Marines Hardest Hit in WWII
30 having been decreed as a day to honor the dead, and
particularly those who lost their lives in the nation’s
battles, I’d like to offer some official government
statistics contained in a release from the U.S. Maritime
These figures are for combat-related deaths during World War II. For the Marines,
it was 1 in every 34; for the Army, it was one in every 48; for the Navy, it
was one in every 114; and for the Coast Guard, it was 1 in every 421.
But for the U.S. Merchant Marine? It was — officials at the Kings Point,
New York, academy report — 1 in every 25. Hardest hit, they add, was the
class of 1944, who went to sea before their academic training was completed.
Proud ex-merchant mariner Wells Bain, who later found driving a cab somewhat — but
not altogether — less dangerous, called these statistics to my attention.
• • •
I had to do was recall those inexpensive — by present
standards, anyway — Hangtown fries at the Rosemount Grill,
and presto: I triggered others’ memories of their favorite
meals right here in River City. Writing from her retirement
home in Seattle, Dorothy Kennedy had a vivid recollection
minestrone which my husband and I used to scarf up at …” At
that point Dorothy hit a partial mental block.
“I remember the place as the Clunie,” she writes, “floating
in the fog of my long-term memory, Bedell’s.”
Actually, she was correct on both counts. What she was referring to was the Clunie
Coffee Shop — an adjunct of the hotel which has been supplanted by the
Darth Vader building at 8th & J streets — and the manager was the same
Ed Bedell who later had Bedell’s at 11th and L.
• • •
of the more entertaining evening’s we’ve enjoyed
of late was spent viewing a 10th anniversary production of the
River Stage Theater at Cosumnes
River College. Fittingly, it was a reprise of “Mrs. California,” a
comedy by Doris Baizley, which happened to be the very first River Stage
production in 1995.
It was at the urging of River Stage production director Frank Condon’s
wife Kim that the revival was staged for the anniversary celebration. It also
was Kim, he wrote in a program note, who had urged “Mrs. Calfornia” as
the first production in 1995, even sewing the costumes for the budgetless
Sadly, Kim was unable to enjoy the anniversary restaging. She died on February
• • •
late friend Al McCook, a Marine who served in WWII, Korea and
Vietnam, had an autographed photo in his den of Maj. Gen. Smedley
Butler, inherited from his
own father, who served with Butler back in the first two decades of the
Al’s gone now, and so too, of course, is Smedley Butler,
but just recently someone sent me a statement the general made
“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service as a member
of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps.
I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major General.
that period I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for
Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers.
“In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”
The general goes on to say he “helped make Mexico, especially Tampico,
safe for American oil interests in 1914 … helped make Haiti and Cuba a
decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in … helped
in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics … helped purify
Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 … brought
light to the Dominican Republic for American interests in 1916 … (and)
in China I helped to see that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.”
Of course, I’ll never live long enough to see it happen, but I can’t
help wondering if the day will come when some retired four-star U.S.
general in his memoirs will look back on what he did in the Mideast for
• • •
go through one of those soul-searing personnel evaluations
at your place of work? Harrowing, wasn’t it? But it could
have been worse if you were the subject of some of these
written by federal government
“Since my last report this employee has reached rock bottom and has started
“I would not allow this employee to breed.”
“This employee is not so much of a has-been, but more of a definite won’t-be.”
“Works well under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.”
“When she opens her mouth, it seems that it is only to challenge feet.”
“This young lady has delusions of adequacy.”
“This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.”
“This employee should go far, and the sooner he starts, the better.”
“He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve
“A gross ignoramus — 144 times worse than an ordinary one.”
“When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell.”
retiring from a long and respected career with The Sacramento
Bee, Stan Gilliam found that he just couldn't stop writing. So
his "Stan's Sacramento" column to the Spectrum, where
it has been a favorite of readers for 15 years ... and counting.
Focus 55-Plus Aging
• • •
TOP | HOME
This page and its contents ©2005 Metropolitan
News Company, Inc.