Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Semper Fi - Midway Edition

Recollections of Commander John Ford, USNR, Oscar-winning Hollywood producer and Chief of the Field Photographic Branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), concerning his experiences making combat motion pictures under battle conditions.

The Marines with me - I took one look at them and I said, "Well this war was won." They were kids, oh, I would say from 18 to 22, none of them were older. They were the calmest people I have ever seen. They were up there popping away with rifles [Marines at that time were armed with bolt-action M1903 .30-caliber rifles], having a swell time and none of them were alarmed. I mean the thing [a Japanese bomb] would drop through, they would laugh and say "My God that one was close." I figured then, "Well, if these kids are American kids, I mean this war is practically won."

I was really amazed, I thought that some kids, one or two would get scared, but no, they were, they were having a time of their lives. Each one of the eight claimed he had brought down a [Japanese] plane with rifle fire. They certainly fired enough at them, they had a good time. Of the 18 [Japanese bombs] dropped around the power house, one finally grazed the corner off and filled the place full of smoke and that caused these kids to start looking for me. They came in and bandaged me up and said, "Don't go near that Navy doctor, we will take care of you, this guy over here, Jones, is a swell doctor." Talking right under fire like that, it was very interesting.

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