Skip to comments.The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay
Posted on 12/25/2012 2:03:49 PM PST by virgil283
"...I was surprised to find out that LeMay wasnt at all the man I thought he was
and I didnt think he got a fair shake in history. Here is a man who has been marginalized and even vilified as this mad bomber yearning for a nuclear exchange with the Soviets. Hollywood helped solidify that negative image with Dr. Strangelove ..and he became a favorite target for journalists beginning in the 1960s. In truth, the real LeMay couldnt have been further from the crazy brute that hes been made out to be. He was a sober, strategic realist, who cared deeply for the men who served under him and for the country he defended. LeMay was perhaps the most brilliant military strategist this nation has ever produced not my words but those of the late Robert S. McNamara. And LeMay was brave. He put his own life at risk insisting on flying the lead bomber on every dangerous mission over Europe. He was one of the most influential factors in our victory in the Pacific Theater. And if that werent enough, LeMay had a third act that equaled the first two, helping to win the Cold War by turning the Strategic Air Command into the most efficient and deadliest military force in history that kept the Soviets in check for decades. .... ..On his very first mission, LeMay ordered everyone to fly straight in with no deviation so they could hit the targets. The men were horrified. One pilot stood up at the pre-flight briefing and said theyd all be slaughtered. LeMay looked straight at him and, showing the most brilliant form of leadership, simply said: No, I think we can take it and to prove it, Ill fly the lead plane.
(Excerpt) Read more at frontpagemag.com ...
for a fact...the LeMay and Goldwater stories are 1000 percent true as well
Developer of the Strategic Air Command, Gen. Curtis LeMay, provided many enjoyable (if not apocryphal) quotes, such as at a Senate hearing when asked why, with already enough nuclear bombs to reduce the Soviet Union to cinders, he still wanted more nuclear weapons, LeMay replied, “I want to see the cinders dance.”
I do not wish to have it pointed out to me by some whiz kid at this late stage of the game, that World War II was a colossal mistake , an international misunderstanding for which the United States was proportionately responsible. World War II was nothing of the kind. It was an event wherein the military giants of those several Axis states decided that they could get away with an incredible land grab, a nation grab, a super-Napoleonic defacement of a world-sized map. They did this with the enthusiasm of their nationals behind them. In minor dissension may have sounded the voices of a few ardent patriots and heroic philosophers; but those were not the majority. An horrific chorus shouted, Duce!, or Banzai! or Heil Hitler! Eventually, because of the sacrifices endured by our men and the entire populations of Allied countries, the enemy went down to defeat. Enemy cities were pulverized or fried to a crisp. It was something they asked for and something they got. In reverse fashion, if we keep listening to the gospel of apology and equivocation which all too many politicians and savants are preaching today in the United States, we will be asking for the same thing. And in time, may achieve it. Like witch doctors, defense intellectuals have created jargon which tends to becloud understanding. I submit that military strategy and subsequent national defense policies are understandable if clearly presented. Moreover, the average citizen must be familiar with these subjects, because, through his franchise, he makes the most fundamental and far-reaching defense decisions.
General Curtis LeMay 1965
Lemay understood good and evil, and acted accordingly.
Read his biography. It was great.
all American military personnel were also targets of
the 1960s Marxist-Alinsky campus radical, psycho spoiled brats who were celebrated in the establishment MSM as the most intelligent generation ever!. They are now arguably that very establishment that praised them and they hold themselves and their ideological issue in even higher regard.
As pillars of the Establishment today they can now direct the MSM to attack whomever they please in addition to the American military.. rarely necessary of course because the MSM are also 1960s Marxist-Alinsky campus radical, psycho spoiled brats and ideological issue of same.
Among them was General Curtis LeMay who IIRC smoked cigars and was reported to make sure that he sat next to Taylor in meetings knowing that Taylor hated tobacco smoke.
Save for later
Thank you for the link a very interesting man..Will check out book..
LeMay was a tangible threat to the Soviet Union, which had long been very scared of America’s bomber fleet, because from the end of WWII to about the mid-1960s, nuclear missiles were just not good enough, or common enough, to rely on.
So the Soviets told their American traitors to destroy LeMay with character assassination.
***Developer of the Strategic Air Command,***
I remember living in Roswell NM in 1959 and seeing the B-47s taking off one right after another ever few weeks.
When I later was stationed there at Walker AFB the B-52s did not fly quite as often. The ALERT pads were always ready and every SAC base had two aircraft in the air with h-bombs at all times.
After a collision with a KC-135 Tanker, flying the two bombers with H-bombs was stopped.
A very telling statement by the General. As another poster said, it was the left that painted Lemay and all military personnel as bloodthirsty tyrants or automatons.
This is not quite true. He certainly did lead dangerous missions, including the August, 1943 raid to Regensburg. But, he did not lead all. Group commanders in the 8th Air Force took their turn as Command Pilot leading the group or air division on specific missions. They shared this duty with the other senior officers in the Group. LeMay may have picked the toughest missions for himself, but he did what his fellow group commanders were doing. He led a few missions after being promoted to Brigadier General and becoming CG of the 3d Air Division. But, at some point, he was grounded because of his knowledge of the compromised Enigma codes. This restriction applied to all who had such knowledge as the Allies could not risk their falling into enemy hands.
The restriction continued when LeMay went to the 30th AF, although he made have sneaked on a few missions. LeMay was courageous, no doubt, but so were countless other general officers. When LeMay began his combat duty in 1943, the Navy had lost several admirals in surface actions in the South Pacific. Three Army generals had been wounded in fierce combat at Buna in New Guinea. In World War II, generals who led from the front were commonplace.
Thanks for putting this one up. I never thought much about LeMay. Now I must find a good biography and some more.
While the Libs may vilify him for his war time strategy, and make movies about Jack D Ripper, it was LeMay’s vice President position on George Wallace’s Presidential bid in 1968 that made them really foam at the mouth.
If you want to read about Taylor, Lemay and the Joint Chiefs leading up to our decisions to get more involved in Vietnam, read Dereliction of Duty by H. McMaster. A great book about how that idiot McNamara and Johnson manipulated and divided the JCS to get what it wanted in the runup to Vietnam. BTW, as pointed out in the book, Lemay and the Marine Commandant (Wallace Green) were of the same mind. Bomb North Vietnam back into the stone age or get out of Vietnam all together. No half stepping.
You will also find out in the book that Lemay’s tour as chief of the Air Force was extended a year not because Johnson liked him. But because he was afraid Lemay as a civilian would be criticizing Johnson concerning Vietnam while Johnson was running for the 1964 Presidential election. Lemay as a good military man would never criticize his commander in chief while in uniform.
Thanks. That's where I got the story about LeMay and the cigars he used to irritate Johnson's special adviser Taylor. I read it when it was published and gave it to a retired Navy guy.
It was a great book. That's a fact.
RE: "Lemay as a good military man would never criticize his commander in chief while in uniform."
Nowadays IMO it's the duty of the military to take sides. . . .
LeMay disgraced himself in 1968 by running as the VP candidate of racist George Wallace.
Yes, LeMay was a strong voice for SAC .... but maybe too strong.
In the early 50s, he constantly belittled the idea of using unmanned missiles for long-distance delivery of nuclear weapons, making sure that his SAC got most of the military funding & respect. As a result, US missile development fell well behind the Soviets, who had no problem recognizing the potential of the ICBM. (What’s that quote about old generals always stuck in fighting the last war’s way?)
Von Braun himself admitted that the US could have put a satellite in orbit as early as 1955 - two years ahead of Sputnik - had missile research received the proper funding and recognition. And since those military missiles formed the basis of the space program, the US started from behind and were always playing “catch-up” to the USSR until Apollo - thanks to people like Gen. Curtis LeMay.
If you read the article, then you'd find that he did it to help Nixon defeat the Rats.
You must be relying on public school teaching and MSM news for that. Wallace was a populist and racial moderate of that time. He would have been POTUS if he had not been shot. He served under LeMay during the war. I was born and raised on and around a SAC base. Everyone thought LeMay was top notch.
I read that book last year about him. Very capable and competent.
He also bolstered the self-defense capabilities of our bomber groups and saved many lives by designing the famous Box Formation, which you can see in any documentary film or movie about the Air Corps.
The reason for the incendiary bombing of Tokyo was based on the fact that Tokyo was one huge decentralized cottage defense plant. Every highly flammable shack in town harbored some piece of equipment for making war materiel, from bullets to boots to bandages, infinitely too many to be targeted independently. How many Tokyo inhabitants were true civilians at all is a highly problematic semantic issue which detractors prefer to overlook.
“Lemay understood good and evil, and acted accordingly.”
Probably the most relevant point of the last 40 years. And that distinction seems lost on everyone today, including Republicans.
article about General Lemay
He moderated later, though. His '63-'67 term as governor included the "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!" inauguration speech. This was the term where he stood in the doorway at the University of Alabama to prevent black students from enrolling.
Kennedy then federalized the Alabama National Guard in order to have the necessary force to make him do the right thing, so Wallace's action was another case of misusing conservative principles (state sovereignty) in an execrable cause. As usually happens, this allows liberals to shred these principles so they're not available when we need them.
Segregationists delayed my embrace of conservative truths for more than a decade. So in the late seventies, while Wallace was already taking actions to be proud of due to his change of heart, I was still voting for liberals. So you can see why I would be bitter about this. :-)
It isn’t uncommon for someone with a genius for military matters to be foolish in politics. I started in TAC, not SAC, but LeMay was a great general. Unhappily, he wouldn’t last 30 minutes in today’s politicized military - but God knows we need men like him.
Given the moral course of this country, though, I don’t see any change likely ahead. I spent 20 years cheerfully recommending the military to others. By the end of my 25, I had to stop. Now I recommend against it. And it breaks my heart to say so...
I’m with you, Mr. Rogers. It was like a mantra with me: “Going nowhere? Want to make something of yourself? Join the military.” No more.
LeMay has been one of my heros for years. His ideas would have turned Korea into a victory rather than a constant threat and stale mate. Vietnam would have been a victory rather than a loss. We would have won the cold war many years earlier. Terrorists would have been afraid to attack us.
Plus; he loved good cigars :-)
And that's what they and their "progressive" successors have done and are still doing. Prime example: Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
Thanks for putting this one up. I never thought much about LeMay. Now I must find a good biography and some more.
There was a great bio on LeMay in Cigar Magazine (now defunct) a couple years ago.
“segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”
I believe Wallace was a Dimacrat. In fact it was the Dims that tried to block all civil rights legislation in the 60’s. This includes Algore’s daddy and Bill Clinton’s mentor.
So how exactly did LeMay’s run with Wallace keep you away from Conservatives for a decade? This does not compute....
Bookmarked. Great thread. More winter reading, thanks.
Although the thread is about LeMay, I was responding only to the statement that Wallace was a moderate on race in the ‘60s. I tried to take LeMay out of it by quoting the statement I was responding to, but just so I am absolutely clear, I was only talking about Wallace.
(In fact, one of the pleasant discoveries I made in my journey out of liberalism was your point that segregation was overthrown primarily by Republicans following Declaration principles.)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.