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Duty, Honor, Sacrifice

A Liberal I respect

I spend so much digital ink bemoaning the state of the Democrat party on this site, I want to take a post to honor one of the very few liberals that I have respect for- the Late Senator Paul Douglas, who died in September of 1976. He was a man who lived during a time when the Democrats at least were not complete assholes.

Why does he deserve such respect? In the year 1942, he became the oldest man to ever attend boot camp at Parris Island, at the age of 50. Of course, being a politician, he used his connections to rise from the rank of Private to Staff Sergeant within two months of completing basic training. After only seven months, he was promoted to Captain.

Now it would be at this point that most well connected politicians would have found a way to dodge any real combat. Not Douglas. He volunteered to go overseas, and wound up fighting with the First Marine Division. He earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze star for actions in the battle of Peleliu. During that battle, he killed a Japanese soldier in hand to hand combat, and was wounded while attempting to hand carry ammunition to the front line. I can respect that, unlike today’s officers that get a Bronze star for creating compelling power points.

He volunteered to serve as a rifleman in an infantry platoon and was himself wounded by a machine gun while attempting to carry out wounded Marines. After being hit, he proceeded to use his uninjured hand to take off his major’s oak leaves so that he wouldn’t receive special attention. A fellow Marine, Pfc. Paul E. Ison had this to say: “If I live to be 100 years old I will never forget this scene. There, lying on the ground, bleeding from his wound was a white-haired Marine major. He had been hit by a machine gun bullet. Although he was in pain, he was calm and I have never seen such dignity in a man. He was saying ‘Leave me here. Get the young men out first. I have lived my life. Please let them live theirs.”

We as Americans should be proud to have been served by men of honor such as these. Mr. Douglas, I salute you, sir.

One reply on “A Liberal I respect”

Ison was quite the Marine himself, I have a photo I would be happy to send you if you are interested. Private First Class Paul E. “Pop” Ison (1916-2001) of the 5th Regiment, 1st Marine Division runs across a draw nicknamed “Death Valley.” Ison, a flamethrower and demolitions expert, was sent across 75 yards (68.5 meters) of exposed ground to L Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Expecting to be given explosives for his mission, Captain Robert Smith told him that he was expected to bring it with him. He returned to his unit and obtained the explosives and returned to L Company, his third trip under fire. Marines sustained more than 125 casualties in eight hours crossing this area. The enemy positions to the immediate front of 5th Marines were organized around an area of rough ground known later as Awacha Pocket, northeast of Dakeshi and south of the town of Awacha. Here again the close teamwork of tanks and infantry, supported by heavy weapons, provided the only means of advance. Encircling this pocket required a week and was not finally accomplished until May 11. By that time the Marines had uncovered even more formidable positions to the south at Dakeshi Ridge and Wana. Ison, a father of four, could have deferred the draft but volunteered for the Marines.

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