Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Military service records of VIP soldiers now available

Photo of Bill Mauldin by Fred Palumbo, Library of Congress.

Via the George W. Reilly's Veterans Journal in the January 18, 2010 Providence Journal:

"Ever wonder about the military careers of famous people such as politicians Spiro Agnew, Ronald Reagan or George Wallace? Or maybe NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong, cowboy movie hero Gene Autry or cartoonist Charles Schulz, to name a few?

"The National Personnel Records Center has released a list of some 3,000 prominent former military service men and women whose service records may now be obtained under the Freedom of Information Act"

There are a lot of cartoonists who may be on that list.

Mort Walker (who doodled the "Kilroy Was Here" sketch above), for instance, who would become head of security for Ordnance Base #1 in Naples, overseeing 10,000 German POWs.

Here's a bit from MORT WALKER'S SCRAPBOOK 1945-46:

"So here I was, a teenage kid with no training and no one supervising me, I was dumped into these jobs. I stopped things like those that happened in Iraqi prison camps from happening. I found people beating up on people and I said, 'Stop that now, I m not going to have any of that.' They would beat up on someone and say, 'Hey, Lieutenant, it’s your turn,' and I would say, 'Stop this now, this is not the way I want to run the place.' There was no instruction, no one told me that. The tendency of a lot of people is to use power when they have it and it isn’t pretty. I feel very lucky I didn’t have to see the horrible side of war."
More at the online edition of The Stamford Historical Society Presents Pride and Patriotism: Stamford’s Role in World War II.

Hat tip to Three Men in a Tub

1 comment:

David King said...

I nominate Mort Walker for Secretary of Defense!