Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Monday, June 19, 2006


This is coolbert:

In the last blog entry I have made reference to Artie Klein and the command presence and courage he showed at Eniwetok.

[see also my blog entry of 4/01/05 regarding same.]

It may also be that Klein did NOT receive a decoration higher than the Bronze Star as there was a certain degree of animosity from the Marines directed at the Army AFTER the landing operation and defeat of the Japanese had been completed.

Marine Commanders seemed to feel the Army was "slow" and attacked in a "desultory" and "half-hearted and lackadaisical" manner that was not in keeping with the aggressive offensive spirit that Marine and Navy commanders desired.

"Oh! Boy! - - it is a grand feeling to see our grand old Marine Corps delivering the goods, . . Eniwetok opened many eyes . . . when two Army battalions were help up [a battalion of Marines] went through these like grass through a goose."

[H.M. Smith, who later called the Army troops on Saipan gutless cowards who froze in their foxholes!!]

It may be the senior commanders awarding medals DID NOT FEEL ANY OF THE ARMY TROOPS DESERVED HIGHER DECORATIONS PERIOD!!

"A relatively minor situation developed after Eniwetok . . . This concerned General Watson's [Marine General, the senior ground force commander on the scene] recommendation that the Navy Cross be awarded to Col. John Walker, commanding the 22nd Marines. Colonel Ayers [Army commander at Eniwetok] was not included in the original list of persons to be awarded a decoration."

"He [Watson] didn't think Colonel Ayers deserved any meritorious award . . . Watson who, although demurring very vociferously, decided to recommend Ayers for some lesser award than the Navy's highest."

The Navy in particular wanted a QUICK victory so that their ships would not remain on station and be obvious targets for Japanese aircraft, submarines, etc.

"As a regimental commander, Colonel Ayers did not impress me [Admiral Hill, commanding the navy force at Eniwetok] me as a fighting leader or an inspiring one."

Eniwetok CANNOT have been an easy battle by any standard. As proof, look at this picture taken of U.S. Marines AFTER the battle. And remember, these are the victors!!!

What is the saying, one picture worth ten thousand words, or something like that??!!

As to the contention of some that:

"There has been speculation for years that Artie Klein was not awarded the Medal of Honor because he was Jewish . . . Ethnic and religious discrimination were both socially acceptable and much more common place during WWII than now, and that is a more likely explanation for the Army's failure to properly recognize this great American."

This also may not be true. Klein was also the victim of just plain inter-service rivalry. The Marines and the Navy APPARENTLY HAD THE FINAL SAY AS TO WHO WAS GOING TO GET DECORATIONS AND WHO WAS NOT!! A perception that the army was "desultory" may be a more likely explanation. Klein in all probability deserved the MOH but was denied for reasons that had nothing to do with his being Jewish!!



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