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View Diary: The most important lesson I learned in the Navy...that many in Congress never learned. (Updated) (261 comments)

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  •  Ice Blue, my dad is a retired Marine who served (0+ / 0-)

    in Korea with the 1st Marines as a 1st Sgt, and he revered MacArthur and still does (although his admiration is tempered with perspective now).  We had the "Old Soldiers Never Die" speech framed on our wall growing up!  US Army General Almond was the one they hated with a passion.   And Marine General O.P. Smith was their hero for pushing back at Almond on their behalf.  (that's all from memory, I hope I got the names right)  

    I will check with Dad and see if he's read Halberstam yet.  I personally share Halberstam's opinion of MacArthur in Korea, although he was brilliant in Japan.

    •  General Smith was one of the heros of Korea. (3+ / 0-)

      He was one of the guys who did his damnedest not to follow MacArthur's orders when he thought they would get his Marines pointlessly killed.   After the war either he or Chesty Puller said he was sure Smith would have been discharged for insubordination if he was Army rather than a Marine.

      Almond was a MacArthur staff puke.  He got his way with temper tantrums or by telling on you to his sugardaddy Doug.  In Korea he lived in a heated trailer, washed up with hot water, and ate three hot meals a day served on a starched white tablecloth.  Our Marine officers were appalled by that.  So was Matthew Ridgway so he put a stop to it.  Ridgway personally couldn't stand Almond and only kept him because at least he could count on Almond to attack when told, unlike most of the rest of the Army generals.

      Another thing about Matthew Ridgway--after our cease fire was declared in Korea, the French asked us to help them out in another small Asian nation.  The Air Force and Navy were itching to go.  Right when it looked like Ike was going to send some of our troops he got word of a certain paper that was circulating among Army officers in the Pentagon.  It turned out someone had already planned for every contingency in that small country, and he didn't like the results.  After Ike read a copy he said no to the French.  That's how Ridgway kept us out of Vietnam for almost a decade.

      Never meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.--Bruce Graham

      by Ice Blue on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 03:53:42 PM PST

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      •  Thanks so much for the history lesson! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ice Blue

        I will make sure Dad reads your post, and will dig out my copy of The Longest Winter and get started on it!

      •  MacArthur advised JFK, stay out of Vietnam (0+ / 0-)

        When President Kennedy was pressured by the Pentagon, Congress (really everybody in Washington) to escalate in Vietnam, he'd tell them,  "You'll have to convince General MacArthur before you can convince me".

        •  So did Lt. Gen. James Gavin. He was another (0+ / 0-)

          highly decorated 82nd Airborne leader.  (Did you ever see the movie about Operation Market Garden, A Bridge Too Far?  He was played by Ryan O'Neil.)  He always knew it was a mistake to meddle in Vietnam.

          I met him in the early '80s.  Politically, he was definitely a liberal.    

          Never meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.--Bruce Graham

          by Ice Blue on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 09:55:45 AM PST

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