Accepted for publication in the

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

October 6, 1999



Once again it has become apparent that war is a horrific experience and that American troops are not immune nor excluded from participation in the accompanying obscenities…. However, there is an exception to this observation which I and others have trumpeted for decades, only to be disregarded or dismissed with infuriating and obnoxious disregard by the leadership in the Pentagon. 

    American GI’s were sent to Korea untrained, undisciplined, fearful and completely misled by inexperienced, incompetent officers.  These men were thrust into combat, with complete indifference and disregard by the then "emperor" of Japan, Douglas MacArthur.  Despite the General’s knowledge of the inadequacy of his troops and of his field commanders, his egotistic and narcissistic personality prevailed – and the slaughter began. 

    The exception to this fatal fiasco was the U.S. Marine Corps.  Personal knowledge with the 5th Marines in Korea, from Inchon to the horrors of the Chosin only reinforces my observations and conclusions.  The Marines were well-trained, but more to the point, the leadership from 2nd Lieutenant to General was superb.  Officer-pilots stationed among the ground units directed bombing and strafing runs only under direct orders from the regimental commander.  We destroyed the enemy…not women and children.  We were trained professionals. 

    As for refugees, no columns of fleeing civilians were allowed to pass through our ranks.  Never.  These unfortunate fugitives from the military action fled, albeit with difficulty, at least four hundred yards distant, to the right or left of our advancing troops, never too close to pose a deliberate threat to us from infiltrators.  We were trained professionals. 

    The U.S. Marine is no wunderkind.  He is a proud disciplined young man led by officers of such superior caliber that should put the Army personnel to shame.  To disregard this disparity only demonstrates the eventual possibility of disgraceful, dishonorable and depraved behavior of frightened children with deadly weapons.