Monday, September 24, 2012

Movie Stars in World War II Action

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Navy perpetrated a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, compelling the USA to enter into the horrific global conflict called World War II.

Many Hollywood movie stars were involved in military action during WWII.

JAMES STEWART (1908-1997) -- Enlisted in 1940 -- commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant after Pearl Harbor attack -- as a licensed pilot he trained other pilots -- appointed squadron commander in 1943 -- flew combat missions over Germany, leading 20 missions and participating in hundreds of other air strikes -- retired as an active member of the Air Force Reserve in the late 1950s as a Brigadier General.

CLARK GABLE (1901-1960) -- Joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 after the death of his wife, Carol Lombard -- assigned to aerial gunnery training -- commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant -- flew in operational missions over Europe in B-17s -- relieved of duty (over-age for combat) in 1944 at the rank of Major.

LEE MARVIN (1924-1987) -- Joined the Marines after being expelled from several prep schools -- was wounded during the Battle of Saipan, during which most of his company of Marines were killed -- wounded during the battle, he received a Purple Heart and was given a medical discharge at the rank of Private First Class.

TYRONE POWER (1914-1958) -- Enlisted in the Marines in 1942 -- having been an accomplished pilot prior to enlistment, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1943 -- he flew cargo into war zones in the Battle of Iwo Jima and the Battle of Okinawa, then flew wounded Marines out of the war zones -- released from duty in 1946 at the rank of Captain.

EARNEST BORGNINE (1917-2012) -- Joined the Navy in 1935 -- discharged in 1941, but re-enlisted after Pearl Harbor -- discharged again in 1945, after a total of 10 years in the Navy, at the rank of Gunner's Mate.

CHARLES BRONSON (1921-2003) -- Enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1943 -- served as an aerial gunner on B-29s -- saw action in Guam, Tinian and Saipan -- was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received in action.

EDDIE ALBERT (1906-2005) -- Prior to WWII, he worked in Mexico as a circus clown and high-wire artist while secretly working for Army Intelligence photographing German U-boats in Mexican Harbors -- enlisted in the Navy in 1942 -- awarded a Bronze Star for his actions during the Invasion of Tarawa in 1943 -- was the pilot of a landing craft that rescued 47 Marines while under heavy enemy fire.

AUDIE MURPHY (1924-1971) -- stood 5' 5" and enlisted in the Army after Pearl Harbor at age 16 by lying about his age -- became the most decorated soldier in World War II -- 33 medals, including the Congressional Medal of Honor -- his Medal of Honor citation reads as follows: "Second Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire, which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad that was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued his single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way back to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack, which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective."

Many other Hollywood actors were also active on military duty during in World War II, including George C. Scott, Brian Keith, John Russell, Robert Ryan, Charles Durning and others.

December 7, 2011, was the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. My father, Weston K. Burquest, passed on to the Great Beyond the following day, December 8, 2011, at age 92 -- Rest in Peace.

My father was conscripted (drafted) during World War II. He eventually became a flight instructor in the U.S. Army Air Force, training others to become pilots, and was discharged at the end of the war as a First Lieutenant. He was not an actor nor a hero -- just another one of the more than 11 million men who were called upon by their country to defend freedom and were inducted (drafted) into military service in WWII.

Only when the Power of Love overcomes the Love of Power, will there be Peace on Earth.

Quote for the Day -- "In peace, sons bury their fathers -- in war, fathers bury their sons." Herodotus

Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books, including THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY and 11:11 EARTH TIME (available on Amazon). He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where freedom is never free.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Death by Writing

Writing is a very risky business. You have to expose your soul to the world, then look at yourself in the mirror when the world fails to embrace your thoughts.

Ernest Hemingway, American Author (1899 - 1961) -- Committed suicide, shooting himself with his favorite shotgun.

Edgar Allen Poe, American Author (1809 - 1849) -- A drug-addicted drunkard, he was found lying unconscious on a street in Baltimore, wearing someone else's tattered clothes, and died a couple of days later in a hospital where he had remained incoherent as to what had happened to him.

Virginia Woolf, British Author (1882 - 1941) -- Was depressed, filled the pockets of her overcoat with stones and walked into the River Ouse where her body was discovered several days later.

Tennessee Williams, American Playwright (1911 - 1983) -- Choked to death on a bottle cap in a hotel room in New York. Barbiturates were found nearby in the room.

Jerzy Kosinski, Polish-American Author (1933 - 1991) -- Committed suicide by placing a plastic bag over his head and suffocating to death. His suicide note read, "I am going to put myself to sleep now for a bit longer than usual. Call it Eternity."

John O'Brien, American Author (1960 - 1994) -- Committed suicide by gunshot two weeks after the movie rights to his novel, LEAVING LAS VEGAS, were sold.

Anne Sexton, American Poet (1928 - 1974) -- A Pulitzer Prize winning poet who committed suicide after returning home from a luncheon engagement by donning her mother's old fur coat, removing all her rings, drinking a glass of vodka, locking herself in her garage and starting the engine of her car. Death by carbon monoxide poisoning.

John Berryman, American Poet (1914 - 1972) -- Having been hospitalized many times for depression and alcohol detox, he committed suicide by jumping from the Washington Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis into the Mississippi River.

Seth Morgan, American Author (1949 - 1990) -- The heir to the Ivory Soap fortune whose fiance at the time of his death was singer Janis Joplin, was arrested for DUI in New Orleans. The next day, he rode his motorcycle into a cement embankment below a New Orleans Bridge, with a high blood-alcohol level and cocaine in his system.

Leo Tolstoy, Russian Author (1828 - 1910) -- Gave away his wealth and abandoned his family to become a spiritual hermit whereupon he soon became ill at a railroad station and died shortly thereafter.

Vachel Lindsay, American Poet (1879 - 1931) -- Depressed by failing health and financial woes, he committed suicide by drinking a bottle of lye. His last words were, "They tried to get me -- I got them first."

Maxwell Bodenheim, American Author (1893 - 1954) -- Known as the King of the Greenwich Village Bohemians, he and his wife were murdered by an insane dishwasher in a room they were sharing a few blocks from the Bowery. Maxwell was shot twice in the chest, while his wife was beaten and stabbed four times in the back. The dishwasher later confessed, "I ought to get a medal. I killed two Communists."

Sergei Yesenin, Russian Poet (1895 - 1925) -- An alcoholic who suffered a mental breakdown and was hospitalized for two months. Two days after his release, he slit his wrist, wrote a farewell poem in his own blood, then hanged himself in his hotel room in Leningrad. The title of his final poem was DO SVIDANIA DRUG MOI which translates to "Goodbye my friend."

Hart Crane, American Poet (1899 - 1932) -- A heavy drinker suffering bouts of depression, he was en route from Mexico to New York on a steamship where he had been beaten after making sexual advances toward a male crew member. He had been drinking heavily and jumped overboard, shouting, "Good-bye everybody" as he fell into the Gulf of Mexico.

Richard Brautigan, American Author (1835 - 1984) -- While living alone in a large house overlooking the Pacific Ocean, he died from a self-inflicted .44 Magnum gunshot wound to the head. He body was not discovered until several weeks later. The suicide note simply read, "Messy, isn't it?"

For some, writing is therapy.

For others, writing is a long good-bye.

Quote for the Day -- "Writing a novel is like making love, but it's also like having a tooth pulled. Pleasure and Pain." Dean Koontz

Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books, including THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY and 11:11 EARTH TIME (available on Amazon). He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where the true Art of Writing is creating something that will be read twice.