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Author Topic: HOW JOHN WAYNE SAVED THE MARINES
snopes
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Today is John Wayne's 98th birthday. He was born on May 26, 1907 in Winterset, Iowa, weighing 13 pounds. His birthplace is a museum, and a few years ago I took my son Brandon to visit it. There was a guest book, opened to a page with the entry, in the entrant's handwriting,

Name: Ronald Reagan.

Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC.

To celebrate the birthday of a truly great American, let me tell you how John Wayne saved the Marine Corps. In the aftermath of World War II, the psychological letdown after years of war and bloodshed, the huge demobilization of servicemen, the desire to slash military spending, and the antipathy towards the military by left-wingers in the Democrat Party all combined in a call by a number of Senators and Congressmen to abolish the Marine Corps.

In this, they were supported by the Doolittle Board, created by the Truman Administration, which called for the Marine Corps to be "disbanded" as a separate military force, and "unified" with the Army (yes, the board was headed by an Army general, Jimmy Doolittle).

A group of enterprising Marines - you can always depend on Marines to be enterprising - with Hollywood connections thought a movie made around the most famous photograph of World War II, Joe Rosenthal's of the Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, could help sway public opinion against their disbandment.

They approached legendary director Allan Dwan, who agreed to commission a script. The movie was to be called "The Sands of Iwo Jima," and everybody agreed there was only one man who could play the lead role of Sergeant Stryker: John Wayne.

To their great surprise, Wayne turned it down. He didn't like the script, and he wasn't enamored of the character of Stryker. The Marines came to the rescue again. The Marine Corps Commandant, General Clifton B. Cates, got on an airplane and flew from Washington to California to personally request Wayne make the picture. When General Cates explained the stakes involved - the very existence of the Marine Corps - Wayne immediately changed his mind, promising the general he would do everything in his power to have the movie be a success.

The Sands of Iwo Jima was released in 1949 and quickly became a runaway blockbuster, with millions of moviegoers packing every theatre showing it. Wayne was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, establishing him as Hollywood's Number One box-office star. The Doolittle Board folded its tent, and no politician on Capitol Hill ever again said a word about disbanding the Marines.

So let's all say "Semper Fi" to the memory of John Wayne.

To further celebrate his birthday, here's a treat and some advice. The treat is this link: A biography of John Wayne written by Ronald Reagan, in the October 1979 Reader's Digest. The advice is this: Don't ever trust a man who doesn't like John Wayne. A man's opinion of John Wayne is a good rule-of-thumb test of his character and moral values. To admire John Wayne is to admire the heroic and the morally noble. To sneer at John Wayne is to admire the opposite. It's revealing that you find very few liberals among the former, and very few conservatives among the latter.

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snopes
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quote:
A man's opinion of John Wayne is a good rule-of-thumb test of his character and moral values. To admire John Wayne is to admire the heroic and the morally noble. To sneer at John Wayne is to admire the opposite. It's revealing that you find very few liberals among the former, and very few conservatives among the latter.
Yeah, there's no greater example of American moral values than the guy who avoids military service during wartime but makes up for it by playing soldier in a bunch of movies. As long as he's a Republican, that is.

- snopes

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betcherass
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Hey, didn't John Wayne's autopsy report state that he had 40 pounds of shit in his colon? I just can't stop my brain from churning up this little turd-lette of information (debunked, on snopes) at the mention of his name. He was a member of the John Birch Society, too...
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Dive_Cecil
I Saw Three Shipments


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Forget the fact that he was to old and had a bad back get in the way of a good rant.
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snopes
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quote:
Forget the fact that he was to old and had a bad back get in the way of a good rant.
Never let the fact that he was only 34, still performed his own stunts in movies, and was classified 1-A by the Selective Service get in the way of what you want to believe.

- snopes

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Shamrock
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
quote:
Forget the fact that he was to old and had a bad back get in the way of a good rant.
Never let the fact that he was only 34, still performed his own stunts in movies, and was classified 1-A by the Selective Service get in the way of what you want to believe.

- snopes

My Dad was one year older when he was drafted. But then his nickname wasn't "Duke".

--------------------
Of all the things I've lost,
I miss my mind the most.

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RichardM
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Urban Legend of my own :-)

Of the 3 actors, David Niven, Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne, two are genuine war heros. Which one did not ever serve?

And reading this thread, you know the answer.

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John Stephens
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by RichardM:
Urban Legend of my own :-)

Of the 3 actors, David Niven, Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne, two are genuine war heros. Which one did not ever serve?

And reading this thread, you know the answer.

As a former officer of the Highland Light Infanty who's nation was at war, David Niven's decision to return to service is commendable. However, I would point out that his acting career was in the toilet anyway due to his picking a fight with Sam Goldwyn. He could either go back to whiskey peddling, or rejoin the British Army.

Jimmy Stewart, however, was the genuine article. He left a successful acting career, actually had to fight to be allowed to enlist, due to medical problems. But in the end he was accepted, and served with distinction in the European Air Campaign.

And then there's John Wayne. The question is discussed extensively here.

I'd be willing to give him a pass, under the circumstances. And he probably did more for the war effort by making movies than by counting socks in a Quartermaster warehouse somewhere.

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Dive_Cecil
I Saw Three Shipments


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Corrected, I swear I remember something about a back injury from college football. Maybe that was why he was rejected earlier. Here's a correct link to Cecil's info (like I could argue with that page) on the Duke in WWII.

Cecil's Info

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Brandi
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by betcherass:
Hey, didn't John Wayne's autopsy report state that he had 40 pounds of shit in his colon?

Colon-a-chow
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DesertRat
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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John Wayne was a good actor and an American icon, but I've heard some sundry things about his personal character. I of course never really researched to learn if they were true or not, but I think of him in much the same regard as I think of other actors... I enjoy their performances and leave it at that.

To venture that "Sands of Iwo Jima," or really any movie, "saved" the Marine Corps is ludicrous. To be quite honest, if you can pin the "saving" of the Corps on any one event, it would have to be Gen MacArthur's amphibeous assault on Inchon. That event validated that assault from the sea was in fact still a viable military option in the nuclear age, and that no one was better equiped than the Marine Corps.

That being said, the Corps wasn't really in any grave danger. While notable bigwigs like President Truman and Gen Bradley didn't particularly care for the care, the National Security Act of 1947 had codified the existence of a Corps, its size, and its mission, into law. Only Congress could change that.

That being said, Inchon served as a vivid and valauble reminder of why America maintains a Corps of Marines.

--------------------
High on the wind, the Highland drums begin to roll, and something from the past just comes and stares into my soul... --Mark Knopfler

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overlord
The Red and the Green Stamps


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John Waynes movies shown to M/C recruits? [Confused]
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overlord
The Red and the Green Stamps


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John Waynes movies are shown to M/C recruits? [Confused] [Confused]
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DesertRat
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Urban legend, Overlord. (God, would that we could have watched ANY movies at OCS... ;D )

--------------------
High on the wind, the Highland drums begin to roll, and something from the past just comes and stares into my soul... --Mark Knopfler

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betcherass
The Red and the Green Stamps


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That colon-a-chow article made for some yuck reading...
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overlord
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Truman's first opportunity for reorganization of the military came when Secretary Forrestal suggested legislation increasing the permanent strength of the Marine Corps.

The papers recommended that the Marine Corps
be kept very small, and restricted to units no larger than a regiment.

Among the duties envisioned were, "to protect
United States citizens ashore in foreign countries and to provide interior guard of naval ships and naval shore establishments. [Confused] [Confused]

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overlord
The Red and the Green Stamps


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On 26 July 1947 The National Security Act was signed into
law by President Truman. The Marine Corps was organized to provide "fleet marine forces of combined armes, together with supporting air components, for service with the fleet in the
seizure or defense of advanced naval bases, and for the conduct of such land operations as may be essential to the prosecution of a naval campaign." [Eek!] [Eek!] [Eek!]

A different view came from Eisenhower. He described the
Marines as; "being so unsure of their value to their country
that they insisted on writing into the law a complete set of
rules and specifications for their future operations and
duties. Such freezing of detail...is silly, even vicious. [Confused] [Confused] [Confused]

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overlord
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Sgt Grit Marine Corps Newsletter - June 9, 2005
Subject: HOW JOHN WAYNE SAVED THE MARINES SgtMaj: MustangMudMarine ... The movie
was to be called "The Sands of Iwo Jima," and everybody agreed there was ... [Confused] [Confused] [Confused] [Confused] [Confused] [Confused] [Confused]
http://www.grunt.com/scuttlebutt/newsarchives/2005/jun_9.asp

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DesertRat
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Overlord;

With all due respect to Gen eisenhower, he is wrong.

No doubt there is always a sense of panic hidden just beneath the surface-- the Army has been trying to absorb us for so damned long, it's almost insitutional.

However, what Pres Truman, Gen Bradley, and Gen Eisenhower (all men I greatly admire and respect) failed to see was that the Corps was NOT a mini-Army-- it is an entirely different organization, with a completely different mission (a light, expeditionary force in readiness, as it were.) Only on rare occasions should the Army and the Corps' mission (and doctrine) overlap--the current example being Iraq, a situation in which I remain convinced that--despite a magnificent performance-- the Marines are essentially being misused to do an Army job.

That being said, the Corps and Army each offer up a very unique and powerful set of capabilities to the table. When used in tandem, vice in competition to eachother, the whole sum of "warfighting capability" greatly drawves the capabilities of either of its parts.

--------------------
High on the wind, the Highland drums begin to roll, and something from the past just comes and stares into my soul... --Mark Knopfler

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ASL
We Three Blings


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Now now DR, there's no need to get deffensive. All those guys are long dead, no one wants to take the Corps away. You'll always have a place in my Navy.

--------------------
"Dear Lord, please protect this rockethouse and all who dwell within..."

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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by ASL:
Now now DR, there's no need to get deffensive. All those guys are long dead, no one wants to take the Corps away. You'll always have a place in my Navy.

Let me get that for ya... [fish]

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by ASL:
Now now DR, there's no need to get deffensive. All those guys are long dead, no one wants to take the Corps away. You'll always have a place in my Navy.

[lol]

--------------------
"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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RangerDog
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Then you could be a Lieutenant again DR! HAR HAR!!!!! [Big Grin] [Big Grin]

RD

--------------------
Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish

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DesertRat
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Y'all are a laugh a minute, squids. [Big Grin] [Razz]

--------------------
High on the wind, the Highland drums begin to roll, and something from the past just comes and stares into my soul... --Mark Knopfler

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Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Waitaminute...

Isn't "Marine" just an acronym?

My
Ass
Really
Is
Naval
Equipment

*The lone Coastie runs to hide*

--------------------
Opinions aren't excuses to remain ignorant about subjects, nor are they excuses to never examine one's beliefs & prejudices...

Babies are like tattoos. You see other peoples' & they're cool, but yours is never as good & you can't get rid of it.

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DesertRat
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Okay, I'll play.

"ARMY"

Ain't
Ready for the
Marines
Yet

--------------------
High on the wind, the Highland drums begin to roll, and something from the past just comes and stares into my soul... --Mark Knopfler

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Roy012
Xboxing Day


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DR, take it easy on the Army. You may want a job when you're 50.

--------------------
"Excuse me, homes, but could you tell me how to get back to the interstate?"

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ASL
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Roy012:
DR, take it easy on the Army. You may want a job when you're 50.

Haven't you seen Rules of Engagement? When Marines retire, they teach at VMI.

--------------------
"Dear Lord, please protect this rockethouse and all who dwell within..."

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Salamander
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I forget what the Army guys call the Air Force personnel over here... but I know the RAAF guys loved to taunt the Army by calling them "mangoes".

Why?

It was explained to me like this: "Why is the Army like a mango?"

...

"Because they're both green on the outside and yellow on the inside."

--------------------
"victory thru self-deception"

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overlord
The Red and the Green Stamps


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NO MEMBER OF ANY BRANCH DESERVES TO BE CALLED YELLOW. You can thank a veteran for the freedoms you now enjoy. [Eek!] [Eek!] [Eek!] [Eek!]

Casualties by Branch of Service
Branch Serving In Vietnam % Fatalities % of Branch % of All Fatalities
Army 1407000 67 38,179 2.7 65.6
Marines 294000 14 14,836 5.0 25.5
Navy 126000 6 2,556 2.0 4.4
Air Force 273000 13 2,580 1.0 4.4
The figures show that of 2100000 men and women who served in Vietnam, 58,152 or 2.7% were killed. The Army suffered the most casualties, 38,179 or 66% of all casualties. As a branch of the US forces, however, the Marine Corps lost the highest percentage of its own men (5.0%) which in turn accounted for 25.5% of all casualties.

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Mistletoey Chloe
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Take a breath, overlord. Most of the people posting these comments are or were military. It's just a little friendly rivalry.

--------------------
~~Ai am in mai prrrrrraime!~~

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Gale
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by overlord:
NO MEMBER OF ANY BRANCH DESERVES TO BE CALLED YELLOW. You can thank a veteran for the freedoms you now enjoy.

As can you since you're conversing with half a dozen of them. Or should I say arguing with them.
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overlord
The Red and the Green Stamps


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OK--- [Confused] [Confused]
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Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Ahem, Overlord? Didn't you forget someone? There was a fifth military service over there...

--------------------
Opinions aren't excuses to remain ignorant about subjects, nor are they excuses to never examine one's beliefs & prejudices...

Babies are like tattoos. You see other peoples' & they're cool, but yours is never as good & you can't get rid of it.

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DesertRat
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Overlord, you can probably relax. This is just a bit of friendly ribbing betwee professionals is all. [Smile]

And Roy... that was a GREAT Burn. North Carolina, huh? Where are you stationed?

--------------------
High on the wind, the Highland drums begin to roll, and something from the past just comes and stares into my soul... --Mark Knopfler

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