6035Re: [civilwarwest] Military Politics--LBJ's Silver Star
- Jul 8, 2001In a message dated 7/8/2001 9:25:51 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
<< It seems that there is some question concerning the award of a Silver
Star--mentioned as being the third highest combat honor--to Lyndon
Johnson for being a passenger on a bomber which may, or may not have,
been under attack by Japanese fighters over New Guinea.
The article noted that, even if everything which LBJ's supporters say
was true actually happened, there would be no reason to give him the
star. Very possibly, he didn't even see combat as a passenger.
There was a suggestion that, as a congressman, LBJ was given the
award by Doug MacArthur, in return for LBJ's political support in
Congress and his influence with FDR. >>
This incident was addressed by H. R. McMasters in his book, _Dereliction of
Duty_ concerning how the US got involved in combat in Vietnam.
"After gaining a commission as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, he
secured from President Roosevelt an assignment to the Pacific as part of a
three-man observation team. One of Roosevelt's aides wrote in his diary that
Johnson was anxious to be in a danger zone to enhance his appeal to the
electorate. On June 9, 1942, Johnson got his wish. He rode on a B-26
bombing run from an airfield in New Guinea. While approaching the target
area, Johnson's plane experienced a mechanical malfunction and came under
attack from Japanese fighters. The pilot nursed the aircraft back to base
and landed it smoothly on the runway. The plane to which Johnson had
initially been assigned was not as fortunate and crashed into the ocean,
killing the entire crew and one of his fellow observers, Lt. Col. Francis
Stevens, who had taken Johnson's seat. The next day Johnson headed for home.
During a brief stopover in Australia, Johnson and his surviving fellow
observer met the commander of the Southwest Pacific Theater, Gen. Douglas
MacArthur. MacArthur told Johnson that he was awarding him the Silver Star
Medal for gallantry during his ride on the B-26 bomber. No other crew
member, not even the pilot who landed the crippled plane, received a
decoration. A week after his return to the United States, LBJ was out of
uniform and back in the House of Representatives."
H. R. McMaster, _Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The
Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam,_ Harper Collins,
1997, pages 50-51.
McMasters also details Johnson's subsequent misrepresentations of his war
experience as a "suicide mission" and saying he had come under fire "every
day for a time."
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