Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hollywood Patriots

Two terms that don't necessarily go together in modern times. But in World War Two, many of the greats put down their costumes and stage makeup and went into the military. Les Poitras sent this information to me today, and it is well worth posting. Thanks, Les.

I did attempt to verify the content, as many emails contain false information. After all, the story about Bob 'Captain Kangaroo' Keeshan saving Lee Marvin's life on Iwo is urban legend, as is the story of mild-mannered children's show host Fred (Mr. Rogers) Rogers being a Marine sniper. From what I can tell, the list below is accurate.

Alec Guinness (Star Wars~Bridge over the River Kwai)-- operated a British Royal Navy landing craft on D-Day.

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

Donald Pleasance (The Great Escape) really was an R. A. F. pilot who was shot down and became a POW.

David Niven was a Sandhurst graduate and Lt. Colonel of the British Commandos in Normandy.

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.

Clark Gable (Hollywood's top 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' Candidate School 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 he flew operational missions over Europe in B-17s.

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

Charles Bronson was a tail gunner in the Army Air Corps, more specifically on B-29s 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 battle on the island of Tarawa in the Pacific Nov. 1943.

Brian Keith served as a U.S. Marine rear gunner in several actions against the Japanese on Rabaul in the Pacific.

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

Robert Ryan was a U.S. Marine who served with the OSS in Yugoslavia.

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, bit cowboy parts, became the most decorated serviceman of WWII and earned too many medals to list, but some are: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, 2 Silver Star Medals, Legion of Merit, 2 Bronze Star Medals with "V", 2 Purple Hearts, Four Bronze Service Stars (representing nine campaigns), French Legion of Honor, Grade of Chevalier, French Croix de Guerre, Belgian Croix de Guerre.

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