Monday, October 01, 2007

Heroes: On Screen & Off

(I received the following a while back in an e-mail from my brother-in-law, Donald. I had intended to us it as a post on a patriotic holiday, but forgot about it. The message, however, doesn't need a special day for its message to have meaning. Also, it is informative, and I learned some interesting facts about these movie stars who served our country during WWII.)



Hope you find this as informative and interesting as I did.

In contrast to the ideals, opinions and feelings of today's "Hollywonk" the real actors of yester-year loved the United States. They had both class and integrity.
With the advent of World War II many of our actors went to fight rather than stand and rant against this country we all love.

They gave up their wealth, position and fame to become service men & women, many as simple "enlisted men".

This post lists but a few, but from this group of only 18 men came over 70 medals in honor of their valor, spanning from Bronze Stars, Silver Stars, Distinguish Service Cross', Purple Hearts and one Congressional Medal of Honor.

So remember; while the "Entertainers of 2005-2006" have been in all of the news media lately I would like to remind the people of what the entertainers of 1943 were doing, (61 years ago).

Most of these brave men have since passed on.

"Real Hollywood Heroes"

Alec Guinness ("Obi Wan Kenobi" in Star Wars) operated a British Royal Navy landing craft on D-Day.

Donald Pleasance (The Great Escape) really was an R. A. F. pilot who was shot down, held prisoner and tortured by the Germans.

David Niven was a Sand-hurst graduate and Lt. Colonel of the British Comman-dos in Normandy .

James Doohan ("Scotty" on Star Trek) landed in Normandy with the U. S. Army on D-Day.

James Stewart Entered the Army Air Force as a private and worked his way to the rank of Colonel. During World War II, Stewart served as a bomber pilot, his service record crediting him with leading more than 20 missions over Germany , and taking part in hundreds of air strikes during his tour of duty.Stewart earned the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, France's Croix de Guerre,and 7 Battle Stars during World War II. In peace time, Stewart continued to be an active member of the Air Force as a reservist, reaching the rank of Brigadier General before retiring in the late 1950s.

Clark Gable (Mega-Movie Star when war broke out) Although he was beyond the draft age at the time the U.S. entered WW II, Clark Gable enlisted as a private in the AAF on Aug. 12, 1942 at Los Angeles. He attended the Officers' CandidateSchool at Miami Beach , Fla. and graduated as a second lieutenant on Oct. 28, 1942. He then attended aerial gunnery school and in Feb. 1943 he was assigned to the 351st Bomb Group at Polebrook where flew operational missions over Europe in B-17s.Capt. Gable returned to the U.S. in Oct. 1943 and was relieved from active duty as a major on Jun. 12, 1944 at his own request, since he was over-age for combat.

Charlton Heston was an Army Air Corps Sergeant in Kodiak.

Ernest Borgnine was U. S. Navy Gunners Mate 1935-1945.

Charles Durning was a U. S. Army Ranger at Normandy earning a Silver Star and awarded the Purple Heart.

Charles Bronson was a tail gunner in the Army Air Corps, more specifical-ly on B-29's in the 20th Air Force out of Guam, Tinian, and Saipan

George C. Scott was a decorated U. S. Marine.

Eddie Albert (Green Acres TV) was awarded a Bronze Star for his heroic action as a U. S. Naval officer aiding Marines at the horrific battle on the island of Tarawa in the Pacific Nov. 1943.

Brian Keith served as a US . Marine rear gunner in several actions against the Japanese on Rabal in the Pacific.

Lee Marvin was a U.S. Marine on Saipan during the Marianas campaign when he was wounded earning the Purple Heart.

John Russell: In 1942, he enlisted in the Marine Corps where he received a battlefield commission and was wounded and highly decorated for valor at Guadalcanal

Robert Ryan was U. S. Marine who served with the O. S. S. in Yugoslav-ia .

Tyrone Power (an established movie star when Pearl Harbor was bombed) joined the U.S. Marines, was a pilot flying supplies into, and wounded Marines out of, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Audie Murphy, little 5'5" tall 110 pound guy from Texas who played cowboy parts:
Most Decorat-ed service-man of WWII and earned: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, 2 Silver Star Medals, Legion of Merit, 2 Bronze Star Medals with "V", 2 Purple Hearts, U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, 2 Distinguished Unit Emblems, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with One Silver Star, Four Bronze Service Stars (representing nine campaigns) and one Bronze Arrowhead (representing assault landing at Sicily and Southern France) World War II Victory Medal Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar, Expert Badge with Bayonet Bar, French Fourragere in Colors of the Croix de Guerre, French Legion of Honor, Grade of Chevalier, French Croix de Guerre With Silver Star, French Croix de Guerre with Palm, Medal of Liberated France, Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 Palm.

So how do you feel the real heroes of the silver screen acted when compared to the hollywonks today who spew out anti-American drivel as they bite the hand that feeds them?

Can you imagine these stars of yester-year saying they hate our flag, making anti-war speeches, marching in anti-American parades and saying they hate our president?

I thought not, neither did I!



Captain Smack said...

We should send all of our actors to invade Germany again. I know Germany hasn't really done anything bad lately, but it would still be fun.

lime said...

what an excellent post. i knew that quite a few actors from that era had served. i had no idea the ranks and how highly deocrated they were. audie murphy i was familiar with but jimmy stewart...holy cow.! who'da thunk it???

Miss Cellania said...

The Greatest Generation, indeed. Although he wasn't in the Armed Forces, Glen Miller ought to be mentioned (so I will). He was killed coming home from entertaining the troops in WWII. And later portrayed by Jimmy Stewart in The Glen Miller Story.

You must also keep in mind that WWII was a justified war, which the US didn't enter for years, until we were attacked.

Hale McKay said...

Miss C., you are so right about WWII - there is no comparison to Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf 'Wars' and the countless other skirmishes in which the U.S. has been involved.

And Yes, Glenn MIller could very well be called a hero along with those mentioned in my post.

Phils Phun said...

G'day Mike
What a great post
How true it is
As an Aussie we know all these actors here in down under land
and appreciate their efforts for all
Take care