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 Author  Topic: I love this old letter from Admiral Forrestal . . .
54scooper

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 19, 2014 - 11:08am
I know it's a form letter, but the wording is so compelling, starting with, My dear Lieutenant (jg) Cooper to you deserve to be proud as long as you live. . .

Just classy . . .




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Pat Rogers

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Pat Rogers  Posted on: Jul 19, 2014 - 12:11pm
The Forrestal I knew back in the 1940's was a civilian, serving as the Secretary of the Navy. He was not an Admiral


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54scooper

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 19, 2014 - 1:04pm
I stand corrected. I knew there was a Forrestal class of aircraft carriers and assumed that they were named for an admiral (such as Spruance class destroyers named forAdmiral Raymond Spruance and the Nimitz class of aircraft carriers named for Admiral Chester Nimitz).


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Drew Cook

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Drew Cook  Posted on: Jul 20, 2014 - 1:56pm
I knew a fellow long ago who claimed he encountered Secretary Forrestal on Iwo Jima...

According to my accquaintance, Jim O'Reilly, who had been in the pre-war Marine Corps, Forrestal was with (of course) a command group, which had stopped by O'Reilly's area. Forrestal asked O'Reilly something like "What do you think (about the battle), Marine?"

Can't remember what O'Reilly told me he said to Forrestal, but I seem to remember it was in the (respectfully) obscene positive...




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54scooper

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 20, 2014 - 3:42pm
Thanks, Drew. Your friends account of seeing Forrestal at Iwo Jima rings true. From Wikipedia:

"Forrestal traveled to combat zones to see naval forces in action. He was in the South Pacific in 1942, present at the Battle of Kwajalein in 1944, and (as Secretary) witnessed the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. After five days of pitched battle, a detachment of Marines was sent to hoist the American flag on the 545-foot summit of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. This was the first time in the war that the U.S. flag had flown on Japanese soil. Forrestal, who had just landed on the beach, claimed the historic flag as a souvenir."

Forrestal's death is the fodder of conspiracy theorists. After being asked to resign by President Truman, Forrestal suffered depression for which he was treated at Bethesda Naval Hospital in suburban D.C. He jumped to his death from his 16th story hospital room on May 22, 1949.


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David Waples

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of David Waples  Posted on: Jul 20, 2014 - 9:41pm
A family treasure for sure. Thanks for sharing.
Dave

David Waples

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snickers54

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 21, 2014 - 5:06am
Thanks, Dave. I have a similar letter from President Truman that I will upload to Photobucket and post later. Being a fellow Missourian, Truman was a favorite of my Dad.


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Drew Cook

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Drew Cook  Posted on: Jul 21, 2014 - 2:30pm
More on my accquaintance Jim O'Reilly...

He was a tough, bantam rooster type of guy, about 5'6" from New Jersey, and had joined the Marine Corps before WWII. He told me several stories about his service that I remember, the Forrestal meeting on Iwo Jima being one of them.

Another was his putting a "flap," or bending the front brim of his campaign hat up, when just a rookie out of boot camp -- which was supposedly only the mark of a veteran Marine. He said a couple of salty Marines approached him and asked belligerently "Where'd you get that flap?" O'Reilly gave them an obscene answer, and they fought. I asked O'Reilly what happened after that, and he grinned and said "I kept the flap!"

O'Reilly was with the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal, and he said they developed a technique for rapidly working the actions and firing their bolt-action '03 Springfield rifles. They'd pull the trigger with the middle finger, flip the bolt up and back with the index finger, then throw it back and down with the thumb, getting back on the trigger quickly with the middle finger again to fire. He demonstrated this to me, and his hand and fingers were a blur. He said with practice, it almost sounded like a short burst of slow cyclic-rate automatic fire, and they got the five rounds in their clips out "pretty quick."

The last story I remember was of him describing getting hit by a Japanese 7.7 round on Guadalcanal. He said he was runnning between positions under fire, and thought he tripped over a vine. He got back in his foxhole. and noticed his foot in his boondocker was squishing, which he thought was odd because at the time his feet "were dry, for the first time in days." He looked in his boot and it was full of blood. He lifted his pants leg and saw a hole through and through his calf. I asked him if it hurt, and he told me "Not until I saw it!"


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54scooper

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 22, 2014 - 8:20pm
Thanks, Drew. O'Reilly sounds like one "salty" Marine, probably pretty typical for "Leathernecks" from that era. I've never heard that story about operating the '03 Springfield in that manner. Facinating technique. Wonder how accurate they were with that method of operating the bolt? Heck, I wasn't aware that the Marines still used the old Springfield in World War II. I just assumed they used the M-1 from the "gitgo." In researching the history of the old Springfield rifle, I found that the USMC used them in some of the early battles in the Pacific, Guadalcanal being one of them.


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