Letters from Readers- Armchair General January 2015 | HistoryNet MENU

Letters from Readers- Armchair General January 2015

2/10/2017 • HistoryNet

GI Gourmets’ “Main Course”

I recently received this photo from Don Jones, the trooper on the right in the photo with his squad mate Butch Lovejoy. Between them is the wild boar referenced in my article “Gourmet Grunts, 1969- 70” in the January 2013 issue of Armchair General. Butch and Don had been on one of our ambushes on the Cambodian border the night before, when this wild boar wandered into the kill zone, tripped the flares and got himself shot up by the M-60 gunner and a couple of riflemen. As the article pointed out, we backhauled his carcass and our battalion mess sergeant turned him into a delightful gumbo. Wish we’d had this photo at the time of the article’s printing!



ACG Teaching Leadership

Major Dan Tower holds a copy of the January 2014 issue of Armchair General that he uses in his U.S. Army Command and General Staff College leadership classes. General Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower is used as an example of a successful “organizational-level” leader. The article “Eisenhower Under Fire, 1944-45” in that issue provides excellent examples of how Ike was able to lead in a complex joint and combined organization, building a coalition and teams. Major Tower has been an ACG subscriber since his tour in Iraq, where he used the You Command tactics problems to train his subordinate officers.



 Ike, U.S. Presidents “Under Fire”

The article “Eisenhower Under Fire” in the January 2014 issue that describes the many attacks on Ike by members of the British high command prompted me to ask: While in command of Allied armies, how close did Eisenhower come to the front lines? Did he ever personally come under enemy fire?

In a related subject, Ralph Peters’ article “Rebels at the Gates” in the July issue describes the July 1864 Battle of Monocacy. A few days after that battle, President Abraham Lincoln traveled from Washington, D.C., to observe the Confederate attack on Fort Stevens and was fired upon. This is the famous incident wherein Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. shouted, “Get down, you damn fool!” I believe the only other incident of a serving president coming under enemy fire occurred during the War of 1812, when James Madison was fired upon by the British at the August 1814 Battle of Bladensburg.



Carlo D’Este, author of the book Eisenhower: A Soldier’s Life, replies that except for a 1943 German air attack on a unit in North Africa during Ike’s visit, he does not know of another time that Ike was in any real danger. However, D’Este points out that Ike was at fairly serious risk of attack during his unescorted eight hour drives by staff car from his Algiers headquarters to the front in Tunisia in 1943. These trips were through open country, where an attack would have put Ike in “pretty serious trouble.”

MacArthur’s Medal of Honor

As a Canadian, I enjoy your magazine immensely. Articles are always very informative and based on facts, not necessarily opinions. Of particular interest to me is the Uncommon Valor section. I’m amazed by the valor shown by many warriors who have been recognized withyour country’s highest award,the Medal of Honor.

What I have found troubling over the years is the awarding of a Medal of Honor to General Douglas MacArthur. He sat in a fortress and left in a PT boat. Where is the valor, as the fight for the Philippines continued for two months after he left under the leadership of General Wainwright? Heroes such as Joe Basilone and Teddy Roosevelt rightfully received their awards under direct enemy fire, as have many warriors over time. To me, MacArthur’s award diminishes the true meaning of the Medal of Honor.



MacArthur’s May 1942 award of the Medal of Honor (MOH) was at the instigation of Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall, principally to counteract any Japanese propaganda criticizing MacArthur for leaving his Philippines command in March at President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s direct order, but also to recognize the valiant defense of Bataan and Corregidor mounted by MacArthur’s American and Filipino troops.

Clearly, MacArthur realized the larger purpose of receiving his MOH and upon accepting it graciously stated, “This award was intended not so much for me personally as it is a recognition of the indomitable courage of the gallant army which it was my honor to command.” In fact, twice previously he had been deservedly nominated but unfairly denied the MOH for heroism above and beyond the call of duty in combat during the U.S. occupation of Veracruz (1914) and World War I (1918).

Monocacy National Battlefield

I took a copy of the July 2014 issue of Armchair General up to Monocacy National Battlefield, but found that someone had already stopped by to give them a Xeroxed blackand-white copy of Ralph Peters’ article “Rebels at the Gates!” on the Battle of Monocacy from that issue. Nonetheless, the park ranger and staff were excited to get a full copy of the magazine for their files. This photo was taken at the Best Farm on the battlefield.




Originally published in the January 2015 issue of Armchair General.

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