Walter Matthau (1920-2000), US Army Air Corps., B-24 Radioman/Gunner and cryptographer.
Paul Newman (1925-2008), US Navy Rear seat gunner/radioman, torpedo bombers of USS Bunker Hill.
Kirk Douglas (1916-Still Kicking), US Navy. Sub-chaser in the Pacific. Wounded in action and medically discharged. He "(born Issur Danielovitch, December 9, 1916) is an American actor, producer, director, and author. He is one of the last living people of the film industry's Golden Age."
Burgess Meredith (1907-1997), US Army Air Corps.
DeForest Kelley (1920-1999), US Army Air Corps.
James Arness (1923-2011), US Army. As an infantryman, he was severely wounded at Anzio, Italy.
Rock Hudson (1925-1985), US Navy. Aircraft mechanic, the Philippines.
Clark Gable (1901-1960), US Army Air Corps. B-17 gunner over Europe.
Charles Bronson (1921-2003), US Army Air Corps. B-29 gunner, wounded in action.
Ronald Reagan (1911-2004). US Army. Was a 2nd Lt. in the Cavalry Reserves before the war. His poor eyesight kept him from being sent overseas with his unit when war came so he transferred to the Army Air Corps Public Relations Unit where he served for the duration.
John Wayne (1907-1979). Declared "4F medically unfit" due to pre-existing injuries, he nonetheless attempted to volunteer three times (Army, Navy and Film Corps.) so he gets honorable mention.
And of course we have Audie Murphy (1925-1971), America’s most-decorated soldier, who became a Hollywood star as a result of his US Army service that included his being awarded the Medal of Honor.
Would someone please remind me again how many of today’s Hollywood elite put their careers on hold to enlist in Iraq or Afghanistan? The only one who even comes close was Pat Tillman, who turned down a contract offer of $3.6 million over three years from the Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the US Army after September 11, 2001, and serve as a Ranger in Afghanistan, where he died in 2004. But rather than being lauded for his choice and his decision to put his country before his career, he was mocked and derided by many of his peers.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I submit to you that this is not the America today that it was seventy years ago. And I, for one, am saddened. My generation grew up watching, being entertained by and laughing with so many of these fine people, never really knowing what they contributed to the war effort. Like millions of Americans during the WWII, there was a job that needed doing they didn’t question, they went and did it, those that came home returned to their now new normal life and carried on, very few ever saying what they did or saw.
They took it as their “responsibility”, their “duty” to Country, to protect and preserve our freedoms and way of life, not just for themselves but for all future generations to come. As a member of a later generation, I’m forever humbly in their debt."
Hard takes, tight lines, screaming reels and our hats off to these true, famous American heroes.
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Long Fly Alaska Air!!!!!