November 2019 Readers' Letters

November 2019 Readers’ Letters

Aleutian Campaign
[Re. “Aleutian Battleground,” by Jon Guttman, January 2019:] May I call your attention to The Storm on Our Shores, by Mark Obmascik, a 2019 book that goes into great detail about the Attu campaign from the viewpoint of two participants who collided there?

It is the story of a Japanese college student and physician who was drafted into the Imperial Army and ultimately sent to Attu and an American GI who as a prewar enlistee eventually found himself as part of the invasion force. Educated and trained in the United States, the physician had returned to Japan in the late 1930s for family reasons. He was pro-American and spiritually a pacifist.

It is a well-documented story, with accounts from the Japanese doctor’s survivors, as well as his own writings and journals, and accounts from the still surviving (at the time of the book’s writing) American GI. I highly recommend it. It’s a very interesting story from the participants’ standpoints and gives more detail than I have ever read on the Attu campaign and some on the aftermath on Kiska.

Wayne Stiles
Berrien Springs, Mich. 

Farragut’s Foster
In William John Shepherd’s article “The Capture of New Orleans, 1862” (What We Learned From…, September 2019) the editors inserted a note that Capt. David Farragut was U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler’s foster brother. Farragut was actually U.S. Navy Cmdr. David Dixon Porter’s foster brother. We regret the error.

‘Mad Mike’ Hoare
I enjoy reading the many and varied articles in your magazine. [Re. “Mad Mike and His Wild Geese,” by Don Hollway, March 2019:] The Congo relief mission regarding Belgian paras and mercenaries sounded very much like the one told to me almost 25 years ago.

I was working as a personnel director in a large suburban school system on a project with the assistant director of transportation, who was a retired U.S. Air Force major. During a short break he told me of a flight he was on during the fighting in the Congo. He described being a navigator on an Air Force transport plane flying a relief mission to rescue missionaries being threatened by rebels. He said the armed forces being transported were French Foreign Legionnaires and mercenaries. He thought he remembered the merc leader was Irish. I asked him specifically if he was on a U.S.-crewed plane carrying French and mercenary troops on a relief mission in the Congo. I also asked him if the merc leader could have been Mike Hoare. He said yes to the first question and possibly to the second.

A wedding I attended about 35 years ago provided another interesting tie-in with the Hoare article. At the wedding of a colleague’s daughter I had the privilege of talking with the father of my colleague. He was retired from the Army and had spent a lot of his career in a Panama training camp. He told me he had assisted in the training of the Bolivian rangers who captured Che Guevara. What a tie-in—Mike and Che are certainly two famous warriors of the 20th century.

Allen Bower
Statham, Ga.

Like Father, Like Son
In “Waking the Hermit” [March 2019] Joseph F. Callo crafted an informative story. Lt. Hugh McKee, the only American officer killed in the battle [of Ganghwa, Korea], was from Lexington, Ky. The U.S. Navy preserved his body, and it was returned to Lexington. The body is buried in the Lexington Cemetery under an elaborate monument. The Fletcher-class destroyer USS McKee (DD-575) was named for McKee. Hugh McKee’s father was Col. William R. McKee, who commanded the 2nd Kentucky in the Mexican War. Col. McKee was killed at the Battle of Buena Vista and is buried beside the Kentucky Military Monument in the Frankfort Cemetery.

Charles H. Bogart
Frankfort, Ky.

 

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