Joe Foss


January 29, 2003, 02:32 PM
For those of you that belong to the American Legion I urge you to read the interview of Gen. Foss from just before he passed away. It is in this months issue of "The American Legion magazine". The part about airport security shows just how STUPID the government can be! If you are not a member I urge you to borrow a copy from someone that is!

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January 29, 2003, 02:35 PM
Don't judge the intelligence of "the government" by the actions of a few baggage screeners.

January 29, 2003, 02:53 PM
I imagine that General Foss is sitting around a table with Ike, Audey Murphy, Doug McArthur, Al York, George Patton and a few others, hoisting a mug of the heavenly nectar, and singing "God Bless America."

I'll bet he's already forgiven the idiots that hassled him, and probably even asked "The Boss" to do so as well.

Gods' speed Joe! You will never be forgotten.

January 29, 2003, 03:06 PM
Don't judge the intelligence of "the government" by the actions of a few baggage screeners.

I work for 'the government' and see things daily that make me cringe.

Art Eatman
January 29, 2003, 03:12 PM
Spackler, the baggage screeners are the smart ones.

The thing about guys like Foss and Boyington and such is that they have served as examples of what real grownups can and should be like. It's a shame that more of these guys didn't live longer...

However, any combat vet who puts out a little effort to speak of the "eternal verities" should also be respected for what many don't realize is an effort at teaching reality.


January 29, 2003, 09:43 PM

The following I will preface with; I feel the man was a hero and a great aviator. But after reading his own account of himself, I feel that I must concur with the man's own veiw of himself that he was NOT a role model. So I no more defame his character than he himself already did. I admire his accomplishments, but he's not in the same realm as Foss.

Art, you ever read Boyington's Auto-Bio (Baa Baa Black sheep)?? The man pretty much comes out and says that regardless of the accomplishments that made him a household name that he was by absolutely no stretch of the imagination a ROLE MODEL. he was in his own words "a drunk bum, who got lucky" his flying skills were not in question, but he never wanted and went so far as to discourage anyone trying to show him as a man to be emulated.

last time I looked VMF-214 was still baring the motto "heroes of wake island" (I may have the wrong island) and NOT "black sheep" the marine corps doesn't want the "official data" of the squadron reflecting Boyington's time at the helm, in fact the Corps was embarrassed when they found out he survived his shoot down! Sadly, if the corps had known of his survival, most likely Boyington would NOT have received the Medal of Honor. Or at least would not have been held up as a "Shining example of a Marine" as he was during the short time between his shoot down and the end of the war. After the war they made a distinct effort to sweep him under the rug and make him go away.

it is one thing to remember the "Heroes" of our past for what they accomplished, it is entirely another to let those accomplishments make us blind to the basic truth that they were all HUMAN, and as such flawed just like the rest of us. Many, like Foss, continued to accomplish things as they moved on in life, and were for the most part decent men. But sadly for all of us who know and admire his combat record, Boyington was by his own reckoning a bum. And while he might abide being placed next to Foss with regard to their both being "fighter pilot recipients of the MOH", he would call to task any man who wanted to hold him up as an Example of anything but "how an alcoholic can become a hero by accident".

My apologies to those that I know this must have offended, but Pappy was my hero too, but he was not a superman, but a simple man with a gift. And a common curse :(

That said, I will look for and try to obtain a copy of the American legion interview of Foss

January 29, 2003, 10:09 PM
You missed the big picture, Detritus.

He was an alcoholic bum, who honorably did great things in spite of it. Then when the limelight of fame shone on him, he said "I'm just an alcoholic bum who got lucky. I'm NOT a role model," or something of the sort.

And THAT's why he IS a role model. He faced down the elephant AND himself, then judged his past very much lacking in what it should have been.

A part of a combat pilot's creed is "God, let me learn from the mistakes of others so I don't have to make them myself." True to that, he said "Don't make my mistakes."

At great risk to himself, my very best flight instructor showed me things he wasn't allowed to teach in a high performance aircraft transition. His unspoken charge was "teach others." When I became an IP, I did, and I realized that a brotherhood of combat pilots existed that would not be broken.

I think I understand Boyington, and he WAS and still IS a great role model for everybody to learn from his mistakes and his successes.

Art Eatman
January 29, 2003, 10:22 PM
Detritus, those days of the late 1930s and then particularly early 1942 were dark, dark, dark.

Many men went off to war, not having the first clue if we'd win. It wasn't like Korea or Vietnam, where we knew that some form of loss would not mean a foreign takeover of our whole country. Further, the term of enlistment was "for the duration", regardless of how long that would take--nobody knew. WW II was for sure a war where nobody here said, "We'll have the boys home by Christmas."

Some of these men rose above their pasts, above their civilian character or style and did heroic deeds.

My father was a fairly irresponsible (bleep) before he went off to war at age 33. War changed him. D-Day changed a lot of folks. Some stayed with the change; some did not.

So what I respect is the way these folks did serve as examples. They didn't whine, they didn't run, they went out and took on a miserable job and did it well.

And the Fosses and the Boyingtons did it even better.

We rememmber Ira Hayes for helping raise the flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima. Not for his tragic post-war life and death.

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