Thursday, February 16, 2006

"Pappy" Boyington letter update

Below is the final draft of the open letter I wrote in answer to the recent decision of the University of Washington's student government to quash a proposal to erect a small monument to Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, a beloved Marine Corps legend.

One-hundred-fourteen Marine veterans have signed the letter which I will submit to the university president, student government president and campus newspaper at first business tomorrow.

The letter and its signatories are below. Please note that participation in the letter should not be taken as a sign of support for CAC.

An open letter to the students, faculty and staff of the University of Washington:

According to the University of Washington student government, university alumnus Gregory "Pappy" Boyington is not a person university students should strive to emulate and he should not be honored with a memorial on campus because as a Marine Corps officer, he was a "rich white man" who killed the enemies he fought.

As veterans of the Marine Corps who have dedicated our lives to the defense of America, we find the student government's position deeply offensive and hypocritical. The exchange of ideas that is the hallmark of an American academic institution is the product of America's protection of the freedom of the mind. Without that freedom, the university itself ceases to exist.

Yet during the Second World War, the freedom of the mind was under deliberate attack by the forces of fascism and military dictatorship. American victory was only achieved because of the great courage, skill, and commitment of those who fought-a group of men and women who often won their battles at a great personal cost.

Few better personify the history of this struggle than Colonel "Pappy" Boyington. A maverick leader, Boyington assembled one of the most effective air wings in the Pacific theater of battle and was personally responsible for twenty-eight aerial victories over Japanese fighters. As commander of the famous "Black Sheep" squadron, Boyington led a formation of twenty-four Marine fighters over a Japanese airbase where sixty hostile aircraft were grounded. There, Boyington and his men persistently circled the airdrome and shot down twenty Japanese fighters without the loss of a single American aircraft. Later shot down himself and captured by the Japanese, Boyington endured twenty harrowing months as a prisoner of war.

Yet in final victory, Boyington bore no hatred toward his former enemy, and even credited a Japanese woman for saving him from death by starvation while he was a prisoner. A grateful nation chose to honor Boyington with the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross, America's two top awards for heroism and valor under fire.

In the face of such achievement, it is inconceivable to us that the students of today's University of Washington would throttle an attempt to honor one of their university's most famous and illustrious alumni. The university community stands in part due to the deeds of this giant, yet today it seems all Boyington's memory receives from the university is malice and false witness.

Worse, these curses against Boyington's name come at a time when a new generation of Americans are locked in a life-and-death struggle with an enemy no less as tyrannical than the one Boyington had to face. Will this new generation of American servicemen and women be denied the inspiration of the University of Washington's great alumnus because a handful of students blanch at the thought of killing an enemy who is trying to kill us and are wedded to a pet ideology that slanders courage?

We, the undersigned hope not. We urge our fellow Americans to remember Boyington as a unique American hero, worthy of emulation, and we urge the students of the University of Washington to redress the injustice its student government has committed against a great hero's memory.

Andrew G. Adams, Sergeant '77-'91
Robert Adao, Chief Warrant Officer 3 '73-'97
Daniel Bailey, Corporal '67-'68
Dr. Andrew S. Berry, PhD, Private '82
Robert J. Bennett, Master Sergeant '66-'92
Gregory J. Bertling, Lance Corporal '74-'80
Cassandra D. Bieber, Lance Corporal, '98-'02
Karl T. Bischof, Corporal '51-'53
Bruce Bley, Lance Corporal '67-'70
Michael J. Bogle, Lance Corporal '93-'97
C. F. Brockman, Sergeant, '47-'51
Dane Brown, Lance Corporal '64-'69
Wilbert Browning. Jr. Sergeant '76-'82
William Buck, Master Sergeant '56-'80
Gary Budd, Staff Sergeant '66-'72
Don Bumgarner, Lance Corporal '66-'68
Joseph P Carey, Corporal '64-'67
John M. Chaffee, Sergeant '63-'67
Mike Cheramie, Gunnery Sergeant '83-'03
Lloyd H. Cole, Staff Sergeant '72-'86
John J DePrimo, Sergeant '81-'94
Paul A. Dexter, Sergeant '71-'78
Paul W. Doolittle, Sergeant '81-'91
J. Russ Dufresne, Corporal '83-'88
Kevin A. Dunwoody, Staff Sergeant '82-'98
Lynann Eckhoff, Corporal '90-'94
John R. Edwards, Lance Corporal '81-'84
Ken Elliott, Sergeant '63-'67
Don Faria, Staff Sergeant '45-'52
Nick Feder, Sergeant '65-'68, '83-'89
Jack Fitzgerald, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class, USN '66-'69
Andrew Fletcher, Sergeant '81 -'91
Julie G. Foreman, Lance Corporal '90-'93
Roy E. Fulmer, Corporal '73-'77
Ricky Gagnon, Sergeant '77-'81
Ralph J. Gallagher, Lance Corporal '66-'68
Tim J. Gawry, Corporal, '81-'85
Joseph Galvan, Sergeant '94-'04
Sylvia Gonzalez-Miller, Sergeant '91-'04
Robert Grocholski, Sergeant '54-'64
David Halik, Staff Sergeant '72-'78
Dennis L. Healy, Corporal '66-'70
Philip L Hickman, Private First Class, '65-'68
Eric C. Holt, Staff Sergeant, '88-Present
Eric R. Howard, Sergeant, '91-'95
James C. Hues, Sergeant '64-'68
Wayne Humphrey, Staff Sergeant, '60-'70
Gerald A. Humphrey, Corporal '55-'63
Larry D. Imus, Staff Sergeant '65-'73
Mark Jackson, Corporal, '70-'72
Jannina Johnson, Lance Corporal '88-'90
Ray Jones, Staff Sergeant '58-'70
Floyd Kay, Staff Sergeant '48-'52
Glenn K. Kellar, Lance Corporal '73-'75
William Kereluk, Corporal '86-'92
Robert J. Koceja, Sergeant '68-'72
Bart Kohler, Corporal '92-'98
William G. Lang, Lance Corporal '64-'67
Jack Lahrman, Corporal '56-'58
Sean Leach, Sergeant '92-'00
John Lewis, Master Gunnery Sergeant '65-'92
J.J. Lovett, Staff Sergeant '90-Present
Brian W. Lusebrink, Sergeant '68-'72
Kelly T Mallory, Lance Corporal '87-'90
William G. Marciniak, Staff Sergeant '66-'72
Loyde Mcillwain, Sergeant '85-'91
Michael D. McFarland, Lance Corporal, '67-'73
Mark A. Medina, Staff Sergeant, '86-'95
Rondi Miller, Sergeant '86-'92
David M. Nelson, Sergeant '89-'95
Nathan C. Nickerson, III, Sergeant '80-'83
Dick Overton, Staff Sergeant, '69-'71
Jason M. Paul, Corporal '96-Present
Donald R. Parkins, Corporal '63-'69
Gene Pelletier, Sergeant '68-'72
Jon Pelletier, Lance Corporal '03-Present
Maria Pelletier, Lance Corporal '71-'73
Antonio Pineiro, Sergeant '83-'92
Nicholas P. Provenzo, Corporal '88-'93
Frank V. Rago, Corporal '81-'89
George Reilly, Corporal '60-'64
Carlos R. Rickman, Corporal '89-'96
Martin Rochelle, Gunnery Sergeant '84-'04
Donald W. Roland, Private First Class, '49-'52
Andrew M. Rubio, Sr., Corporal '90-'94
Edward D. Schmidt, Private '70-'76
Andrew Schwake, Staff Sergeant '81-'94
Aren W. Self, Corporal '71-'75
Ronald C. Shaw, Gunnery Sergeant '66-'87
J. J. Shaver, Sergeant, '66-'74
Robert J Silva, Sergeant '77-'87
Michael D. Snell, Gunnery Sergeant, '76-'98
Kenneth W. Soto, Sr., Gunnery Sergeant '78-'96
James Stedman, Corporal '60-'64
Chris Stergos, Corporal '00-'05
James C. Swinarton, Sergeant '99-'03
Brent Talbot, Staff Sergeant '81-'90
Charles B. Terven, Jr., Sergeant '63-'68
Robert B. Thompson, Private First Class '47-'51
William Tipton, Private First Class '68-'70
John A. Trusewicz, Lance Corporal, '60-'66
Anthony R. Villa, Master Sergeant, '81-'04
Amy M. Vorndran, Corporal '98-'01
David K. Wardley, Corporal '80-'84
Ronald Wicker, Master Sergeant '57-'78
Keith Windsor, Staff Sergeant '93-Present
Kevin Winters, Gunnery Sergeant '81-'01
David R. Williams, Sergeant '96-'05
David A. Wilson, Sergeant '65-'73
James A. Wilson, Corporal, '78-'82
Cindy Witham, Corporal, '80-'86
Cpl Perry Woolsey, Corporal '70-'79
Robert J. Yanacek, Master Sergeant '78-01
Jason Zug, Lance Corporal '87-'90

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