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May 15, 2013
Just to Save One Guy...
In his fact-based story collection Tales of the South Pacific, James Michener describes the rescue of one pilot downed in Japanese territory. When completed, it is at the cost of another plane and its pilot, a seaplane rescue craft, and to protect him, a PT boat, destroyer, and a hundred plus aircraft. The narrator marvels at so much effort, risk, and loss ". . . just to save one guy". Just to save one guy. The theme recurred in the film Saving Private Ryan. Eight Rangers are dispatched to find and return a single soldier, whose three siblings have died in combat. The final cost "just to save one guy" was six dead Rangers. The fiction of movies, however, is far exceeded by uncounted real acts of heroism when fellow Americans were having the worst days of their life. Cinema that dramatized fact, not fiction, was 1988's Bat 21. USAF Lieutenant Colonel Iceal Hambleton was a 53-year old navigator shot down and parachuted into the midst of tens of thousands of North Vietnamese troops. He...(Read Full Post)