In 1941 President Roosevelt issued an order for the Marine Corps to begin accepting African Americans for the first time since the American RevolutionIn 1941 President Roosevelt issued an order for the Marine Corps to begin accepting African Americans for the first time since the American Revolution. One year later Camp Montford Point, located next to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, was opened as a segregated training facility. This book describes the experience of the African Americans through a collection of firsthand accounts.
With America committed to World War II young men entered the thought process as to which branch of service they would like to join prior to being drafted. African Americans, who chose to become Marines, did so for reasons similar to others throughout the history of the Corps. As Paul Holtsclaw mentioned; “And we [his family] were always taught to do the right thing and to obey God and keep his Commandments, and I just thought it would be nice that I go into the service because I’ve always had a feeling of loyalty to my country and duty to God, duty to country and duty to self.” The grammar in used in many of the accounts is not perfect, but for me this adds rather than detracts from the story.
The book captures a unique part of history with tales of leaving home, basic training, successfully becoming a Marine, followed by service. Unique photos enhance the piece of history. ...more
Born in 1893 Claire Lee Chennault was a complex individual yet history is full of such personalities. With the name Claire Lee he learned early on toBorn in 1893 Claire Lee Chennault was a complex individual yet history is full of such personalities. With the name Claire Lee he learned early on to take a stand, defend himself and brawl with the toughest. On a passive side he appreciated nature and was most relaxed fishing in the middle of a wild Louisiana swamp. Chennault was both a gentleman and a feisty individual, who held his composure when drinking hard liquor. Lt. General Chennault charted his own destiny in both western and eastern societies before his burial in Arlington national Cemetery.
Chennault attended LSU, as a member of the Corps of Cadets, receiving a premiere military background. To support his wife and future 8 children he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps to pursue his passion of aviation. During World War I he patiently served stateside.
Chennault was very competitive in all aspects of his life. Back in college I played bridge accumulating master points and therefore I smiled when Chennault stated one should not play bridge if they had to ask whose deal it was. The trained fighter pilot could also show a bit of humor, exemplified when he beat his sons in a contest and commented they might make good bomber pilots.
In the spring of 1937 at age 43, he retired from the U.S. Army Air Corps and sought private employment in China offering his consulting services to upgrade Chinese aviation. Although Chennault would long for his family he would never have household residence in America again. With China under attack from Japan, he set up an airbase in Kunming, China reporting directly to Madame and Generalissimo Chang Kai-shek, head of the Nationalist Chinese Army. His Kunming location grew into a clandestine private non-profit company called CAMCO with the approval of President Roosevelt. Some U.S. Army Air Corps personnel were allowed to officially depart from U.S. service and team up with Chennault. By the summer of 1941 (prior to Pearl Harbor) roughly 100 pursuit planes and 300 air personnel, known as the American Volunteer Group (AVG) were aligned with CAMCO.
When America entered World War II, Lt. Gen. Joseph Stilwell with an infantry background was put in charge of U.S. military operations in China. Chennault and his AVG operation were officially aligned with the U.S. military and his fighter pilots would now be referred to as the 14th Air Force “Flying Tigers”. Lacking free reign the feisty Chennault blatantly skirted the new chain of command and corresponded directly with President Roosevelt. This naturally infuriated his superiors Stillwell, Arnold and Marshall. To his credit Chennault was known as the “enlisted man’s officer” and received high praise from MacArthur.
In 1942 James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle and his squad of B-25 aircraft bombed Tokyo and headed to China for landing. The mission was so secret that Chennault was not briefed, for if he knew he could have set up a homing device or other method of communication. Chennault’s responsibilities expanded with the creation of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) at Kunming. He quickly established a friendship with missionary and OSS member John Birch.
The biography continues on with his second family in China. What I found particularly interesting was the post WWII era as Chennault played an active role trying to turn back Mao Tse-tung and the communist USSR during the Chinese Communist Revolution. The U.S. role or rather lack of American participation in the civil war is explained in depth. These chapters provide the reader with two books in one.
On a side note both of my grandfathers were born in the early 1890’s and served in combat on the Western Front in WWI. My parents born in the early 1920’s were part of the “Greatest Generation”. Chennault and Doolittle (born 1896) did not see action in WWI as they were in military aviation stateside, but they along with many other senior military officials from the latter two decades of the 19th Century played an active role in WWII. In some respect the “Greatest Generation” transcended two generations.
The life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner and famed survivor of World War II, has been told through his 2003 autobiography “Devil at my Heels”, aThe life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner and famed survivor of World War II, has been told through his 2003 autobiography “Devil at my Heels”, a 2010 biography by Laura Hildebrand titled “Unbroken” and a 2014 film by Angelina Jolie. This 2014 memoir with assistance by David Rensin is formatted with short chapters providing inspiration and spiritual hope for every human being.
The memoir also provided fresh details of Zamperini’s life. Like my two sons, Zamperini was an Eagle Scout. I did not pick up this fact in the book or movie “Unbroken”. Zamperini attributed much of his WWII survival to skills to his Boy Scout merit badge training and their motto: “Be Prepared”. Second, after WWII, Zamperini committed his life to God. This important factor was mentioned in the book “Unbroken” but notably absent in the movie.
Zamperini was humble and did not see himself as a hero. By turning his life around, he became a future role model to all. Everyone is tested in different ways throughout their lifetime and Zamperini provides methods and examples on how to react to difficult circumstances through preparation, and mind over matter through a positive attitude. ...more