View single post by cklarson
 Posted: Sun Oct 7th, 2007 09:05 am
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Joined: Sun Sep 23rd, 2007
Posts: 111

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My neighbor (USMCWR) and I wrote a letter of complaint to PBS, regarding the lack of coverage of military service women -- only a fiew oblique references with no context and 1 interview with an Army nurse. Now some may argue that Burns couldn't cover everything, but he seemed to cover everything except the military women. Also some might think well, they weren't in combat and just were sitting behind typewritters-- how wrong this is. As the author of the only military history of women in WWII, here are a few facts:

-- nurses were in on the first assault landings in N. Africa and at Anzio; hospitals were bombed and strafed consistently; evac planes were attacked; hospital and transport ships were torpedoed--the first WACS arrived in N. Africa after being rescued off a torpedoed ship and after they rescued sailors.

-- women CG Auxiliary crew and Civil Air Patrol pilots conducted anti-U-boat patrols off the E. Coast

-- US women merchant mariners signed on as crew on Norwegian ships in exile in NYC, after being "beached" by FDR and the USMM after 12/7/41

-- US women were resistance workers in France and the Philippines--a couple running lines that aided hundreds of downed fliers; aiding guerrilla groups and POWs. Two in the Philippines were imprisoned and tortured, with one joining the CG after release. About 1/2 doz. were awarded Medals of Freedom and one OSS agt. in France earned the Distringuished Service Cross.

-- Mary Sears, the head of the Navy's oceanographic unit, picked the landing sites for the Philippines and Okinawa.

Otherwise, I loved "The War" even though some friends thought parts tedious. Someday someone will cover the disasters on the homefront during the war: the E. Coast 1944 hurricane, the Mississippi floods, the Cleveland gas co. fire that killed more than 100, the Port Chicago explosions, etc.

And BTW, the facts of the US internment were not totally correct. Following Pearl Harboar, Japanese submarines shelled locations on the W. Coast. Areas were designated military sensitive from which all Germans, Italians, and Japanese families were removed--the first 2 groups just being told to leave, the Japanese being carted away to camps. Due to political pressure after about 6 months the Germans and Italians were allowed to return except that some real suspects were interned in camps in the West. Ironically Exec Order 9066 (?) was issued in response to the Roberts Commission report that alleged that the Japanese fleet was aided by Japanese on Oahu. Ironically the Japanese in HI were not removed. One scholar feels that the reason the W. Coast Japanese were hit hard was because unlike the Germans and Italians they had no ethnic groups in other areas of the country to lobby on their behalf, as the E. Coast groups did for the Germans and the Italians. Of course, the German Bund was well known and active in the N Y  area prior to the war.


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