and that was spotty and erratic because of the foul weather[…]

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Save One For Hachioji

Veterans’ Tales by Vassar Bushmills

When my family and I first came to Japan, in Spring,1972, we flew on an American contract airline, via Honolulu and Wake Island, from Travis AFB, California.

We arrived at Yokota AFB in the northeast outskirts of greater Tokyo at night. An Army staff car and driver picked us up and took us the two and a half hour trip to Camp Zama, the old Japanese Army military academy grounds, and dropped us off at a BOQ, where we would stay until we received our household goods and could move into quarters.

Other than that I never had any occasion to travel to Yokota, except in 1974 to try a batch of criminal cases for the Air Force when their legal staff there had placed themselves in a conflict-of-interest situation, where they would rotate prosecutors and defense lawyers, so ended up arguing both sides of the case on different days. It was a big Buddha-weed bust on an AF transport heading back to the States. A civilian lawyer caught them at it, called them out, and those cases had to be retried. Egg on the Air Force’s face.

In all, I traveled back and forth to Yokota three times in normal daylight hours and we went through a small city of half a million, actually a suburb of Tokyo, named Hachioji. The first time, I wasn’t prepared.

Driving through what looked like just more endless city, just like the several miles on the south side of Tokyo, where I lived, my driver, a Japanese man in a suit, turned around, and said, “Captain, we are coming to Hachioji City. Please roll up windows, lock door, and look straight ahead. Make no face.”

Shortly, along the narrow streets that Japanese called “two-lane highways”, people began coming out of the shops and little 3-stooler restaurants they would lunch at, and began pounding on the car, shriek curses (I guess), spitting, making hand gestures, with scowls that could cause an exorcist to squirm.

In a couple of minutes they either quit or we left the city[…]

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