Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Weekly Standard on Pappy

The Weekly Standard has an excellent article on Pappy Boyington and the recent UW controversy. It is well worth a read.

Because the Japanese did not report the names of prisoners held at Ofuna, the Marines listed Boyington as missing in action. The flyer's Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously, or so the Marine Corps thought. Above Franklin Roosevelt's signature on the citation appear these words: "Consistently outnumbered throughout successive hazardous flights over heavily defended hostile territory, Major Boyington struck at the enemy with daring and courageous persistence, leading his squadron into combat with devastating results to Japanese shipping, shore installations and aerial forces. A superb airman and determined fighter against overwhelming odds. . . ." Boyington also earned the Navy Cross.

After twenty months at the Ofuna Camp, Pappy Boyington and the other prisoners were liberated. He weighed 100 pounds, down 90 from his normal weight. He left the service in 1947. He could not find work at first, but then was hired on as a wrestling referee and a beer salesman. Alcoholism dogged him much of the remainder of his life. He died in 1988, aged 75. Marine Corps F-4s performed a missing-man-flyby as his body was lowered into the ground at Arlington National Cemetery.